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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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  1. I LOVE Phnom Penh and always make a point to eat there everytime I’m back in Vancouver. Yes, the beansprouts are for the noodles, just like you get with pho. We also always get the chicken wings! The butter beef is quite good too, as are the spring rolls and shrimp paste with sugarcane. I’ve never had the chicken curry – and I want to try it next!

  2. Hi ben! I came across your blog by random, and I must say, I’ve fallen in love! I love the reviews and the restaurants and pictures just make me drool.

    Please share more! And I hope to get to know you through blogging :).

    Pearl

  3. The owners are from Cambodia although they are chinese decendents.

  4. oh, I heard so much good things about this place. Thank you for blogging about it. I heard the wings are sinfully good. Even better than the chicken wing place at Aberdeen food court, which I find hard to believe. Thanks to your view, I will be definitely checking it out this weekend.

    Btw, if you haven’t, you must try the chicken wing place beside the Hainan chicken place at Aberdeen food court.

  5. *drool* …I also make it a point to order the chicken wings every time I’m in town!

    The dry egg noodle and chicken curry both look great. I agree that both bread and rice should go with the curry!

    Too bad about the location. I know people who won’t go to Phnom Penh after dark just because of the area.

  6. Thank you Ben and Suanne!!! I heard so much about this place and wanted to see if anyone had blogged about it. I think a couple of their dishes are listed in Vancouver Mag, “101 Things To Taste Before you Die”

    http://www.vanmag.com/Restaurants/101_Things_to_Taste_Before_You_Die

    Just as Wife mentioned, there are a lot of Cambodians that are Chinese decent, especially the ones from Guangdong- so a lot of Chaozhou, Hakka, Taoshan etc… and the food is quite good, I am impressed that you tried the Durian Sticky Rice, not a lot of people can take it. BUT a trick for all those who can’t take the smell of Durian but want to try it… stick it in the freezer!!! It won’t smell if you stick it in the freezer and then eat it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love the food here. The spring rolls are a must! And the butter beef I like to get occasionally.

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