Monthly Archives: November 2011

Khmer Food Village

Someone likes horse hair

Someone likes horse hair

Located just across the street from Nagaworld, the Khmer Food Village is an interesting restaurant which tries to push the boundaries in Phnom Penh but sadly falls short.

It’s obvious that whoever designed the front entrance loves horses. Flanking the cart adorned with horse hair are two very well endowed horse statues.

No compensating here

No compensating here

Upon entering, you will be directed to the right of two counters where you buy the card that you will need to purchase any food or drink. You can’t run the card down to the last riel as they place a 5,000 riel deposit on it in case you lose it or want to take it home for sentimental value.

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Once you get the card, it’s now time to order from one of the many different food stations which are located in a building in the center of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the food that they display looked pretty horrible as it looked like it was cooked a long time ago. The menu is strictly Khmer and is probably the most extensive I have seen in a restaurant in Cambodia. We were a group of about 10 and ordered a variety of dishes, most of which were priced around 10,000 Riel (no Dollar signs here!).

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with kreung spices

Fried pork with kreung spices

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

The meals all come with as much rice as you can eat.  I would not call the dishes spectacular with the exception of the fried pork and garlic along with the pork with kreung spices but I wouldn’t call them horrible. Just in the middle, I guess. The one thing I did enjoy was the sheer variety of dishes offered. Nowhere in Phnom Penh can offer this and because of that, it is definitely worth a visit.

Vinh

I have also included commentary from another person in the group that is bit less effusive than my comments.

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Khmer Food Village cleverly set expectations low from the beginning by (1) Having an impossibly confusing system of ordering food via top-up cards, supplemented by approximately 50 staff members per diner, all hovering around trying to “help,” and (2) Displaying what looked like days-old finished dishes in glass cases surrounding the dining area.

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

The meats and vegetables all looked so tired and wilty that by the time we got our food, I was just happy to have something mildly edible set before me. The quality of the dishes we tried ranged from dubious to excellent, with my favorite being the Khmer dessert akao: essentially a steamed cake with coconut cream. In an actual Khmer village it would have come wrapped in a palm leaf, but here it was referred to as a “Cambodian cupcake” and just came on a plate. Either way, it was so good we got extras.

Steamed coconut cakes

Steamed coconut cakes

Also delicious, though fatty, were the pork ribs with little bits of toasted garlic and the beef satay, which was what I got when I ordered beef “roulade.”

Roulade skewers

Roulade skewers

Samlor ktis, or sour soup with coconut milk, was just average. Fried rice was serviceable, although it looked like it had been mixed with ketchup, which always completely freaks me out for some deep-seated psychological reason.

Fried rice with beef

Fried rice with beef

And one fish dish got such bad reviews from the other members of our party that I didn’t even want to try it. I’ll probably stick to more traditional Khmer restaurants and beer gardens in the future, but this might be a good choice if you’re looking for an accessible introduction to Khmer food. ALSO I would not be doing my job if I did not mention to potential diners that there are some truly striking statues of horses flanking the entrance of the restaurant. Hopefully Vinh has a photo because words will not suffice here.

Here are some more photos from the visit:

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Raw beef salad

Raw beef salad

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Remnants of the meal

Remnants of the meal

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Feature in Lifestyle & Travel Magazine

We’ve been featured in the November/December issue of Lifestyle & Travel Magazine.

Check out the article below:

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 1

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 1

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 2

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 2

 

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 3

The Buzz - Blog Appetit page 3

If you are interested to see the article in the flesh, just head to a newsstand in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indochina, Hong Kong or Bali and pick one up.

Actually, can you pick one up for me too?

Vinh

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Hot Pot

A friend recently recommended a Szechuan hot pot place here in Phnom Penh, De Yue Lou, which is one of the big neon sign Chinese restaurants on Monivong close to Mao Tse Toung. So we got a big group together and checked it out last night.

half innocent soup, half evil lava

I’m a big fan of spicy food but Szechuan hot pot is insanely spicy. The pot is divided down the middle, half with a neutral broth and half filled with chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns. The waitress warned us not to eat the peppercorns which were a bit sour but the  combination of the peppercorn and chili’s has a great flavor.

The De Yue Lou menu is in Chinese and Khmer only and no one working there spoke English, at least when we were there. So our ordering consisted of broken Khmer and pointing at food on other tables which worked out great. The waitress was also really nice and happy to try and help with our weird requests. At one point, my friend Bryan asked how much the shrimp costs and she left and returned with a live shrimp wiggling in her hand to show us. Not exactly what we were asking but it was an impressive shrimp.

The soup comes with just the broth and they you order the ingredients. We didn’t really know what to order but eventually a bunch of food came out including shrimp, mushrooms, lettuce, bok choy, dried tofu, beef, meat and fish balls and congealed blood (which we didn’t add).

We threw everything in, let is simmer for a while then dove in. Those of us that liked the spicy side struggled through coughs and tears to eat but it was really tasty. One friend commented that the szechuan spice hits you differently than what he was used to after living in Bangkok. Even the shrimp quickly boiled in the spicy broth came out really spicy. In the end we just mixing the two together to cut the spice a bit which worked well. I’ll definitely be back after I recover.

De Yue Lou – On Monivong just North of Mao Tse Toung next to ABC Bakery

The photos for this post were taken by Dylan Maddux.

 

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Ku Kai

Getting ready for the best meal in town

Getting ready for the best meal in town

“If I had one night in Sihanoukville, I would go here. If I had two, I’d go twice”

One of my dinner mates uttered this comment after finishing a meal in Ku Kai. Considered by many Sihanoukville locals as the best Japanese restaurant in town, it is definitely a place to check out when you are done sunning yourself silly on the beach.

BTW, sorry about the poor quality images. I took these on my iphone as I didn’t bring a camera to the beach.

Queenfish and kingfish sashimi

Queenfish and kingfish sashimi - $2.75 per order

Run by a husband and wife team (he cooks, she takes care of the front of the house), the restaurant exudes a warm, inviting vibe and has some of the friendliest staff I have experienced in Cambodia. Ku Kai offers 2 types of fresh sashimi every night (except for Monday when they are closed) and it is best to call ahead to place an order as it tends to run out very fast. The restaurant also offers set meals (which come with rice, salad and miso soup), rice bowls (comes with miso soup) and various a la carte items.

Sliced rare roast beef

Sliced rare roast beef - $2.50

The prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the dishes and the size of the portions but it is a tough place to find a table after 7:00 so it is definitely recommended to book a table.

Prawn and Vegetable Tempura - $4.75

Prawn and Vegetable Tempura - $4.75

Ku Kai
144 7 Makara St
Head down Ekareach from Serendipity Beach towards Victory Beach. When you see the 333 KTV building on the right, turn left. It is about 200 meters down the road on the righthand side.
Tel: 012 593 339

The red X marks the spot

The red X marks the spot

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Pizza Pizza

The great thing about Phnom Penh is that it has a plethora of restaurants that will deliver food to your residence in no time. One item that is ubiquitous to delivery is pizza. So we though it would be great to see what delivery options Phnom Penh’ers have for pizza. The Pocket Guide Cambodia has a great guide called Door 2 Door that has over 50 restaurants to choose from and we decided to use it as our resource for our Pizza delivery review.

We invited a dozen people over to a centrally located flat, ordered a bunch of pizzas and rated them to see how each pizza stacked up for delivery.

We tried to keep it as consistent as possible. The pizzas that we ordered were half Margarita and half Pepperoni (or it’s equivalent). We ordered a pizza at 7 different places in the city that were in a mile of the flat with an exception of one place and logged when we ordered the pizzas, how long the call took and when they arrived. Price, size and extras were also noted.

All the ratings were done in nyamies with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst (with the notable exception of one person that rated the pizzas from best to last- yeah you know who you are). Everyone involved had a great time and were very serious with their ratings and gave great comments which are interspersed in the ratings. The pizzas are going to be in order of time called.

Okay, I think that’s it….

And here we go!

PIZZA COMPANY – 023 880 880

Pizza from the Pizza Company

Pizza from the Pizza Company

Called – 7:24
Finished – 7:31
Delivered – 8:00
Size – 12″
Price – $11.20

Packets of condiments from Pizza Company

Packets of condiments from Pizza Company

One notable tidbit of the Pizza Company was the packets of ketchup, chili flakes and oregano that were given with the order. No other delivery place managed anything more than a packet of chili oil.

” Wow. Nice presentation. With little plastic table. Dough is yucky but sauce is kind of tasty. And the cheese is mix is good.”

Pizza from the Pizza Company

Pizza from the Pizza Company

DELI
023 222 234

Pizza from the Deli

Pizza from the Deli

Called – 7:28
Finished – 7:30
Delivered – 8:00
Size – 12″
Price – $7.50

“Fresh basil, yum! but the thin crust made it a bit soggy in the middle”

Pizza from the Deli

Pizza from the Deli

COMME ALA MAISON
012 951 869

Pizza from Comme a la Maison

Pizza from Comme a la Maison

Called – 7:30
Finished – 7:33
Delivered – 7:57
Size – 10″
Price – $7.75

“Not Italian but tasty. Nice cheese mixture.”

Pizza from Comme a la Maison

Pizza from Comme a la Maison

ARIA D’ITALIA
011/012 840 705

Pizza from Aria D'Italia

Pizza from Aria D

Called – 7:33
Finished – 7:35
Delivered – 7:55
Size – 11″
Price – $10.00

“Good flavored crust but a bit dry. It could have used more sauce.”

Pizza from Aria D'Italia

Pizza from Aria D

NIKE’S PIZZA HOUSE
012 250 295

Pizza from Nikes Pizza

Pizza from Nikes Pizza

Called – 7:35
Finished – 7:36
Delivered – 7:55
Size – 10.5″
Price – $7.00

“Parmesan on top. Spicy pepperoni was the best so far.”

“Meh. Can taste oregano but sauce and cheese mix ok.

Pizza from Nikes Pizza

Pizza from Nikes Pizza

CHEZ DIM
012 700 468

(Please note that the pizza had been sliced to smaller pieces before I could take a photo of it and does not represent how it looked when it arrived)

Pizza from Chez Dim

Pizza from Chez Dim

Called – 7:39
Finished – 7:40
Delivered – 8:00
Size – 11″
Price – $7.00

“Not much special. Kinda in the middle”

Pizza from Chez Dim

Pizza from Chez Dim

LUNA D’AUTUMNO
092 798 781

Pizza from Luna D'Autumno

Pizza from Luna D

Called – 8:27
Finished – 8:30
Delivered – 8:50
Size – 12″
Price – $8.00

“Pizza was nice. The sauce was OK but not perfect. Rather tasty!”

Pizza from Luna D'Autumno

Pizza from Luna D

And the winner is……

Luna D’Autumno with 41 nyamies out of 50!!!!!

Here’s how the rest of the pizzas fared:

Nike’s Pizza House – 38 nyamies
Comme ala Maison – 37 nyamies
Chez Dim – 34.5 nyamies
The Deli – 31.5 nyamies
Aria D’Italia – 29 nyamies
Pizza Company – 21.5 nyamies

I have placed a map of the area where each restaurant is in terms of where the pizzas were delivered which is in the area of the blue circle.

Map of pizza delivery restaurants

Map of pizza delivery restaurants

Many thanks for the reviewers that took the time out of their busy Friday night to participate in this review.

Just curious, what is your favorite delivery food in Phnom Penh??

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