27 Wednesday Nov 2013

Thanksgiving in Phnom Penh

This year, thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 28th, a weekday. Organizing a group dinner would have been cumbersome. We had decided to host the dinner on Saturday prior to the actual date instead.

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Finding a turkey in Phnom Penh wasn’t too difficult. Stores like Lucky, Bayon supermarkets carried brands like Butterball and Honeysuckle. We purchased a 13 lb turkey for a group of 12. Lucky supermarket also carried Stovetop stuffings but not cranberry (no frozen nor canned ones), so we had to improvise.

Thanksgiving wasn’t not so hyped up to be here in Phnom Penh as oppose to Christmas, which many restaurants, shops and hotels are more susceptible to celebrating it.  Only a handful of restaurants and hotels would serve Thanksgiving meal.  Digby’s, Hagar, Vespa, Sofitel are some of the fews that served Thanksgiving meal.  You could order a thanksgiving meal (including turkey, ham, stuffings and more) from Digby’s and Hagar.

13 Wednesday Nov 2013

The Common Tiger – restaurant in Phnom Penh

BKK1 is attracting many visitors both locals and tourists.  Restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, pubs, fitness centers, schools and NGOs are just the fews that are sprawling in this neighborhood.  The Common Tiger is just another great addition to our BKK1 neighborhood.

Finding this restaurant is not too difficult.  Street 294 houses Wild Wing, Costa Coffee and Blue Pumpkin.  The restaurant itself is situated inside a small villa in BKK1, with a large garden offering outdoor seating as well.  The interior mimics the atmosphere of a high class french restaurant with dimmed lighting.

The concept of this restaurant is highly unique.  The menu gets changed every 3 days so that frequent diners would not get bored with the same dishes.  The time that we visited the restaurant, here is the menu

1) cured duck breast, avocado and asparagus
2) poached prawns, smoked tomato panna cotta, sauce vierge
3) steamed mushroom creme, mushroom, tofu salad
4) baked seabass rubbed with yellow curry, tamarind and new potatoes
5) fillet and belly of pork with shitake, and cauliflower
6) passionfruit tart, white chocolate and cashew nut
7) frozen mango parfait, coconut sticky rice

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On that particular evening, we ordered all the dishes on the menu.  Each dish was full of surprise.  The savory taste blend between western techniques and khmer ingredients gave the wow factors.  I cannot recall whether any dish was mediocre or less.  It seemed to me that all the dishes were splendid and I am dying to go back there again.

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As you would expect from a high end restaurant, the chef personally stepped out of the kitchen and explained the ingredients and cooking techniques of each dish.  The chef gave his personal presentation on all dishes, making our dining experience even more personal and special.  It gave us diners a sense of overwhelming feeling by his hospitality and attention.

27 Tuesday Aug 2013

Sunrise Tacos Phnom Penh

This month is the official opening of Sunrise Tacos in Phnom Penh.  Situated in the best neighborhood Boeung Keng Kang 1, this restaurant reintroduces Mexican cuisines to our local diners.  It is not easy to find a Mexican restaurant in Phnom Penh, let alone one in proximity of the city center.

The restaurant’s interior is a hit’n miss.  A few pieces of furnitures were somewhat hispanic influences, but the ceiling lights are somewhat eclectic from various inspirations maybe it wasn’t meant to be there.  The rustic walls and floors were meant to be unfinished and artsy, but it was hard to pin-point whether this rustic looks really fit the theme of the restaurant.  Maybe this is just my personal opinion.

Sunrise Tacos offers a variety of commonly known Mexican cuisines such as taco, quesadilla, burrito, margarita and more.  Not included in the menu is an endless set of self-serving salsa (that you serve yourself).

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For starters, we had ordered the bottomless chips and salsa.  The chips were somewhat oily and had a fairly burned oil taste.  It did not compliment well with the delicious salsa.  Giving us tortilla chips would have been a better choice.   As for the main course, we had ordered three beef tacos, one beef burritos, one chicken quesadilla and their strawberry margaritas.  For an extra 50 cents, we received a small plate of sour cream.  It’d been better to include this in the set, instead of us asking for it.  The self serving salsa came handy, thus it was a great addition to our meal.  Only Corona beer is available.  Other mexican beers are not yet available.  The price was also a bit pricy for mexican foods, even if most of ingredients are to be imported.

Overall, we give this restaurant a 3 stars.   You should check this restaurant yourself and be the judge of it.

25 Monday Feb 2013

SITO – the newest speakeasy bar in Phnom Penh

Last weekend we stopped by the alley of Street 240 1/2 near the Royal Palace and discovered SITO, our favorite speakeasy bar. Now like the Artillery, this place was tugged away, off Street 240.   Finding this place, newcomers could easily walked pass-by in the alley. The door was so cleverly hidden that it blended so well with its surrounding.

Come to our surprise, the inside had one of the best designs for a bar in Phnom Penh.   The lightly dimmed room reminded us of the underground bars in Moscow.

SITO bar

SITO bar

As for the menu, there was no food nor appetizers yet, but the bartenders were so kind and offered to take orders from nearby restaurants and pubs.  They also mentioned that the new addition to the bar was being built and once completed, they will offer food next door.

The drinks were standard if compared with drinks from DOORS.  However the atmosphere was really something.  We definitely would come back to this place for another pre-gaming spot.

Location: No. 32EO, Street 240, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telephone: 077 555 447

 

18 Monday Feb 2013

Phnom Penh offers many connections to other SE Asian cities

Nowadays there are many budget airlines connecting Phnom Penh to many cities in Asia.   Living in Phnom Penh has its perk.   Traveling to Singapore is as easy as flying from LA to Las Vegas.   Airlines that operate from Phnom Penh to Singapore include Singapore Airline, operated by SilkAir.

Phnom Penh to Singapore: Silkair, Jetstar and Tiger Airways.
Phnom Penh to Bangkok: Thai Airline and Bangkok Air.
Phnom Penh to Hong Kong: Dragon Air
Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airline and Air Asia
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh: Korean Air and Asiana Airline
If you’re going to Singapore this Spring, Silkair offers the following promotions when traveling from 13 Feb 2013 to 10 Apr 2013 and booking between 10 Feb 2013 and 31 Mar 2013.

One-Way ticket: $154
Round Trip ticket: $248 (Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu) and $298 (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Terms:
+ prices include taxes and surcharges only, exclude ticketing fee.
+ Tickets are subject to availability.
+ Tickets are non-refundable.  Change of flight, date or passenger name is not permitted.

 

29 Tuesday Jan 2013

The Emperors of China restaurant brings the Hong Kong Cantonese specialities to Phnom Penh

The word Dim Sum is not well known to the locals, especially those living in the provinces.  However here in Phnom Penh city, there are a number of chinese restaurants that offers this breakfast specialities.  At the heart of the city and next to the Olympic Stadium sits the infamous Cantonese restaurant – The Emperors of China.

On the weekend, this restaurant is always busy.  Getting a table has became increasingly difficult due to its heightened popularity.  Their Dim Sum are as amazing as those of Yi Sang restaurant (of Almond Hotel).

For Dim Sum, here are our recommendations:  

  • shrimp dumpling,
  • steamed diced pork and shrimp dumpling,
  • steamed chickens’ feet with fresh chili,
  • steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce,
  • sweetened egg paste bun,
  • rice roll with bbq pork,
  • pan-fried radish pudding, and
  • deep-fried taro dumpling. 

Two weeks ago, we stopped by the Emperors of China and had dinner there.   Our recommendations are:

  • xiao long bao (it’s the best. very juicy and steamy),
  • marinated duck’s tongue,
  • Qing dynasty chicken,
  • peking duck with pancake,
  • braised bean curd, and
  • fried noodle.

For dinner, the Cantonese chef did a demonstration of noodle making.  Here’s an image I found on their website.

Emperors Noodle

No.19 St.163, Sangkat Veal Khan 7 Makhara,Phnom Penh, Cambodia
(Reservation) 023 637 6663
(Khmer) 078 774 334
(English) 012 780 667
(Chinese) 097 92 92 699
http://www.emperorschina.com/

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19 Saturday Jan 2013

Deco restaurant in BKK1

A great, some-what new, addition opens its door on the corner of Street 57 and Street 352 in BKK1.  If you’re driving along Street 57, you may not able to tell that this cute little colonial french, in black and white color, house is actually a restaurant born to be awesome.

It was a Saturday evening.  My mom and I were sitting on the rooftop of Eclipse Sky bar that I pulled up the Tripadvisor app for Phnom Penh.  A quick browse through the restaurant list, we’ve decided on Deco, that was listed in the top 3 restaurants in Phnom Penh, as our tonight’s choice to dine at.

As we entered the restaurant, the server seated us to one of the empty tables, not too far from the bar.  The lighting was slightly dimmed, giving the room’s atmosphere a warm and cozy feeling.  To our surprise, the menu wasn’t the traditional pamphlet or booklet but instead was a brown piece of paper laying on top of our table.

For our evening, we didn’t bother to order any alcoholic drink but instead made a few selections of their non-alcoholic concoction.  Our orders of a Jasmine Iced tea and a Raspberry fizz were splendid.  A tangy taste of club soda infused with a citric twist was a great combination for our meals to come.

The restaurant offered a few starter assortments– all sounded very scrumptious.  We placed the order for a Beetroot and Citrus Salad, Walnut Dressing; a Kampot Crab Cakes, Sherry Mayonnaise; and a Whisky Cured Salmon with Rye Bread, Honey Mustard & Dill.   My favorite was the crab cakes.

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For our main course we tried the 136 deg Poached Red Snapper, Potato Rosti, Spinach & Cream Sauce; a Duck Breast with Watermelon, Cashew Nut & Plum Sauce; and an Aussie Steak.   The duck breast was perfectly cooked, showing a slight hint of pink in the middle. The plum sauce was a bit sweet for me but the fresh carved watermelon was just the perfection palette combination as it was so refreshing.

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All in all I highly recommend Deco to everyone.  This restaurant definitely made a great impression and its ways onto my top list of restaurants of all time and not just the restaurant list from Phnom Penh.

Tel: 017577327
Address: the corner of Street 57 and Street 352
www.decophnompenh.com/

19 Monday Nov 2012

Cupcakes @ Bloom

The greatest cupcake shop in Phnom Penh is Bloom.  I recently discover this amazing cake shop when I had to organize a birthday party for a friend.

 

31 Friday Aug 2012

Cambodian BBQ

Summer weather is the perfect weather for spending some quality time at the pool and having BBQ.  For this blog, I will attempt to provide some insights on some popular locations where BBQ are served.

BBQ in Cambodia is a blend of various flavors and involves several cooking techniques. Since I am not a food expert, I won’t be able to describe in the extent that it deserves.  More importantly I only want to let our readers on the insider tips on where to find these street BBQ in Phnom Penh.

1. near WAT BOTUM pagoda

At dusk, there is a gathering of youngsters and adults flocking near the Vietnamese Friendship monument, across from Wat Botum pagoda.  Beside this gathering, small street vendors will set up their shops, serving our infamous BBQ.   Grilled beef on stick is the most popular among these street foods.  Typically the beef sticks are served with pickled cucumbers, green papaya and carrots.  Add a pinch of chilli paste into the pickles and the dish is ready to be eaten.
(see map below for WAT BOTUM street food vendors)

 

2. near Phsar Thmei (or Central Market)

Don’t make the mistake and go to the Central Market, but instead go to Pasteur Street, a few blocks East of Central Market.  Around dusk, you can find several street vendors holla back at customers as they pass by.  BBQ beef skewers and chicken wings are among the favorite grilled dishes here.   Often you will find sliced baguette bread toasted with butter and other sorts of grilled meat.
(see map below for location)

3. in front of the Royal Palace

This particular spot is not hard to miss.  In front of the Royal Palace, there is a small patch of green grass, or so called Mok Vaeng park.  Beside it, small street vendors are setup.  Here you will find grilled dried squid and beef.  Unlike beef skewer, the grilled dried squid and beef are compressed in a food-roller to a fine thickness prior to being grilled.  Once cooked, they are served with pickles cucumbers, papaya and carrots.  Sometimes you can find the grilled dried squid and beef on a rolling cart or wagon along the river front.
(see map below for location)

Beside these locations, BBQ are be easily found inside the local markets such as Phsar Thmei (Central Market), Toul Tompong (Russian Market), Oruessey Market, and the Night Market.

Some other BBQ that you can find in Cambodia are more of local delicacies.  During Chinese ceremonial days, you will find along Monivong Boulevard many glass wagons/carts selling roasted pork, chicken and duck. Similar to Peking duck, they are often confused.  These BBQ are not typically found at the household kitchen.

Roasted beef (or whole cow roasted on a pit) is often served at local Cambodian pubs and restaurants. Normally the restaurants will decorated with Angkor or beer lighting signs and roasted beef pit station in front.  It is easy to spot them from far away because of these bright lighting signs.

Whether it is street vendor BBQ or restaurant style BBQ, Cambodia has it all.  Grilled beef to honey roasted pork are favorites among the locals.

 

23 Thursday Aug 2012

Two Best Places to Go Shopping in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is filled with color and culture, and the best place to experience this charming city is at the traditional market, a shopping center stocked with memorable souvenirs for family, friends and co-workers. In my opinion, there are two traditional markets that are the best for these type of shopping.

Central Market

Psar Thmey
Phsar Thmey was built during the French colonial era in 1937.  The architecture has a strange shape with an impressive art deco structure that got a hint of Khmer lotus about it. In other words, it is an artistic collaboration between French and Cambodian styles. Continue reading