As Cookie Monster would say: "Om nom nom nom" ....Phnom Penh!
Aside from our usual sushi joints, this joint right here is our go-to spot for excellent Cambodian/Vietnamese fare! It is definitely a gem and very well known in Vancouver.
The following dishes are the most popular (but the last one not so much, I don't think). These dishes are, probably, what defines Phnom Penh. They all go hand in hand!
Deep Fried Chicken Wings - Probably the best chicken wings you'll ever have. The batter is unbelievably crispy and what's even better is the accompanying lemony-peppery sauce that it comes with! Throw in teeny bits and pieces of the garlicky batter and you'll be crawling back for more in no time!
Marinated Butter Beef - This is one of my favourite appetizers ever. I have no idea why they call it 'butter beef' but there has to be some sort of butter component in them...or something! This dish is essentially medium-rare-ish thin slices of beef laid and spread out to the rim of the plate with a generous amount of a one-of-a-kind vinegary sauce, and adorned with copious amounts of crispy garlic flakes and cilantro! Refreshing and delicious!!!
Beef Filet (with Egg!) on Rice (Luc Luc) - Such a seemingly simple sounding dish but it is so well executed that I doubt this dish could be replicated, in the same manner, anywhere else! The beef is so tender and plentiful, spread out atop an equally plentiful portion of white rice, with the perfect sunny side up fried egg on top and voila! You'll never underestimate the taste of beef again.
Pan-Fried Rice Cakes (Bot Chien) -Think cubed pieces of rice cakes, pan fried, topped with bean sprouts, pieces of fried egg, cilantro and onions and you're looking at one of the greatest rice cake dishes of mankind! Of course, the ultimate topper to this dish is the fact that it comes with a lovely one-of-kind chili vinegary sauce. Scrumptious!
As for beverages - have no fear- Phnom Penh is here! They feature speciality 'moo moo shakes' in assorted flavours (jack fruit being the best one), as well as other wonderful concoctions, such as my favourite - the (literally) 3-Colour Red Bean Icy Drink. It is the ultimate refreshing with an abundance of red bean on the bottom, mung beans and tasty jellies! Topped with ice and condensed milk, I give this beverage an all-around 2 thumbs waaaaay up!
There could be a bit of a language barrier with some of the servers, but communication could be ok. You might need to wave them down a few times for extra napkins, tea and what not. Not super friendly but it's passable.
Prices aren't too steep and pretty reasonable, in my opinion. Two can probably dine for under $30!
It's often pretty loud, as it is pretty much packed most of the time. You won't hear any music here. Nor is there any real nice decor. Very typical of Chinese restaurants. A lot of dishes and chopsticks clanging to & fro!
Yay: Parking is usually plentiful, though you may have to pay (as there are mostly meters nearby). Fine Cambodian/Vietnamese grub - come for their speciality dishes! Resos are accepted for parties of 6 or more!
Nay: Located in Chinatown which isn't the nicest area in Vancouver. There may be long wait times come peak dining periods.
** Interesting fact: Phnom Penh has been around for a loooong time. It is family-owned and has even garnered the likes of the popular culinary chefs/tv personalities/authors: Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child!