Tag Archives: rice

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

Khmer Food Village

Someone likes horse hair

Someone likes horse hair

Located just across the street from Nagaworld, the Khmer Food Village is an interesting restaurant which tries to push the boundaries in Phnom Penh but sadly falls short.

It’s obvious that whoever designed the front entrance loves horses. Flanking the cart adorned with horse hair are two very well endowed horse statues.

No compensating here

No compensating here

Upon entering, you will be directed to the right of two counters where you buy the card that you will need to purchase any food or drink. You can’t run the card down to the last riel as they place a 5,000 riel deposit on it in case you lose it or want to take it home for sentimental value.

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Once you get the card, it’s now time to order from one of the many different food stations which are located in a building in the center of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the food that they display looked pretty horrible as it looked like it was cooked a long time ago. The menu is strictly Khmer and is probably the most extensive I have seen in a restaurant in Cambodia. We were a group of about 10 and ordered a variety of dishes, most of which were priced around 10,000 Riel (no Dollar signs here!).

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with kreung spices

Fried pork with kreung spices

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

The meals all come with as much rice as you can eat.  I would not call the dishes spectacular with the exception of the fried pork and garlic along with the pork with kreung spices but I wouldn’t call them horrible. Just in the middle, I guess. The one thing I did enjoy was the sheer variety of dishes offered. Nowhere in Phnom Penh can offer this and because of that, it is definitely worth a visit.

Vinh

I have also included commentary from another person in the group that is bit less effusive than my comments.

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Khmer Food Village cleverly set expectations low from the beginning by (1) Having an impossibly confusing system of ordering food via top-up cards, supplemented by approximately 50 staff members per diner, all hovering around trying to “help,” and (2) Displaying what looked like days-old finished dishes in glass cases surrounding the dining area.

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

The meats and vegetables all looked so tired and wilty that by the time we got our food, I was just happy to have something mildly edible set before me. The quality of the dishes we tried ranged from dubious to excellent, with my favorite being the Khmer dessert akao: essentially a steamed cake with coconut cream. In an actual Khmer village it would have come wrapped in a palm leaf, but here it was referred to as a “Cambodian cupcake” and just came on a plate. Either way, it was so good we got extras.

Steamed coconut cakes

Steamed coconut cakes

Also delicious, though fatty, were the pork ribs with little bits of toasted garlic and the beef satay, which was what I got when I ordered beef “roulade.”

Roulade skewers

Roulade skewers

Samlor ktis, or sour soup with coconut milk, was just average. Fried rice was serviceable, although it looked like it had been mixed with ketchup, which always completely freaks me out for some deep-seated psychological reason.

Fried rice with beef

Fried rice with beef

And one fish dish got such bad reviews from the other members of our party that I didn’t even want to try it. I’ll probably stick to more traditional Khmer restaurants and beer gardens in the future, but this might be a good choice if you’re looking for an accessible introduction to Khmer food. ALSO I would not be doing my job if I did not mention to potential diners that there are some truly striking statues of horses flanking the entrance of the restaurant. Hopefully Vinh has a photo because words will not suffice here.

Here are some more photos from the visit:

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Raw beef salad

Raw beef salad

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Remnants of the meal

Remnants of the meal

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