Tag Archives: noodles

New Nyamers / Sesame Noodle Bar

Hello again! After spending the past few months slacking / being sad about Vinh moving away (and starting a new blog in Vietnam), I was given a kind kick in the butt to start posting again. This friendly kick even made introductions to a new crew of folks that will help posting new fun places to try. So I’d like to introduce the new nyamers (borrowing Corbett’s introductions):

  • Caitlin – Skinny as a whistle but a foodie none the less, Caitlin did the typical blog thing– started off strong, and then it sort of let it linger. Never let it linger. The thing is, she’s got a great voice, and I think dangling a bit of food in front of her is just the right thing to get her inspired again. To see her writing chops, visit some of her past posts at: http://limeandpepper.wordpress.com/ 
  • Robert – He is the counter for anyone else you’ll find. He’s a glass is half empty type of guy when it comes to food, but like a stale beer at 4 am, he’ll drink it anyway.  He’ll bring neutrality to your rating system. Also a good photographer, he’s looking for inspiration to start shooting again. 
  • Justin – Graphic Designer, photographer, tech head and pocket-conscious foodie, Justin tries everything and runs algorithms to cross tabulate delight against price. More about non-foodie Justin at: http://justinpn.com/
  • Roswell – Roswell is our big boy from Boston. He eschews cutlery in favor of  hammers and nails and is the sly, quip master of our dining experiences. As the nerd-in-residence, he analyzes every food adjective before laying pen to paper. Actually, the last part is a lie. He actually writes in the blood of vanquished chefs. Great hair too.
  • Tim –  Cofounder of Co-Lab and all around tech talented despite being Australian. Tim will help out with making the blog look nice, eating and photos. 
  • Ben – Obviously so talented he does not need a last name. Tim’s recommendation but he’s got mapping chops you can see here. Ben will help add some mapping features to the blog so places will be easier to find.

Thanks to Corbett’s help, we have a new crew of nyamers that will be eating, and posting and hopefully we will have lot of new fun places to try this year. And because Corbett has been so nice, we will provide his wife’s new restaurant a shameless plug.

Outside Sesame Noodle Bar

Sesame Noodle Bar

Sesame Noodle Bar is a great new Japanese cold noodle bar just South of the Russian Market. Again, this is a blatantly biased review but Keiko and Corbett have setup a really cool, comfortable restaurant with tasty, cheap dishes.

Inside Sesame Noodle Bar

Inside Sesame Noodle Bar

Things are still getting set up and they are only open for lunch at this point but lunch specials are $4.75 for a bowl of noodles and a side which is a pretty great deal. SNB is also probably the only restaurant in Cambodia with Edison bulbs which is pretty awesome.

The noodles at Sesame Noodle Bar

noodles

The signature cold noodle dish is served with a ton of veggies, a small bit of pork, hard boiled eggs (which I pick out) and a side of tahini sauce so it’s more of a salad then a typical noodle bowl. The lunch special also comes with a side of either gyoza, pork bun or a passion fruit, mint fruit shake. It really does make for a perfect lunch. Not hot, not too heavy but plenty to walk away full.

– Bryse

The noodles at Sesame Noodle Bar

more noodles

Justin: Thanks for the warm welcome to Nyam Penh Bryse! I’m looking forward to finding some great new places to add to the site… and to my waistline.

Speaking of great new places, SNB certainly is. I think Keiko and Corbett have developed a great idea that will be a real winner in Toul Tom Pong. It would be nice to see more places trying out creative new ideas like this.

Pumpkin Sesame Balls at Sesame Noodle Bar

Pumpkin Sesame Balls at Sesame Noodle Bar

I have to admit, I’ve been through the doors of Sesame more than a few times since they opened but I keep coming back to two dishes. The aforementioned noodle bowl is delicious and is like you say, a little salad-like in its freshness and healthy serving of veg. And that lightness is oh so well balanced by the sweet and rich pork that goes along with it.

Sriracha hot sauce at Sesame Noodle Bar

Sriracha hot sauce at Sesame Noodle Bar

But for me, the real treat at Sesame is the pork buns, or rather ‘Thor’ buns. Grilled pork belly with a little bit of pickle and some sauce inside a perfect little pocket of steamed bun. Damn it’s good. I could eat like forty of them and then wash them down with Sriracha.

Overall it’s turned into one of my fav places to get lunch and it’s a must to try for anybody in the area.

– Justin

Sesame Noodle Bar
(the real) #9 Street 460

map

map

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Ichiriki Tei

Ichiriki Tei

Ichiriki Tei

Located on Kampuchea Krom just west of Central Market, Ichiriki Tei is a great Japanese restaurant that not only serves your generic sushi and nigiri rolls but some seriously filling homestyle cooking.

Interior of Ichiriki Tei

Interior of Ichiriki Tei

We were greeted immediately by the staff and were offered a huge table that could have easily fit 10. The interior is a blend of tacky Khmer Riche and understated Japanese.

The view of the other tables at Ichiriki Tei

Understated yet tacky

The menu is quite extensive and was a bit daunting to look through. Luckily, the proprieter was very patient with us newbies and guided us through the menu. Between the 3 of us, we ordered 4 dishes.

Gyoza at Ichiriki Tei

Gyoza at Ichiriki Tei

The first dish that arrived was the gyoza. At $2.00 for 5 pieces, it was a little expensive, though not as expensive as the gyoza at Bekkan Ramen. I felt they were a bit bland and definitely needed to be dipped in the accompanied soy sauce. After the demolishing the gyoza, the rest of the plates started to appear.

Ichiriki Tei Special Ramen

Ichiriki Tei Special Ramen

Ichirikitei Special Ramen ($6.50) was one of the lunch specials of the day. Along with the noodle soup, you get a pretty generic plate of fried rice. . I would suggest sharing your meal if you want to actually do anything after your meal. Half a boiled egg, sliced pork and cabbage accompanied the thin round noodles that came in the sesame oil-infused broth.

Katsu Don with miso soup

Katsu Don with miso soup

The next dish they plopped down was the Katsu Don ($8.50). When I say plopped, I mean a thud. The bowl was huge! The deep-fried pork cutlet was smothered with a beaten egg before serving and tempered the crunchy breaded pork that is usually served with this dish. The rice  was flavored with a bit of soy sauce and was a nice counter-punch to the rich pork. A definite gut buster!

Niku Soba

Niku Soba

The Niku Soba ($7.00) was the last bowl to come out. Nice and chewy soba noodles were served with sliced beef, carrots, onion. I found it to be a bit bland and once some heat was added to it via some chili flakes, it made for a pretty good broth.

All in all, a great place for those who are looking for homestyle Japanese food and don’t mind not doing anything afterwards.

3 out of 5 nyamies
Vinh

homemade chili sauce and soy sauce

Once we were able to find the front door at Ichiriki Tei and found our table, the overly attentive staff started piling hot towels, menus and sauces on our table. The woman that spoke the most English explained to us that the chunky chili sauce they brought over was homemade so we had to give it a try. We mixed some in with the soy sauce and it was decent, not too spicy and a bit sweet but the mix went well with the gyoza.

Food at Ichiriki Tei

My eyes bugged out when the Katsu Don arrived at the table. Probably really unhealthy but the katsu don consists of delicious tenkatsu and fried eggs piled on a top of really nice Japanese rice. This was by far my favorite dish (I’ve actually been back twice since and ordered this).

Special Ramen, Fried Rice and neon red ginger

The ramen was really cheap so I wasn’t expecting much but it wasn’t bad for the price. The noodles were not fresh but the broth and pork were really nice. The Niku Soba and fried rice were fine but not stand outs.

pickles

Americans typically associate Japanese food with healthy options like fresh sushi. This Japanese food is not healthy. Ichiriki Tei does have a very expensive sushi section but bulk of the menu is “Japanese soul food” which is definitely the reason to visit this place.

4 out of 5 nyamies
Bryse

Ichiriki Tei
No.10 Kampuchea Krom Blvd, Sangkat Phsa Thmey 2, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh

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Nyam Abroad: Banh Trang Nuong

Stitched image from the rooftop bar at the Ceatec Tower

Stitched image from the rooftop bar at the Ceatec Tower

My wife and I  spent a week in Ho Chi Minh City just recently, enjoying the culinary delights Vietnam has to offer. We had a great time meeting new people along with some old friends and of course, ate tons of great food.

Advertising the goods

Advertising the goods

One memorable item we ate (and we ate alot of it) was Banh Trang Nuong or what I ended up naming the Vietnamese Grilled Taco. Banh Trang is translated as rice paper and is the used as the wrapping material for Bánh Cuốn or Chả Giò. With these preparations, the banh trang is dipped in water to moisten them to make for easier rolling.

Banh Trang Nuong on the grill

Banh Trang Nuong on the grill

With this dish, the uncooked banh trang is placed on a grill and the ingredients are placed on top. We went to several vendors and the filling is generally a mix of minced pork, dried shrimp butter, chopped scallions, and a quail egg.

Ingredients for the Banh Trang Nuong

Ingredients for the Banh Trang Nuong

An optional squeeze of chili sauce rounds out the filling. We also saw chili-sate sauce, deep fried onions and deep fried rice paper as ingredients and thought they made the Banh Trang Nuong even better!

It's almost a taco!!

It's almost a taco!!

At a certain point on the grilling process which the vendor knows perfectly, the banh trang becomes a bit more pliable and is folded over. A bit more time is spent on the grill to crisp it back up and then it is served with some folded paper.

The finished product

The finished product

The crispiness of the banh trang combined with the gooey texture of the filling (probably because of almost done quail egg) is one of those great experiences I will take with me to the grave. One note is that you have to eat this fast as the banh trang wrapper goes a bit limp if you leave it to cool down.

You can find Banh Trang Nuong vendors around town but we found tons of them in the park next to the Notre-Dame Basilica in District 1.

Some more images from the week:

 

Instructions at Wrap and Roll in Ho Chi Minh City

Instructions at Wrap and Roll in Ho Chi Minh City

Sesame seed rice paper spring rolls at Wrap and Roll

Sesame seed rice paper spring rolls at Wrap and Roll

Banh cuon nhan thit at Wrap and Roll. Check out the pork floss

Banh cuon nhan thit at Wrap and Roll. Check out the pork floss

Banh Cuon with 4 types of Cha Lua

Banh Cuon with 4 types of Cha Lua

Complimentary appetizers on the 50th floor at Bitexico Tower

Complimentary appetizers on the 50th floor at Bitexico Tower

A 1956 Lambretta and it's proud owner

A 1956 Lambretta and it's proud owner

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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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Going to Battambang

Kranhoung Stick King liked Battambang before it was cool

We have been traveling up to Battambang lately for work and wanted to write a few posts about some of the nice places up here. I saw an Aussie friend today and he said that Battambang seems to be gaining a cool reputation around Cambodia for its up and coming arts scene and new restaurants and hotels. This place is still really quiet but it’s definitely developed quite a bit over the past few years.

bunhoy & fruit shake

I try to hit White Rose on just about every trip. Not only is their website amazing, but they have great fruit shakes for $1. Friends from Siem Reap used to come up here just to sit around and  drink these shakes all afternoon. There is one item on the menu, the Bunhoy, listed towards the end of the Snacks section that is pretty much amazing. It seems like more of a Vietnamese dish with small rice noodles, cut up spring rolls, pork, sautéed onions, lettuce, basil and peanuts. Add some of the chili and black pepper and yea … amazing. But really, add cut up spring rolls to anything and it’s going to be pretty good.

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Hometown Bak Kutteh

My friend Jeremy from Malaysia came into town this weekend for my birthday on Saturday. It was a pretty drunken affair which involved the Rossini Burger at Raffles, go karting at Kambol racetrack, absinthe shots and singing Loverboy at the Zeppelin bar. Needless to say, Sunday morning was not pretty. Luckily in my drunken haze, I made plans with Jeremy to try a Malaysian restaurant in Phnom Penh to see if it was the goods.

Oh it totally was…..

Hometown Bak Kutteh’s exterior exudes unassuming and if I have to be a bit honest, when I walked in felt like I had just walked into someone’s living room. There was some pretty kitschy elevator music (a rather weird version Police’s “Message in a Bottle” using a glockenspiel was playing when we walked in), there were boxes and sinks everywhere, and there was a kid playing a video game in the corner of the restaurant. Jeremy tells me that these places are all over Malaysia and that it was pretty authentic experience in terms of decor. Luckily, there was an air-conditioning unit blasting some cold air which isn’t seen in alot of these restaurants which is fine by me.

Jeremy sits in Hometown Bak Kutteh

Jeremy sits in Hometown Bak Kutteh

Let’s see if Hometown Bak Kutteh’s dishes pass Jeremy’s authenticity test.

Bak Kut Teh at My Home Bak Kut Teh restaurant

Bak Kut Teh at My Home Bak Kut Teh restaurant

Bak Kut Teh, or “pork rib tea” in Malaysian Hokkien, is a Chinese dish originating from around Fujian province in China that was brought to Malaysia with the influx of labourers in the 19th century.  In Malaysia, it is most commonly associated with the town of Klang, about an hour west of Kuala Lumpur, and the version served at Hometown Bak Kutteh has a rich, slightly sweet broth, deeply infused with Chinese herbs, and tender pieces of pork rib, belly, intestine and stomach accompanied by tofu skin, tofu puffs, Chinese shiitake and lettuce, and is a fine example of the Klang tradition.  No wonder too, as the proprietors hail from the area.

Bak Kut Teh at My Home Bak Kut Teh restaurant

Bak Kut Teh at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

All the details were there in the accompaniments: crispy fried shallots garnishing the oily (but not too oily) rice, pieces of fresh deep-fried bread (known as youtiao in the West after the Mandarin name), and a little dipping saucer of sliced bird’s eye chili in light soya sauce.  If you want to feast on an authentic version of Bak Kut Teh, you could do far worse even in Malaysia, much less in Phnom Penh.  Highly recommended.

Curry Laksa at Hometown Kut Teh restaurant

Curry Laksa at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

The word laksa is used for a wide variety of noodle soups in Malaysia and Singapore, with each town or city featuring their own version, some vastly different from each other.  There are three main families: curry laksa, which uses coconut milk and curry powder or paste in its gravy; assam laksa, the most famous of which is Penang laksa, which has sour tamarind in a seafood-based broth; and Kuching laksa, which is a spicy coconut milk broth but is different in flavour from both of the former.  (Full disclosure: since I’m a Kuching boy, you don’t have to guess very hard to know where my laksa loyalties lie).  When we ordered, the proprietress asked if we wanted a mix of egg noodles and rice vermicelli, and I opted for this as my dining partners might not have tried this noodle combination.

The curry laksa here is drawn from the ones served in Chinese eateries in the Klang Valley area.  It came topped with red barbecued pork, cockles, tofu puffs, slices of fish cake, a boiled egg.  The curry in the broth was quite prominent, backed by undertones of seafood in the broth base, and finishing nicely with the richness of the coconut milk.  Not the best curry laksa broth I’ve had, but not too far off.  My only complaint would be that there was a bit too much noodle for the amount of gravy in the bowl.

Fried Kuay teow at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

Fried Kuay teow at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

Kway Teow is Malaysian Hokkien for a flat and broad rice noodle, and char kway teow is a stir-fry using this noodle as its main ingredient.  Like almost anything in Malaysia, regional variations abound.  The noodles were quite tasty, and there were delightful little pieces of crispy pork fat sprinkled throughout the dish, but I felt it lacked in wok hei, which is the Cantonese word for the smoky, slightly charred flavour imparted by the high temperatures achieved in wok stir-frying.  This indicates me either an insufficiently seasoned wok, a flame that is not hot enough, or insufficient tossing of the wok to get enough partial combustion of the stir-frying oil.  A workmanlike char kway teow, but not outstanding.

Chicken Rendang at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

Chicken Rendang at Hometown Bak Kutteh restaurant

Just for kicks, we also ordered a dish of chicken rendang, apparently because everything else we had was not rich enough.  Rendang is originally an ethnic Malay feast dish, although it can now be found in restaurants all over.  True to the restaurant’s Malaysian Chinese roots, the version we got was a Peranakan Chinese-style rendang.  The Peranakan Chinese (also known as Baba-Nyonya or Straits Chinese) are a community within Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore descended from Chinese immigrants in the 15th to 16th centuries, with a distinct language, culture, dress, and cuisine drawn from the centuries of cross-cultural pollination in the region.  Peranakan Chinese food fuses Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences into something distinct, commonly referred to as Nyonya cuisine, after the term for women of the community.

Rendang is a meat stew, cooked over a long simmer in rempah (a Malaysian spice mixture), turmeric, chili sauce, coconut milk, and kerisik, a paste made from toasted coconut shavings.  The resulting sauce is a thickly-textured and flavourful mixture having been reduced from over an hour of cooking.  The rendang at Hometown Bak Kutteh is sweet and only slightly piquant with rich aromas of ginger and lemongrass.  It only lacked the additional complexity in flavour provided by turmeric leaves and kaffir lime leaves found in some Malay preparations, but was all in all a very satisfactory rendang in the style.

Vinh here.

I totally enjoyed my experience at Hometown Bak Kutteh and am definitely heading back to try some of the other dishes. My favorite was their signature dish, Bak Kut Teh. It reminded me of thit kho heo but I could have done without the intestine’s floating in the broth. Also, it also had a whole garlic bulb in it!

A proper bowl of Bak Kut Teh

A proper bowl of Bak Kut Teh

All in all, some fantastically tasty and cheap (nothing over $5.00) dishes coupled with an authentic dining experience that I highly recommend. Just do it soon as they are moving to a more upscale location near Sorya Shopping Center on October 1st, 2011. As of October 22nd, it hasn’t moved.

It’s moved and now on Street 154

Hometown Bak Kutteh
Street 154
Between Streets 51 and 63
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
012 611 575

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