Tag Archives: breakfast

Rice & Pork Breakfast

Pork & Rice Shop

Rice & Pork Shop

On the corner of streets 136 and 13 there is a typical Cambodian grilled pork and rice breakfast restaurant. The reason we decided to check out this restaurant, which is apparently called “126”, is because there were reports that they had the best rice and pork in Phnom Penh. For a bit of background on breakfast rice and pork, or bai sach chrouk, check out this Phnomenon post from a few years back.

pork and rice

pork and rice

First of all, Cambodian pork and rice isn’t my favorite breakfast. It’s not bad but definitely not exciting. It’s a relatively safe order when out in the field but I’ve never had a craving. But after hearing that this was the best in town, I was excited. Vinh and I had checked out the well known Sovana BBQ restaurant for breakfast a couple of years ago and their pork was solid but it has been a while since I had really good pork and rice.

Unfortunately, with the build up, it was a let down. Decent rice and pork but nothing that made it stand out from any other restaurant in Phnom Penh or out in the Provinces. It’s really just rice and grilled pork. Not particularly amazing pork, no special sauce, Cambodian white rice; that’s it.

coffee

coffee

The coffee wasn’t bad, strong and sweetened with condensed milk, and the place was packed so there was high turnover on the grill which is good. However, the soup was basically just liquefied msg and had a weird fishy flavor. Overall, it’s not a bad place to bring an out of town guest for an experience but I’m in no rush to go back.

2 out of 5 nyamies

– Bryse

the grill

the grill

I am not a morning person, but if there is one thing that consistently causes me to peel my eyes open and get out of bed before 8AM on weekdays, it is food. Cambodia is well-suited for those with raging early-morning hunger pangs, as it offers a particularly hearty breakfast dish – bai sach chrouk (rice and grilled pork). Despite two years in Phnom Penh, I had yet to try the dish. Having heard a strong recommendation, claiming ‘Restaurant 126’ to serve some of the best in town, we decided to see if it was worth the 7AM wake up call.

up close

up close

While my taste buds may have been over stimulated by the adrenaline of trying a new dish and disoriented by the early hour, I thought the pork and rice was pretty tasty. The pork was sweet, flavorful and grilled to perfection; reminded me of eating a thick slab of bacon with maple syrup…Hard to go wrong there. The counterpart to this dish was basic, pretty mediocre, white rice, but it served its purpose as a blank canvas for the pork.

sides

sides

Along with the pork and rice, diners receive a small bowl of broth and a dish of pickled vegetables. The broth was also nothing to write home about, salty and hot, but a nice contrast to the sweet pork, as well as adding another flavor option for the rice. The pickled vegetables were a showstopper though; carrots, cucumbers, and jicama all mildly pickled with a sweet tang and light crunch. I could have eaten everyone’s serving. We all accompanied our breakfasts with hot coffee. Though tiny in size, it packed a strong, intensely sweet punch, thanks to a generous dose of condensed milk and that characteristic chocolate-y flavor of Cambodian coffee.

While I don’t think I’ll make ‘Restaurant 126’ a regular morning routine, it was fun to wake up early and share my first meal of the day with a crowd. And I wasn’t hungry again until mid-afternoon.

3 out of 5 nyamies

– Alissa

126 Restaurant
Corner of Streets 136 and 13
Close to river side

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by | September 2, 2013 · 6:57 am

Ca Vang

I happened upon Ca Vang on the way to the airport.  I have driven by it countless of times and have never seen the whole reason for stopping by. Luckily, I was sitting backwards in the tuk tuk and spied the three words on a streetside menu that made me stand up, hit my head on the top of the tuk tuk and yell “Holy crap!”. I  told the driver to stop, pointed at a very confused Ca Vang employee and yelled “Bun Cha Hanoi??”  Fortunately, he said yes but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sample the dish and had to wait a few days to get my fix.

Bun Cha Hanoi

Bun cha hanoi was the favorite of all the great dishes my grandmother used to make for me during my childhood.  There is something so simple yet so nuanced about the grilled to the point of charring pork slices and patties combined with the vinegary, garlicky broth. It is also quintessentially Vietnamese by the DIY nature of the dish. Along with the pork in the broth, you get a garnish of rice vermicelli noodles, green lettuce, assorted herbs, garlic and chilis. There is no real “proper” way to eat it. When I feel like getting messy, I make a mini burrito out of all the ingredients and dunk it all in the broth. Other days, I put everything in the broth and eat it with some chopsticks.  It’s also non-existent in Phnom Penh which is the reason for my freaking out in the tuk tuk.

The menu at Ca Vang restaurant

So back to the restaurant. Ca Vang is a no frills street side restaurant located on a very busy street. Their menu only has 4 items with several variations. I didn’t bother with the rest of the menu (though the Com Thit Heo Nuong or Rice with Grilled Pork might be worth another visit) and ordered the bun cha. Surprisingly, Ca Vang keeps with Hanoi tradition and also offers Nem (eggrolls) on the menu!
After sucking down a fantastically syrupy iced coffee, the bun cha and nem arrived. The nem had a crunchy blistery skin that contained a well seasoned filling of clear glass noodles, pork and wood ear mushrooms. The bun cha didn’t have the pork patties usually associated with the dish but the sliced pork easily made up for it by the tell tale charred bits floating in the broth. I opted to go for the less messy approach and put some noodles, herbs to my plate.  I didn’t miss the patties as the sliced pork had that great charred taste only barbecued meat can give. The broth was spot on and the veggies fresh and bright.  The only thing I would complain was the amount that I got with the order. That isn’t really a complaint as there was plenty, just not the usual gargantuan size you normally get in Hanoi. — Vinh

Bun Cha Hanoi

Bun chaaaaaaaa! Basically the most delicious dish/concept/meal on the planet–grilled pork and pork sausage patties afloat in a tangy, sweet-sour, nuoc-mammy broth accompanied by vermicelli and herbs–and one that’s bizarrely difficult to find in Phnom Penh, despite legions of Vietnamese places with scruffy awnings dishing up pho. This version was adequate but didn’t quite hit the sweet spot. First, there was an off-puttingly astringent note to the pork and pork broth mixture (maybe stemming from the high degree of char on the meat)…and even more dubiously, there were no freaking pork sausage patties. Bun cha without the patties edges perilously close to pointlessness. Still, whatever, pork is generally fucking delicious unless you really fuck it up. And there were plenty of toothsome carrot and daikon pickles in the broth, and huge heaps of fresh herbs and vermicelli to pile the meat onto. The iced coffee was far too sweet for my taste, but it had a nice peanutty afterkick. I think we all felt pangs of desire at the meaty slab of com suon whisked over our heads to another customer’s table right as we were leaving. I regret my self-control at not having ordered one immediately.  — Julia

Bun Nem Hanoi

major p.s., I forgot to mention how incredibly respectable the bun nem were!

Bun Cha Hanoi

This was my first bun cha hanoi adventure having completely missed it the one time I was in Hanoi.  But I really enjoyed everything.  The bun nem spring rolls showed up first and they were amazingly crispy and really tasty.  The bun cha was a bit daunting for me not knowing how to attack it.  Plates like this confuse me, if you are supposed to put the noodles in the bowl, why don’t they just do that for me?  But that’s probably just my unsophistication taste showing.  The broth was pretty greasy but really nice and the bbq pork was clearly straight off the grill and into the bowl; lots of bbq flavor.  The coffee had an unique flavor but was too sweet even after Julia had asked for them to go light on the condensed milk.  But the prices are cheap, it was relatively clean for the type of spot and next to the only fishing store I’ve ever seen in Phnom Penh.  I would definitely go back and try out a few more things on the menu.  — Bryse

Bryse – 4.5 out of 5 nyomies for the food, 2.5 on the iced coffee

Vinh – 4 out of 5 nyomies

Julia – 3 out of 5 nyomies

Ca Vang
On the North side of Sihanouk just East of the Olympic Stadium next to the Mai Linh Bus office
#371 Street 274 (Sihanouk)

 

 

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Cadillac

Cadillac is one of those restaurants that I stumble to when I need some comfort after a long night on the town.  Walking into the airconditioned dining area, you are greeted with a bar that strangely looks familiar to several in Phnom Penh. Looking at the menu, you will notice a good ol’ Americana feel to it. Such items as chicken fried steaks, po boys and pecan pie are sure to make an American feel right at home.
For the review, I had the chicken fried steak. For those who aren’t familiar with the dish, it is a great example of Americana. First you take an inexpensive cut of meat, pound the crap out of it until tender, dredge it in some flour then pan fry it. To make sure nothing goes to waste, flour, milk, salt and pepper are added to the drippings to make an artery clogging gravy to be topped on the steak.
I first had the chicken fried steak at Cadillac over a year ago. I wasn’t impressed then as it wasn’t as tender as I would have liked but I am definitely impressed now.
The steak was pounded to perfection, tender enough for easy mastication but firm enough to retain its shape. The gravy was rich and there was plenty of it. The steak comes with two side dishes. I had it for breakfast so I added a fried egg and some chips. I didn’t bother touching the egg and only ate a quarter of the chips because of the huge portion of the steak. After a couple of french press coffees and the chicken fried steak breakfast, the headache wasn’t so bad and life was almost normal again.
Healthy? Hells no. Comforting? Hells yeah.  Just what I needed after a long night of drinking.
— Vinh
The breakfast menu had a few sets which were numbered like value meals so I went for the McMuffin equivalent.  The breakfast sandwich was fine, the fries forgettable and the coffee was french press which is not my favorite.  None of it bad but for the price, I think there are better breakfast sandwiches in PP.  Also, they were blaring the Beatles which was killing me for how early it was. I did, however, have a bit of Vinh’s steak and it was really tasty and would probably go for that next time I’m looking for a piece of meat that’s bigger than my head.  — Bryse
Hung over Vinh: 5 out of 5
Feeling not too bad Vinh: 4 out of 5
Tired and unable to take loud music Bryse: 2.5 out of 5
Cadillac Bar/Restaurant
Nº. 219E, Sisowath Quay
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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