Target: Phnom Penh
Location: Chinatown, 244 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A (Sky Train: Main Street)
How far would you go for food? Would you wait in line for hours? Drive 100 miles from home? Spend a fortune? BMI40 and I have been talking about visiting Phnom Penh for over a month, and each time it seems we’re either too lazy or we miss out on getting a ride with other people and it’s too long of a trek. But then our friends came back raving about this place, and we were so jealous and curious about the food we made the plans to go. Food adventure time!
Not having a car in Vancouver sucks, public transportation is pretty convenient, but it’s a pain to get to Phnom Penh. We had to bus it, take the Canada Line, switch to the Millenium/Expo Line, and then walk at least a couple blocks. Seriously, Chinatown is SKETCH. I’m not sure if it’s because it was dark at night and most stores were already closed, or because sketchy people tend to roam the streets at night. Either way, I’m glad BMI-40 was there with me. So we finally arrived at Phnom Penh, only to see a ton of people waiting to be seated. We were told to wait from 30-45 minutes. Bummer. So since we came all the way, we would of course wait it out.
So we decided to take a walk around Chinatown. You know, explore the area? There was nothing to explore. Everything’s closed, and it’s seriously kinda creepy at night. It was also quite chilly, so we wanted to find a place to sit down, maybe have a drink. The ONLY option we had was this British pub right round the corner from Phnom Penh. Okay, I guess that’ll do. People were really rowdy and drunk, and it wasn’t even 8:30 pm yet. So we sat down and ordered a pretty typical British drink: Snakebite. (A mix of Strongbow, Lager and blackcurrant syrup) Only it turns out they did it wrong, but whatever, at least March Madness was on. We wait for 30 minutes in the pub before heading back to Phnom Penh – we didn’t want to miss our turn.
So finally, we get seated, the place still uber crowded – but I like that kind of atmosphere! I was so hungry by this point, even though I had just chugged an entire pint of beer. HERE WE GO!
Phnom Penh is a popular hole-in-the-wall type restaurant that serves up Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes!
The famous Luc Lac Beef Rice with Egg ($9.50). Look how beautifully raw that yolk is! The beef was really tasty, there was a good amount of sauce, but it didn’t blow me away. It’s really good when you mix everything together, even with the salad on the side, cause it adds a nice crunch.
Mango Moo Shake ($4.50): DELICIOUS! Definitely a item you must order. Thick, creamy, tangy, refreshing slushie that isn’t too sweet. It’s really the perfect balance to all the chicken wings in the background….
Deep Fried Chicken Wings – Full Order ($12.50): Hands down, best chicken wings EVER. So crispy, yet so tender on the inside… Good amount of spice in the coating, LOVE the dipping sauce (lemon juice with black peppers and perhaps some other stuff). This is delicious. I had chicken wings at Wings downtown the week before….they don’t even COMPARE to Phnom Penh!
(not pictured) Green Papaya Salad ($14.50): BMI-40 isn’t really a fan of ordering salads in restaurants. No wait, he isn’t a fan of eating salads in general. But I have a real soft spot for green papaya salad – so I had to try this! It was light, refreshing, but oddly there was some kind of beef/pork jerky sprinkled on top? Still good.
We were so full by the end of the meal, but we went ahead and ordered dessert anyway! This is a layered sticky rice dessert! It reminds me of Kuih Lapis – this type of dessert is commonly found in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. They served this warm, and whilst it was quite sticky, it wasn’t hard to chew. It wasn’t too sweet either, which is good.
Verdict: If you like Vietnamese/Cambodian food, you must visit this place! The food is simple and tasty, and it won’t make a huge dent in your wallet either! There’s a lot of variety on the menu, so it’s probably more ideal to come in a group to sample a range of stuff! Do keep in mind this place is really popular, so you’ll likely have to wait during rush hours.