244 East Georgia Street
T: 604 682 5777
Brief Description: An extremely popular, no-frills restaurant that prides itself on offering authentic Cambodian and Vietnamese food. Located in a somewhat questionable part of Chinatown (in my opinion).
This post is about chicken wings and a chicken. And that chicken would be me. Although I have wanted to visit Phnom Penh for quite some time, I have just never felt that safe venturing into Chinatown by myself, or even with my sister – just call me “chicken”! Hence why I have been dragging my feet on making the trip to Phnom Penh. But after recently reading even more rave reviews, I just had to go. So, under the watchful eye of the burly B, I made my first visit a few Saturdays ago for lunch.
If you are a foodie in Vancouver then I am sure that you are well aware of this extremely popular Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant. If you aren’t, you should note that it is very well-known and appears to have a lot of regulars. We visited on a Saturday for lunch and the restaurant was already bursting at the seams and there was still a constant line of hungry hopefuls out the door, desperate for a table. That’s pretty impressive in a city that is generously sprinkled with good Asian restaurants.
The restaurant itself is a fairly decent size and the tables are laid out in three rows, which kind of gives it the feel of a cafeteria. The decor is simple and fairly unremarkable. Prices are quite reasonable. I had heard some complaints from other foodies that the prices were slightly higher than you’d expect to pay; however, I didn’t feel that the difference was that noticeable. Our bill was still fairly cheap considering what we ordered so I wasn’t about to complain. Service was very prompt and efficient. There was no small-talk but that didn’t really bother us too much. You could tell that the staff were extremely busy making sure that customers were seated and that the food was served quickly.
Indisputably, the main attraction for a trip to Phnom Penh is the Deep Fried Chicken Wings. All of the reviews that I had read prior to my visit had practically glowed with admiration for these finger-licking inducing delights. Of course, I had to order them. And damn, they were really good (thanks for the tip, Vancouver foodies!). The skin was crunchy with a winning combination of saltiness and flavour and some of the bites were punctuated with small pieces of fried garlic or green onions – yum!! The wings were fresh out of the deep fryer so the flesh was still hot and the pepper/lemon sauce that accompanied the wings added even more “oomph”. The serving size was very impressive. We ordered a small, which I believe was around the $8 mark and that was more than enough. I was happily chomping my way through them for most of the meal, in-between bites of my other dishes.
The other dishes that we feasted on were Pork Salad Roll, Vietnamese Steam Roll, Phnom Penh Egg Noodle in Soup (for me) and Squid Ball Noodle Soup (for B).
The Pork Salad Roll was ok but not rave-worthy. I probably wouldn’t order it again as it was pretty uneventful – there was no party in my mouth. Although I did like the dipping sauce that it came with.
The Vietnamese Steam Roll was delicious. There was a lot of flavour in this seemingly simple dish.
I don’t think that either of us was blown-away by our soups but they were decent enough.
My Phnom Penh Egg Noodle in Soup was a tad dull. There really wasn’t much flavour happening, however, I’m not that well-versed on how Cambodian soups are meant to be so perhaps this is standard.
We finished our meal with Vietnamese coffees, which is coffee that is slow-dripped into individual cups with condensed milk at the bottom. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!! Sweet, strong and fresh iced-coffee was a fantastic way to finish the meal.
Final Thoughts: I liked it, particularly the Deep Fried Chicken Wings, however I wasn’t overly impressed. I would go back to see what other dishes they could “Wow!” me with.