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Phnom Penh Cambodian and Vietnamese Restaurant: Visited By Celebs

After that simple Mohinga and Curry Noodle Soup lunch in the New Mitzie’s Restaurant, we thought we have some room for some desserts. There was nothing much in terms of desserts in Mitzie’s. We thought of going over to New Town just down the street which we did. Although we ended buying something there, we had it to go for the following day’s breakfast.

The moment I suggested to Suanne, “how about the sticky rice durian in Phnom Penh?”. She immediately said “Yes, let’s go”.

We had been to Phnom Penh before. We blogged about it 2.5 years ago in this post here.

Phnom Penh has to be the one of the most blogged about restaurant in the whole of Vancouver, if not the most. Just check the list of blog posts on Urbanspoon here. Guess how many blog posts were recorded there … 51! And with this post, that makes 52.

The reason is simple. They had won countless awards over the years. Some of their dishes are legendary.

Not only the awards they won. They had visits from some of the top celebrities in the foodie world. Yeah, the celebrities left their mark on their take out menu which they pin up on the notice board by the entrance and waiting area.

Take a real close look at who the best foodie celebrities are. If you can’t read it, click on the picture above and it will show larger in the next page. The top celebrities are ranked in terms of importance from left to right, with the left being the the most famous of all.

Kekeke … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Angkor Restaurant on Victoria and 33rd, Vancouver

Among all the north-south arterial roads in Vancouver, for me, one of the least used ones is Victoria Drive.

I will use Granville, Oak, Cambie, Main, Fraser or Knight but hardly Victoria. I like Fraser the best because it has a lot of restaurants along the way. Yeah, as a habit I do look out for restaurants as I drive. Now I am beginning to realize that Victoria too has a lot of Asian restaurants.

As I was driving along Victoria a few weeks ago, we managed to add 7 different restaurants in our to-try list. It looks like we will be coming here a bit more the next few months.

The one particular restaurant that caught our attention is the Angkor Restaurant. The font and the sign of the restaurant did not stand out. It was the words “Cambodian Noodle House” that made us want to come to this restaurant.

Until now, I thought that there is only one Cambodian restaurant in Vancouver. We have been to the Phnom Penh restaurant and blogged about them before.

Oh, I had also been to Phnom Penh, the city, before. That was eons ago when I was working for the British American Tobacco and had to travel to Asia Pacific countries as the IT Application Manager. That was one of my most memorable trips. You see, back 15 years or so ago, Phnom Penh is very much a cowboy town. It was quite lawless that the company assigned a driver to be with me 24 hours, partly to protect me too.

When the plane landed in the airport, the driver met me the moment I stepped onto the tarmac (their airport has no aerobridges) and escorted me direct to the car, bypassing customs. The customs at that time were rather corrupt and will inconvenience business travellers. I was told that they will even be happy to take notepads and pens from you. So my company has a special arrangement for its employees. Pretty cool.

And when as I was about to get into the car, the driver pointed to me a hole on the driver side door. “Bullet hole”, he smiled. I asked him how he got that bullet hole. He said he got into an argument with a motorcyclist and the motorocyclist pulled out a gun and shot at his door. OK, I got it. I think he was just trying to tell me never to go out on my own without him.

Phnom Penh was an amazingly flat city. From the plane I had never seen a sight like that. I did not get to see the city on my own at all, the driver always took me to somewhere safe for me … to shops and restaurants for tourists. The city folks love flying kites. There were hundreds of kites in the city square. I wanted to get off to spend time there but the driver said it is not a good idea.

The city was also very dirty with rubbish strewn everywhere. Lots of bikes and people were peddling gas from the side streets … they sold petrol in plastic bags cheaply for the motorcycles. At that time, they were in the midst of changing their road system from one side to the other. So some cars are left hand drive and others are right hand drive. The traffic was chaotic and I swear that there were a few occasions that I thought my driver were going to kill a motorocyclist. Amazing.

The people are very friendly and oh yes, the girls were very pretty and have nice facial features. Those were my memories of Phnom Penh in my brief stay of just three days.

After all these years, I am quite sure that Phnom Penh is a much better place today.

The restaurant is clean and bright. Actually it looked cleaner compared to the average Asian restaurant. Which is to say that it is good.

Service was good and bad. Maybe I should not say bad. You see, when we got settled down we were served by a middle aged gentleman. He was very friendly and chatty. I talked to him a lot about the menu and all and he was more than obliging. After that he went to the kitchen and we were attended next by someone who looked like his wife or something.

Now, she was suspicious of us because we took notes and pictures. Well, she noticeably treated her other customers more sweetly than us. Actually I don’t blame her because she did not know our intentions and we found it difficult to get the chance to explain. I think I am good at charming people like her but this time I just couldn’t weave my magic.

He he he … she might think that we are one of those Chinese people who are out to copy her food and open a Cambodian restaurant. Who knows, right?

The menus above are clickable for a larger image. I like their menu. It is well laid out, informative and most of all there are clear pictures of what the dishes looked like. Their menu is in FOUR languages: Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese and English. The prices are in English.

The menu is definitely smaller compared to Phnom Penh’s menu but still it is definitely enough there for the adventurous foodie.

One thing that jumped at us is that it is a lot of pork, pork, pork. I assumed that Cambodian cuisine is closely related to Vietnamese which is beef, beef, beef. Apparently not in terms of the meat.

We told ourselves we are not going to just order a couple of mains but also order an appetizer and a dessert too. We don’t normally order this much but there are so much in the menu we wanted to try.

So we started off with the Papaya Salad which is $7.

A delightfully looking dish … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Phnom Penh in Vancouver Chinatown

Suanne and I met up with Ed and Christina of Doesn’t Tazte Like Chicken for a weekend dinner. This time it was them who chose the location. We enjoy having going out with them because they are as real a foodie as it comes. We learn a lot from them and most of all we enjoyed their stories … like $200 sashimi and having Kobe Beef in Japan.

We went to Phnom Penh located in Chinatown. Although we had heard so much of the place we had never been there before. I was kind of surprised to find that it’s located in such a quiet street. In the evening when we were there, Phnom Penh was about the only shop opened on the whole street.

I was taken aback how popular this restaurant is. It was utterly packed. Ed made reservation prior to coming but it was quite useless because even with reservation, we had to wait quite a bit past the time.

I can imagine how popular this place is judging by the many awards and newspaper clippings they had accumulated throughout the years. I even see that one award was dated back 12 years (1992!) … so they must have been around for ages.

Even Anthony Bourdain ate here before and signed a copy of their takeout menu. Gosh … if I were them I would frame it up instead of leaving it pinned on the board. That signed menu is a huge bragging right if you ask me.

I actually had half a mind of doing one for them too … you know, “Fantastic Meal, Many Thanks … Chowtimes, Ben and Suanne” LOL!

Suanne and I shared a drink called Soda Egg. I am not exactly sure what this is but does remind me of the Egg Cream (which has neither egg nor cream) I had in New York. It was very sweet and we like it. $3.95 was how much it cost.

We left the ordering to the experts since they had been to Phnom Penh many times before. We like the way the bean sprout was served with garlic chilli. I think it is supposed to go with the noodle but since they served it on the same plate, I mixed some of the chilli with the bean sprout, and it was great … the chilli gives that extra kick to the bean sprout and does somewhat goes together well.

The Dry Egg Noodle (six bucks only) was great. The egg noodle was delicious and springy. I could just eat this with the sweet soya sauce alone. I understand that this is one of their more popular dishes. We like pork liver especially and how it was lightly cooked and tender.

The Phnom Penh Curry Chicken Hot Pot was the priciest item we ordered at $13.50. Considering the size of the hot pot, it was more than enough for two persons. We ordered this with two large baguettes. The curry was light and was quite mild. I wished it was a bit more spicier.

This one goes equally well with either rice or bread. It would be better if we had BOTH rice and bread … bread to dunk into the curry and rice to eat it with the chicken and other stuff on the hot pot.

The baguette was crispy and very light and so it was perfect for dunking into the curry.

I think their numero uno dish is the Deep Fried Chicken Wings. 99.99% of the tables ordered this and I can see why. The looks itself made me drool. It was lightly battered and came with some vinegary-peppery dipping sauce. Awesome! This costs $12.50. If we come back again to Phnom Penh, it will be because of the wings. One more time … Awesome!

For desserts we ordered the Durian Sticky Rice. It was creamy and rich but they only have a very thin layer of durian on it. Have you guy ever tried durians before? it is often called the King of Fruits.

The meal costs $66 with tips included. I must say that this is a place you cannot hang around and chat. They were trying to shoo us away because there was quite a lot of people waiting for a table.

Their menu was really extensive. Suanne counted about 130 items in all — not bad. Phnom Penh is named after the Cambodian capital but I really doubt they are authentic Cambodian. This is because the workers here speaks Cantonese. Despite all that the food was really good.

Ed and Christina blogged about this meal more than a month ago h-e-r-e.

Phnom Penh on UrbanspoonBUSINESS HOUR

7 days a week

Monday to Thursday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Friday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

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