Friday, April 21, 2006

Phnom Penh, Phinally!

Phnom Penh (244 E. Georgia, 604 682-5777 ) has hoards of fans, and it's been in Chinatown, just east of Main St. for years. They serve Vietnamese and Cambodian food. Somehow, I've managed to live all this time in Vancouver without having ever tried it...that is, until last week. Yay! Another restaurant knocked off my very long list of places to try. Cheeseboy and I went for a very pleasant early Saturday lunch. The place was already full of mostly other Asians, including large families, with a smattering of mixed couples (Asian girl, white boy) thrown in for good measure. Good smells hit us as soon as we entered, as well as a general feeling of authenticity. It had the expected look of a fairly simple Chinatown restaurant that has been around for a while, but is well-maintained. I wanted to try their famous deep-fried squid with lemon, black pepper sauce. That was good, but not mind-blowing for me, as deep-fried spicy salt squid (which is deep-fried in a very light batter, then tossed with minced green chili peppers and garlic) is a favourite dish of mine to order in Chinese restaurants. Phnom Penh's version was quite good, and served with a nice, tart dip of lemon juice and black pepper, which is a really nice addition actually. I would order this dish again, but I definitely want to try their deep-fried chicken wings next time, as I've heard good things about that. We just couldn't handle too many deep-fried thingies that early in the morning. We also had a tasty rice vermicelli dish with stir fried beef and veggies on it, as well as a shrimp salad roll. There are lots of dishes to try on the menu, and it was hard to choose just a few. They even have a couple of frogs' legs dishes. Prices were good, with our bill totalling $31.67 before tip (including tax, and Vietnamese coffees). Service was great, and I actually found it quite refreshing that this very Asian restaurant didn't rush us out at the end of our meal by putting the bill down right away. We actually had to ask someone for the bill, and could leisurely finish our pot of tea there. The Vietnamese coffees with sweetened condensed milk was perfect for waking us up on a sleepy weekend morning. I enjoyed this meal very much, felt very comfortable there, and would definitely go back. And who knows? Maybe I'll have to make a new top five fried chicken list after my next visit.

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