Tag Archives: pork

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

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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Botanico

Set of appetizers at Botanico

Set of appetizers at Botanico

We were lucky enough to be part of a select few to the soft launch of Botanico, a new gastrobar in Phnom Penh that is co-run by the crew that brought us Tepui.

Entrance of Botanico

Entrance of Botanico

An unassuming double door with a metal sign is the only indication of the gastrobar within. Quite a departure from the dark wood and sophisticated dining experience of Tepui, Botanico is set in a lush garden setting with potted plants, chirping birds and a very cute but rowdy kitten.

Botanico gastropub setting

Botanico gastropub setting

There was a limited menu offered but I was happy to see that a burger that we sampled in a previous post was on the menu! The menu features tapas and lighter bites along with a breakfast menu!

The italiano beef burger

The italiano beef burger

We sampled a few items from the menu including coconut milk and lemongrass skewered shrimp, pork wontons with a mango chutney, red snapper ceviche and the awesomely awesome italiano beef burger.

Gisella presents the italiano beef burger

Gisella presents the italiano beef burger

It is set to open this week and if you are in the neighborhood, pop in and check it out!

Botanico
Open 7 Days 8:00am – 9:30pm
House #9b, Street 29 (near Sihanouk Blvd. and street 294).

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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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Fresh Evening aka 54 Langeach Sros

Translated to English as “Fresh Evening”, 54 Langeach Sros is set in a great location on Street 178 in between Norodom Boulevard and Street 51. Set in a former French villa, there is outdoor seating under a tent and some seating upstairs which can get a bit hot so make sure to grab a seat in the patio. Upon first glance, it looks like your typical beer garden in Cambodia but great food, cheap beers and a lively atmosphere are a few reasons why I have been frequenting this restaurant for the past 6 years (in 2 locations).

For the review, we ordered a few beer garden staples: Fried Rice with Pork, Fried Whole Quail and Grilled Pork Ribs. We also ordered a dish which I have seen at several other beer gardens but is a specialty here. It even comes with a nifty name: Fried Fish on the Fire Lake.

Mmmm…..

The Fried Rice was pretty tasty as I didn’t need to add copious amounts of soy sauce which is a plus. The grilled quail came next. I didn’t really care for it. Too stringy for my tastes.

The Grilled Pork was the polar opposite of the Quail. Awesomely seasoned, there was plenty of it. Come to think of it, I like any type of piece of pork char grilled in Cambodia. So let’s just call this a given recommendation.

Lastly, Fried Fish on the Fire Lake showed up. Placed on a fish shaped metal dish on a burner, the already fried whole fish has a curry coconut sauce placed on top at the table and left to simmer while you make pleasant chit chat about such mundane things as “man drought” and the proper squatting technique. Garnished on the side with some cabbage and herbs along with some rice noodles, the fish was cooked perfectly and the mellow coconut curry sauce was a great in keeping the fish moist along with cooking down some of the garnishes we placed in the sauce.

A great restaurant to check out and try some traditional beer garden food.

4 out of 5 Nyamies

Vinh

We ended up at 54 Langeach Sros when our first choice was closed so I was pretty damn hungry and devoured the first couple of dishes that arrived.  It was probably my hunger but their bai chaa (fried rice) was some of the best I’ve had in PP.  We ordered the fried quail because it would come faster, probably not the best choice.  But as soon as I tried the bbq pork ribs, we immediately ordered another plate (I probably could have gone for two more orders).  Really good seasoning and not too boney like a lot of bbq pork rib dishes around town.

I’m not the biggest fan of fish but the Fried Fish on the Fire Lake has an amazing name and the sauce was really tasty.  Just the right amount of spiciness.  The dish comes with a plate of veggies and the platter is served on a burner so it’s kind of a sloppy hot pot style.  Overall, the pace has a cool, lively atmosphere but not crazy chaotic like some of the other beer gardens.  Definitely one of the better spots in town.

4 out of 5 Nyamies

Bryse

Every time I go to 54 Langeach Sros I wonder why there aren’t more foreigners there — the place embodies everything that is good about Cambodian food. And yet, somehow, there are never any foreigners when I show up and I get to feel like I’m in on some big secret that white people don’t know about yet.

54 Langeach Sros is a beer garden, but a non-offensive beer garden. No annoying music, good lighting, not sleazy. But still inexpensive, delicious food and cheap jugs of beer that seem to somehow refill themselves. The fried rice which was plain but good. Next came the grilled quail, which I notice that Vinh slyly refused to eat, possibly because he was scared of their eye-socket-y heads and sad little curled-up toes [Any aviary dish involving attached heads are a no-no in my book. Comes from being pressured at the tender age of 6 to eat duck embryos by the Family. Vinh] . I ignored this evidence of their prior lives and gnawed on a few. Not bad, but not as amazing as I had heard from various sources that it would be — it was a bit dry and un-exciting for my palate.

Next up was the grilled pork ribs. Generally, I am not a ribs person. I do not care about ribs. But when I come to 54 Langeach Sros, I always end up ordering at least two plates of ribs. They are that good. Seriously.

The final dish was the fish on the lake. This is something that I would never pick on my own. The whole fish buzz is no one that I usually get into because it involves a lot of work and bones and head-wrecking, but I think this one was worth it. I liked that there were substantial vegetables included as part of this dish, because beer garden eating can sometimes be lacking in the leafy greens and fiber department, and the pink gravy-curry-sauce that the fish was bubbling away in was delicious. Served with rice noodles it ticked all of the boxes for me.

Tucking in to the Fried Fish on the Fire Lake

Tucking in to the Fried Fish on the Fire Lake

4.5 out of 5 Nyamies
Lina

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Street 51 and 136

A cyclo goes past the Sok San Restaurant on the corner of 51 and 136

A cyclo goes past the Sok San Restaurant on the corner of 51 and 136

Bryse and I had a chance to check out this busy intersection a few weeks ago and were impressed with the amount of culinary options available.

Not a place for quiet reflection, the intersection is constantly busy with traffic whizzing by and people going about their business. Sitting in the heaving Sok San Restaurant for our initial meal of the night, we could tell this was a great spot to experience a bit of local flavor.

Sok San Restaurant

Sok San Restaurant

We only had a couple of dishes at Sok San but they were both excellent and quite cheap. It’s probably best to go with a larger group to get an sampling of the extensive menu.

Stir fried chicken with onions

Stir fried chicken with onions

After our meal and a few beers at Sok San, we headed south on Street 51 to a set of barbecue meat restaurants that looked promising. They did not disappoint.

Meat on a stick

Meat on a stick

Not much variety but who cares when there’s meat on a stick. You get grilled pork or a grilled pork sausage, a spicy sweet mango salad side and a baguette. All for the cheap price of 1,500 riel per skewer.

Grilled meat with some mango salad

Grilled meat with some mango salad

We were a bit shocked with the baguette which we thought was slathered with butter but was actually spread with honey.

A baguette slathered with honey

A baguette slathered with honey

All in all a nice little find if you are interested in a cheap snack.

Next we headed off to Street 136 just east of Street 51 where a bunch of fruit shake and sandwich places dot the sidewalk.

Pate and shake stalls on Street 136

Pate and shake stalls on Street 136

We didn’t get the shakes as I was interested in the sandwiches. I have been searching Phnom Penh for a great sandwich place and was hoping these places would deliver.

Preparing a pate dish on Street 136

Preparing a pate dish on Street 136

Less like sandwiches and more like a pate dish with a baguette on the side, I can’t really fault the quality of the food as it was quite tasty. I just kinda hoped for a banh mi styled sandwich. The pate was nice and flavorful and the pickles offered underneath were nice and crunchy.

Pate and baguette combination

Pate and baguette combination

So there you have it. Not really a review but more like an overview of the different culinary options that dot the area around Street 51 and 136.

Vinh

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