I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a while because I had exams but now I’m back and hopefully I’ll be able to write a lot this summer! I went to Phnom Penh (244 East Georgia) for lunch on Friday, but I honestly haven’t had time to write about it until today. My girlfriend and I went out to enjoy the nice weather and I wanted to eat at Phnom Penh since I hadn’t been there in a long time. The restaurant is named after the capital of Cambodia and it is a Cambodian restaurant but the food is decidedly Vietnamese (correct me if I’m wrong). It’s a very ordinary restaurant located in Chinatown and once inside you’ll notice that the walls are strewn with pictures of the Angkor Wat, probably to emphasize the Cambodian-ness.
Though it may look very ordinary, Phnom Penh is quite a renowned restaurant in Vancouver. It is consistently rated as one of the top Southeast Asian and Vietnamese restaurants in the Lower Mainland by several newspapers and magazines, as evidenced by all the awards on the wall. It also has the distinction of having arguably the best chicken wings in the city. Because of its reputation, it is quite busy, so we had to wait a few minutes for a table. Fortunately, they have quick service (like most Asian restaurants) and the turnover is quite fast. We were seated, looked at the menu briefly and ordered our food.
I got the dish I get at every Vietnamese restaurant, Grilled Lemongrass Pork with Rice. This one came with shredded pork (gelatinous goodness) and the typical vegetables, nuoc cham sauce (fish-sauce and vinegar-based dipping sauce) and broth. Since this is my favourite Vietnamese dish, I enjoyed it, but it isn’t quite as good as the one at Thai Son (2800 East 1st, where T & T is). I love the flavour of the marinated pork and any sort of meat on rice is good to me.
My girlfriend got Beef Balls with Rice Noodle in Soup. It was kinda like pho, but they didn’t call it that so I can’t be certain. The beef balls are made from scratch and they are quite tasty and pretty large at the same time. She enjoyed it but she wasn’t able to finish the whole thing.
Finally, we of course had to have the famous chicken wings and, for once, something lived up to its reputation. They were DELICIOUS. They were super crispy and the seasoning is great; they were salty, sweet and savoury at the same time. SO YUMMY. They came out piping hot and stayed crispy throughout the entire meal. They may actually be the best chicken wings in Vancouver, but I will have to test that. We would come back just for the wings. Also, they were served with this sort of lemon and pepper sauce which was good but I didn’t find it necessary.
We were thoroughly stuffed and satisfied after this meal and will definitely return. This place is always busy so be prepared to wait, though the wait is well worth it. Since it’s not really a “nice restaurant”, I’m not going to consider ‘atmosphere’ in my rating. The prices are pretty good, typical of a Vietnamese restaurant, though just slightly higher and the service is as expected: quick, efficient and emotionless. Overall, a delicious experience and I’d recommend Phnom Penh to everyone!
Food: 4 out of 5
Service: 3 out of 5
Value: 4 out of 5
My Rating: 4 out of 5