Phnom Penh has been on my list of places to check out for the longest time but I never went due to my aversion to waiting in lines. Every time I walk by Phnom Penh, even if it’s at 2 in the afternoon, there is a crowd of people waiting outside! Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and went with Louis for a weekday lunch. We went at around 12:30PM and even though there was a crowd of people as usual, we left our name with a server and due to several no shows who had also left their name, we were seated after a brief-ish 15 minute wait.
Louis is always a great eating out buddy because our tastes are fairly similar and he likes to share several different dishes. I’m always for variety so this works out perfectly for me. Since it was a cold day outside, we decided to start with a bowl the Phnom Penh noodle soup, which was basically equivalent to the “Dac Biet” at Vietnamese pho restaurants. The broth was very flavourful and did not seem to have too much MSG in it. There was a good amount of various meats but other than that, these noodles seemed fairly standard.
Next, Louis and I had one of Phnom Penh’s specialties, the butter beef. Thin slices of raw beef were lightly seared on the edges and marinated in a soy vinaigrette-like sauce and topped with a lot of cilantro. There was quite a lot of beef and with the delicious sauce, this dish went very well with the bowl of white rice we ordered.
Finally, we finished our feast off with a half order of one of Phnom Penh’s most popular dishes, the deep fried chicken wings. The wings looked so good that in our haste to dig in, I forgot to take a picture until half the wings were gone. The wings were lightly coated in what I think was a corn starch batter, so they were super crispy without being too heavy. The wings were then tossed in a salty jalepeno coating. Both Louis and I agreed that these were one of the best wings we’ve ever tasted, just the perfect combination of crunchy outside with a juicy interior and a spicy salty coating.
For the wings alone, I highly recommend Phnom Penh even though they have such large crowds. Throw in the butter beef and I think you have a must-visit. I understand now why there are such long line-ups and I will definitely take Jenkins here sometime…hopefully soon!
244 East Georgia Street, Vancouver