Tag Archives: chicken

Nyam At Home: CP Fried Chicken

During our research for the Fast Food Burger extravaganza, Bryse and I searched high and low for fast hamburger places to try in Phnom Penh. In our research for a burger cart for the review (which failed miserably I must add) , I found out a take-away chicken stall that has been a great go to for cheap and delicious eats.

The CP cart of fried goodness

The CP cart of fried goodness

Enter the CP Fried Chicken cart. Contract farmed in Kompong Speu for the CP Company, the chicken is brought to Phnom Penh and made into deep fried goodness. I have never seen breasts there but since I am a huge fan of the wings and thighs, it hasn’t bothered me too much. And I have to admit, I am a bit addicted.

Only 2,500 Riel a piece, the chicken is very tasty but definitely geared towards the khmer palate as the breading is a bit sweet but if you can compensate for that, it makes for a fantastic meal.

Just out of the fryer

Just out of the fryer

Which brings me to the At Home part of this posting. When you get the chicken, it comes with some napkins and the typically sweet chili sauce that is ubiquitous to the region. The sauce ups the sweetness factor to 11 so I tend to throw it away the packet.

Upon getting home with my chicken, I usually open up my fridge and check it out to see if I can scrounge up any proper condiments with the chicken. This time, I went to my trusty Sriracha sauce and decided to whip up a variation of a  great glaze I found online.

5.000 riel of fried chicken ready to be sauced

5.000 riel of fried chicken ready to be sauced

The ingredients of the Sriracha lime/cilantro glaze are:

1/4 cup Sriracha
1 tbsp Palm Vinegar
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
I purposely left out the honey in the recipe due to the already sweet breading and added half a diced onion for a bit of texture.

Prepping for the lime/sriracha glaze

Prepping for the lime/sriracha glaze

After pre-heating the oven to 250 C, I combined all the glaze ingredients and tossed the chicken in them.

Glazed and ready for the oven

Glazed and ready for the oven

20 minutes in the oven allowed the breading to crisp back up  and what came out was crispy chicken that was spicy, tangy and easy on the wallet!

Fried Chicken from the CP cart with a Sriracha lime/cilantro glaze

Fried Chicken from the CP cart with a Sriracha lime/cilantro glaze

You can find the CP carts around town but my main haunts are the ones on Sothearos. The first is in front of the VIP Mart around the corner from the White Building and the other is just south of the old National Assembly.

Vinh

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Spring Vale

Spring Vale

Spring Vale

Tucked around the corner from Russian Market, I had heard of Spring Vale from a couple of friends that live around the corner. After reading Lina’s review of the place, we knew that this had to be the next place to try out.

We were greeted by one of the owners upon walking in and were offered a table outside. Not one to turn down al fresco dining in December, we grabbed the nearest table and were given menus. It’s one of those laminated jobs which doesn’t mess around. All the dishes range from $3 – $6 which is very reasonable for it’s proximity to Russian Market.

Okonomiyaki at Spring Vale

Okonomiyaki at Spring Vale

The Okonimyaki was very tasty and didn’t have an excessive amount of the okonomiyaki sauce which can sometimes overpower the rest of the ingredients.

The gyoza were quite ordinary but what I really loved (and was probably the least appealing looking) was the chicken and egg on steamed rice, otherwise known as oyakodon (thanks Nathan!). I could imagine this meal being something your mother served to you after you scraped your leg while playing in the street. The egg was runny enough to imbue it’s taste onto the rice and was seasoned perfectly.

Fried Tofu

Fried Tofu

The fried tofu was a also a hit for me. The tofu had a nice crisp crust to it and had a great melt in your mouth texture once you bit into it.

The fried pork came with rice and a pretty good side of coleslaw. I thought the pork was a bit overfried and needed the sauce to keep the dish from being too dry. I am generally a fan of anything fried and pork but this one kinda fell flat for me. Maybe I dug the chicken a bit too much.

As Lina put in her blog post and I mentioned before, Spring Vale isn’t a fancy shmancy restaurant serving avante-garde fare. It serves items you would probably find in a home or casual eatery. And sometimes that’s all you need.

3 out of 5 nyamies.

Vinh

Gyoza

Gyoza

Whenever dumplings are on the menu at a restaurant we order some and use them as a yard stick for the food. Unfortunately, the gyoza at Spring Vale was disappointing. Not that they were bad, we have definitely had way worse chinese style dumplings close to Central Market, but gyoza is usually really great so it was surprising when these were a miss.

Chicken and eggs on steamed rice

Chicken and eggs on steamed rice

Most of the other items were pretty nice. I could see having the chicken and eggs on steamed rice for breakfast. Nothing special, just a solid bowl of good food.

The okonimyaki was also really tasty. It is served fully cooked and it’s always more fun to see it fried on a table in front of you (while the cook is flipping pieces of food into your mouth Benihana style).

Pork cutlets

Tonkatsu - Pork cutlets

A friend had just been talking about homemade tonkatsu so I was really excited to order some when I saw it on the menu. The breading and sauce was pretty fine but the breading to pork ratio was too far in the breads favor. Not much meat in those things.

The folks serving the food were very nice and none of the plates we tried were bad. If I lived close or am in the neighborhood, I would probably check out Spring Vale again but I’m not going to drive down just for this place.

2.5 out of 5 nyamies.

Bryse

Spring Vale
House 27, Street 450,
Toul Tom Pong I, 27 450,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

089343597

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Central Market makeover

Central Market or Psar Thmei

Central Market or Psar Thmei

Constructed in 1937, Central Market or known as Psar Thmei is one of the must-see attractions of Phnom Penh with it’s iconic art-deco dome. Originally the market consisted of the dome and 4 wings that jutted out from it, over the years the space in between the wings were filled with vendors plying their wares.

Three Central Market images

Before, during and after renovation

In 2009, the French Development Agency gave it a badly needed 4 million dollar facelift where the tin roof stalls in between the wings were torn out and replaced with more permanent structures. One huge improvement to the market was the new food stalls located on the west side of the market. I generally don’t like eating in markets in Phnom Penh as they tend to be a bit dark and dingy for my sensibilities but after experiencing the stalls at Central Market, I think I could make one exception. Considering how busy the market was, I think the renovations were a complete success.

The food stalls inside Central Market

Not a tissue in sight on the floor

The variety of food at the market is staggering, catering to both locals and tourists. Bryse and I first started our journey at a snack stall where we ordered some great fried spring rolls stuffed with tarot (1,000 Riel each) and deep fried vegetables covered with fish paste (4,000 Riel for a set).

Vegetables battered in fish paste

Vegetables battered in fish paste

By that time, we had some company in the form of Bryse’s family that came on over to visit. Bryse’s brothers are foodies, so they were definitely into checking out the local fare. The problem was finding a table large enough to sit the 6 of us!

Luckily, we found one and all it cost was ordering a couple of dishes from the stall that the table belonged to. One of the best things about eating at the markets in Cambodia is that you can pretty much order from any stall in the area and it will be delivered to where you are sitting. Just make sure to order something from the stall that you are sitting in.

Cafeteria style eats at Central Market

Cafeteria style eats at Central Market

We sat at a cafeteria style food stall and ordered fried tofu stuffed with minced pork in a tomato sauce (5,000 Riel) and braised pork belly and bamboo shoot in a coconut caramel sauce (5,000 Riel). This is fare I was very familiar with as my grandmother used to make me these dishes when I was a kid. More on this later.

Tofu just like grandma used to make

Tofu just like grandma used to make

The tofu was pretty amazing but the pork dish was overpowered by the bamboo shoots which I really dislike. During the ordering, I started listening to the stall owners around and realized that most of the stall owners were speaking in Vietnamese which kinda explained the two dishes I had just ordered.

After everyone got their orders, we dug in. A couple of noodle soups, with chicken and beef, some stir-fried noodles and some banh hoi served with pork sausages rounded out the orders. None of the dishes cost more than 8,000 Riel and everyone had a great time sampling some Khmer dishes.

After we finished, I asked Keith (Bryse’s younger brother) if he wanted to try a Khmer dessert. He was definitely game so we walked over to the jelly stand and had a bit of fun ordering some of the slurpy stuff.

Khmer jelly desserts

Khmer jelly desserts

Oodles and oodles of tapioca awaited us while we pointed to what we wanted in our dessert bowls. A little bit of simple syrup, coconut milk and shaved ice completed the concoction (We both shied away from the sweetened condensed milk). I assume he liked it as he finished the whole bowl! I certainly did.

Psar Thmei means New Market in Khmer. It’s strange that the name has stuck with a building that was built over 70 years ago but with the new renovations, it has certainly breathed in new life in the iconic building.

Some more photos from the day:

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