Tag Archives: chinese food

Oodles of noodles

oodles of noodles

oodles of noodles

The Chinese Noodle Shop on Monivong is something of an institution with the expatriate community in Phnom Penh. Most lunches, you will see members of the development, teaching and business community hunched over metal tables, eating some of the best value Chinese food in town.

Utensils at the Chinese Noodle Shop

Chopsticks ready to go

The interior of the Chinese Noodle Shop is very sparse but in all honesty, you come here for the food. The menu is pretty simple with just over 15 different items to choose from. We decided on all non-soup lunch items this time around.

Condiments at the Chinese Noodle Shop

Condiments at the Chinese Noodle Shop

We ordered some mapo tofu, green beans sauteed with mushrooms, fried dumplings and fried noodles with beef.

Green beans with mushrooms

Green beans with mushrooms

The side dish of green beans stole the show with the copious amounts of garlic and a fantastic sauce I doused my steamed rice in. I didn’t really care too much for the rather flavorless mapo tofu (I’d rather have my tofu unhealthily deep fried) and the dumplings had too much onion and not enough pork for my tastes. However, the fried hand pulled noodles were great and there was lots of it. The noodle to garnish ratio was right on the money and there was seasoned enough for me to abstain from my usual dousing of soy and chili.

Lots of onion

Lots of onion

I have to mention that most of the people that come to the Noodle House come for the soup. After lunch, I ended up sticking around as the Funger came just late enough for everyone to head back to work and ordered some soup. A half hour later, another friend came around and he ordered some soup. So that was excuse enough for me to at least mention the soup along with take this photo:

What everyone else comes for

What everyone else comes for

Not a gem of a find as this place is pretty popular with expatriates and locals alike but if you are in the area and need some cheap but tasty eats, you could fare much worse.

3 out of 5 nyamies
Vinh

hand cut fried noodles

hand pulled fried noodles

We’ve been coming to Chinese Noodle for the past few years and they definitely have some of the best stir fried noodles in town. A bit on the greasy side but lots of veggies, eggs and a tiny bit of meat. When we were checking out all of the Chinese places close to the Central Market, this was the kind of dish I had in mind but we never found this dish on the menu. I’m sure that doesn’t mean those spots don’t have it, we just didn’t find this one at those spots.

Green beans with mushrooms

Green beans with mushrooms

The green beans and mushrooms are delicious but if you add that much garlic and msg to cardboard, it would probably be pretty good.

ma tofu

mapo tofu

This trip was the first time I tried the mapo tofu and it was disappointing. Not sure if it’s all non-Chinese clientele that frequent this spot or if it is just the restaurants style but this dish wasn’t even a little spicy.

Fried dumplings

Fried dumplings

The noodles and green beans are really tasty, but the measuring stick of any Chinese restaurant, the dumplings, are just not done well. We tried the deep fried but both the deep fried and steamed are just way too much dough, not enough stuffing and the stuffing is way too heavy on the veggies.

Dipping the dumpling

Dipping the dumpling

The prices are super cheap, the location is convenient and they have some of the best pull noodles out of all the dive Chinese places I’ve tried in town. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t been yet.

3 out of 5 nyamies
Bryse

Chinese Noodle Restaurant

Chinese Noodle Restaurant

You can find the Chinese Noodle Restaurant on Monivong just south of Sihanouk Boulevard.

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Yum Cha at Emperors of China

No carts to be seen

We went and checked out Emperors of China the other day to try the dim sum.

We brought along the Fonger, our Chinese food expert and veteran of many a dim sum restaurant in Phnom Penh for a bit of yum cha education.

cha siu bao

cha siu bao

Going for dim sum, or yum cha as I call it, is a great weekend treat to share with a large group of friends and family. Yum cha, in Cantonese, literally translates to “drink tea” and is commonly used to describe a Chinese brunch. In China’s past, sipping your favorite tea at a tea house served as a relaxing pastime. Over time, little snacks were offered at the tea houses which we all now come to know as dim sum. Tea, however, is still the main focal point of yum cha. If you ever walk into a traditional Cantonese dim sum restaurant, the first thing the staff will ask you is “what kind of tea would you like?”

assorted dim sum

assorted dim sum

I’ve been to countless yum cha, including a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, gathering of family members back home in San Francisco. It became clear to me that this tradition needed to be brought over with me to Phnom Penh. Finding good dim sum isn’t easy. The better dim sum restaurants in town hire their head chef from Hong Kong or Guang Zhou. Of the 8 or so places I’ve tried in Phnom Penh, my favorite dim sum restaurant is Emperors of China. It is here that you will be greeted by their friendly manager, Dick Wong. If you’re lucky, he’ll be wearing one of his many flashy, and sometimes translucent, shirts.

Some of my staples include the following:
1) Ha gao: Shrimp dumpling
2) Siu mai: Pork and shrimp dumpling
3) Cha siu bao: Pork bun
4) X.O. loh bak goh: Turnip or “radish” cake (X.O. is a spicy sauce made with chili, dried shrimp and scallops, garlic and other seasoning)
5) Wu gok: deep fried taro dumpling, which includes some minced pork inside
6) Xiao long bao: Those infamous soupy dumplings. To eat them, try picking up the tip of the dumpling, where it is less vulnerable to tear, using your chopstick and simultaneously scooping using a spoon with your free hand. (check out the pic below)
7) Woh tiep: Pot stickers

Fungers technique for eating xiao long bao

Fongers technique for eating xiao long bao

A general rule of thumb when trying to organize a yum cha group: the ideal number of people is 6 to 8 (the amount required to be seated at a table with a lazy susan, an integral tool for enjoying and sharing dim sum). But don’t fret if you end up at Emperors of China with only two of your buddies – knowing your personal favorite dim sum dishes ahead of time will allow you to quickly make decisions and avoid making experimental choices such as chicken feet, or an unsatisfying dinner menu choice that isn’t traditionally dim sum. Don’t worry too much about what you order, though. You dim sum and you lose some.

– Shirley Fong

steamed shrimp dumplings

Shirley (a.k.a., the Fonger) has been talking about how good the dim sum at Emperors is for quite a while so I was really excited to give a try. The place is a bit crazy in the PP-riche sense with SUV’s crowding the parking and fancy decor but the dim sum menu is surprisingly cheap and the food was great. All of the dumplings were great but the xiao long bao or soup dumplings were the stand out for me.

Steamed diced pork and shrimp dumplings

I’m a bit of a dim sum novice but I really liked everything we ate. The non-dumpling dishes we had were pretty good but none were really memorable. Overall, the place was clean and nice and if you stay away from the entrees menu, it’s really not too expensive. We almost ordered the peking duck but it’s $38!

4 out of 5 nyamies
Bryse

Fried taro

Fried taro

Dim Sum has always been a Sunday morning activity for me when I lived in Orange County, California. Though others would disagree, I have always thought that the best Dim Sum restos (yes, I said it….) in SoCal were in Westminster. Not only because of their proximity to my house but also because of the great characters that man the dim sum carts.

Ornery middle-aged Vietnamese ladies come up to your table, grab any random plate with their tongs and stick them in your face (kinda like the sunglass sellers in Russian Market). If you decide to only pick half of what they offer, they proceed to berate you in Vietnamese slang that would make a sailor blush whilst placing your selection onto the lazy susan.

Okay, where was I?? Oh yeah, Emperors of China.

The dim sum at Emperors of China is excellent quality and the place itself is very clean. The only thing I think it was lacking was a bit of character. I miss the carts and the crazy ladies driving them. Granted, I don’t think there are any carts in any Phnom Penh dim sum restos (again!) so I can’t fault Emperors of China for being the only one.

chilis

I also have to admit that I wasn’t able to try over half the dishes at the table due to an allergic reaction to shrimp. But I will say that the pork buns were delicioso and the xiao long bao were the tastiest I have had in Phnom Penh.

steamed bun filled with diced BBQ pork

3 out of 5 nyamies
Vinh

THE EMPERORS OF CHINA – CHINESE RESTAURANT
No.19 St.163, Sangkat Veal Khan 7 Makhara,Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel. 097 92 92 699 (Chinese ), 016 882 892 ( Khmer ), 012 780 667 ( English )

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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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Sichuan Restaurant

This is the first entry of a series of reviews we undertook a few weeks ago. At first, we wanted to review several hand pulled restaurants around Phnom Penh and give our 2 cents on each. We first started on street 136 (near the KFC on Monivong) where you find a gaggle of restaurants that specialize in Szechuan cuisine. After sampling a couple of the restaurants on the street and seeing each restaurant’s take on certain dishes, Bryse and I thought that this street needed a bit more attention.

The hand pulled review would have to wait.

Enjoy the mega-Szechuan review that starts below!

Vinh

I have been a longtime fan of this place for the past 7 years. In that time, not much has changed. It manages to deliver tasty Szechuan cuisine for a very reasonable price. The place gets packed for lunch and usually has a pretty rowdy crowd for dinner.

For our visit, we had some Cut Noodles with Soy Sauce ($1.50) and a Noodle Soup with Beef ($1.50). Both were very good. The Cut Noodles were served in a metal bowl and along served with ground pork, chopped chilis, green onion and garlic in a spicy soy sauce. It isn’t the healthiest of dishes as there was a pool of oil collecting at the bottom of the bowl but typically of something this unhealthy, pretty damn tasty.

The Noodle Soup had a chunks of beef, bok choy in a soup broth more reminiscent of a stew than a soup. The noodles were a bit overcooked but the rich broth easily made up for that.

An additional thought: Even though we didn’t actually order the sweet and sour chicken, I have to mention them. Why? Well, ever had General Tso’s chicken? Nearly every Chinese buffet in America offers them on under heat lamps and it’s pretty much the first thing I hit up. It’s one of those shameful vices where you crouch down a bit further in your seat and sheepishly profess your love of something so bad…..

Kinda like P Diddy’s song “Mo Money Mo Problems”.

Best thing about this version is that you can get it in chicken, pork or fish.  — Vinh

The first thing I tried was the soy sauce, pork noodles which were great.  Really greasy but a nice subtle taste with just enough spiciness to keep them interesting.  I would definitely go back to this spot to try these soy sauce noodles again.

The noodle soup wasn’t as interesting and I’m not a huge fan of beef at cheap Chinese places.  Usually pretty bad, stringy stuff.  I also managed to get quite a bit of the red sauce all over my shirt while trying to slurp the noodles like an idiot … which I blamed on the dish.  We didn’t try any dumplings at this first spot but I think it would be worth a shot. 

Vinh: 4.5 out of 5 Nyamies

Bryse: 4 out of 5 nyamies

Szechuan Chinese Restaurants Map

Szechuan Chinese Restaurants Map

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