Phnom Penh has been written up and down by most bloggers by now. Its immense popularity stems from an extensive menu that caters to any tastebud, consistent quality to their dishes and big portions at a decent price. Plus, it does help that Anthony Bourdain made a quick visit to dine at this Chinatown gem. Phnom Penh is a Vietnamese – slash – Cambodian restaurant which means many cooked dishes with rice, noodles and noodle soups, and curries. Most dishes are fragrant, savoury, and spicy but not as spicy as Thai cuisine, and with lots of use of garlic, fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime, garlic, cardamon, tumeric, and cilantro. I’ve been going to Phnom Penh for a number of years and I can say that their bullet proof menu hasn’t changed much over time.
If you arrive later than 6pm, expect at least a 20 minute wait..which we did and everyone else around us who was standing near the door. When it was our turn, we were quickly ushered to our table which was unfortunately near the entrance.
The dish that literally every table orders is their very famous fried chicken wings.
They have other deep fried goodness that’s worth getting deep fried frog legs, squid and prawns. But the chicken wings are a good start if you’re new to the restaurant. The pieces are lightly battered so when you bite into it, it’s still meaty and juicy while crispy. They’re is a strong hint of salty peppery with minced garlic and green onions all over it. The wings are served with their signature salt, lime and lemon juice (I think), and white pepper dip. The only rival, and Church’s Chicken and KFC doesn’t even compare, wold be the ones from Wo Fung Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.
Next we shared the Phnom Penh Dry Egg Noodle
What makes this a ‘dry’ noodle is because soup is not added to it and in this case the soup broth is an accompaniment. It’s a mixture of bouncy egg noodles, shrimp, ground pork, sliced pork, liver and a sweet soy sauce base. I usually just mix it all up before eating.
To add some vegetables to our dinner was a simple stir friend ong choy
It’s more of a Chinese vegetable but I don’t fault them for using it as they are right in the middle of Chinatown with an abundance of fresh produce around them. It was simple stir fried with chilli pepper and garlic.
And lastly my favourite dish the steamed rice rolls
It’s steam rice roll with a minced Asian funghi and pork filling, topped with Vietnamese ham and fried onions with a side of bean sprouts and shredded cabbage. I love the fresh simplicity of it without any sauces to cover the tastes. It’s my healthier alternative to a spring roll.
It was another good dinner with a variety of dishes to share and the undeniably good deep fried chicken. Like the many patrons, one trip is not enough and make sure you bring more than one friend so you can have an epic dinner.