Phnom Penh here we come! It was actually a lot closer to home than I thought…like Chinatown close to be exact. Okay, so we didnt actually go to Cambodia but hey, we skipped the 14 hour flight there and opted for second best-Vancouver’s arguably most popular Cambodian restaurant.
When we arrived at 7:30 the place was packed, and the waiting room was too small to hold all of the eager hangry people salivating over the patron’s dishes. Almost immediately, I noticed that 90% of those dining ordered the chicken wings while the beef luc luc and butter beef also adorned majority of the tables. I’m also about 90% certain that most readers will know exactly what dishes I’m talking about if you proclaim yourself as a proud foodie and Vancouverite since this place has been blogged about more than 60+ times according to zomato.
Upon first glace, the restaurant itself comes across like your average Chinese hole in the wall restaurant. The lazy Susans (or what I’d like to call them-the spinny disks) makes for an effective sharing platform for large groups and are often seen at Chinese style restaurants. If you pay attention to the wall decor however you can discover little pieces of Cambodia stretched across the room that gives this place a unique flair.
King Suryavarman II from early 12th century Phnom Penh apparently had these monuments made to depict Buddha but there are claims that the faces that were carved were of very close resemblance to the King’s instead of Buddha.
Anyways, that was a short historical anecdote. Glad to know my history degree isn’t wasted!
Now on to the food.
Since there were 11 of us in attendance, we got to order food Chinese-family style. We ordered the following savory foods:
3 orders of Filet Beef Luc Luc on Rice with Egg
3 orders of Deep-Fried Chicken Wings (Large)
2 orders of Marinated Butter Beef
1 order of BBQ Lemon-grass Chicken
1 order of Curry Frog Legs
1 order of Butter Garlic Frog Legs
1 order of Cha Gio Trieu Chau AKA “Crab meat, pork, and jicama wrapped in bean curd paper, deep fried in rolls”
1 order of Phnom Penh Chicken Curry Hot Pot
(I have this weird inkling that we had Fried Squid in there as well but I’m having trouble remembering)
Butter Beef! Very thinly shaven cuts of beef with loads of cilantro to cut the fattiness. The sauce was acidic and goes great with this specific cut and style of beef. The colour is so vibrant!
Chicken Curry Hot Pot. This curry was reminiscent of Indonesian style curry, and will go perfectly with some rice on the side to soak up the soup-heavy dish.
Beef Luc Luc. This is a very unique dish, and reminds me a lot of Japanese gyudon but with a very heavy sauce ratio. It’s best mixed with the egg and rice and away from your peers so that you can eat it all by yourself.
BBQ Lemon-grass Chicken! Unfortunately didn’t get to try this one. But look at the caramelization :O
The best deep-fried chicken with the best lemon pepper garlic dip. I propose that all restaurants with chicken wings on their menu should consider using this style of dip for their wings.
Curry Frog Legs: I want to provide you with a more interesting and original take on this dish…but let me tell you, it TASTES JUST LIKE CHICKEN.
Butter Garlic Frog Legs: JUST LIKE CHICKEN
Oh there it is! the squid dish! I knew we ordered this. What does the chicken, frog, and squid all have in common? They’re all delicious.
Okay now on to the desserts: Both the highlight and the lowlight of the night.
Durien with Sticky Rice: So this was surprisingly good. As you can see in the picture, you can distinctly taste the texture of the rice, and the sweet creamy coconut sauce and small pieces of durien mixed well with the rice underneath. This was more coconut than durien, and much more geared towards my durien-newbie taste buds.
I believe this is the black gluttonous rice with coconut milk. Oh so good. You can’t go wrong with non-durien desserts (sorry durien lovers!)
I think this was the yellow bean tapioca. The bigger yellow balls are the beans while the smaller yellow balls are tapioca. Both equally good yellow balls! and again, a great dessert because it isn’t durien.
And now…the dessert of death. The bane of my existence.
The Durien Moo Shake. Oh what a cute name for such a not-cute drink. Okay okay, I don’t want to say too many bad things about durien because there are some genuine durien lovers out there, but I guess I can’t join the club. It was satisfyingly creamy of course, and had a good thick milkshake texture, but man. That durien taste. It’s sure something. I recommend everyone to try it out at least once, for after all I was surrounded by Adventure Time Mini Club members. And this sure was adventurous (at least for me!)
I would like to thank every member of this club for partaking in this fun dinner outing and for motivating me to try out new foods. I can now cross off frog legs and durien off my list! Until next time~