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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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…)

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