Phnomenal Food

I expected Phenom Penh to be a cross between a small Indian city and rough Ulannbataar, instead of a French colonial city with France’s refine tasted and inexpensive wine. Three restaurants we sampled provided some world class food for shoestring budgets.

On New Years Eve, after walking the riverfront reviewing menus of the many tourist-friendly restaurants, we selected the Dutch-owned Frizz for it’s authentic Khmer specialties and lengthy wine list. It was one of the best meals we have ever eaten. The beef with smoked eggplant was truly unique, with a subtle mix of tangy sauce and earthy spices. Amok, our second dish, is a common Cambodian dish of curried fish wrapped in a banana leaf and Frizz does an exceptionally good job in presentation and flavor. The hot evening called for a bottle of house white in an ice bucket to bring our bill to nearly $20 USD.


CIMG3304.JPGAcross the street from the notorious Tuol Sleng genocide museum is the Boddhi Tree, a restaurant which deserves fame in its own right. Jan and I ordered triple-decker sandwiches with goat cheese, grilled eggplant and other vegetables. After craving goat cheese for months, it was a euphoric treat.




CIMG3320.JPGOn our last day, we visited Friends Restaurant which trains street kids for opportunities in the restaurant industry. A small army of students and a few teachers, all of whom seemed to be in their late teens or early twenties, runs a slick operation with attentive servers, a creative menu and tasteful décor.

We selected dishes from the tapas menu, crustini smoked eggplant dip, marinated fish and cucumber salad, crispy shrimp wontons and cashew chicken with mango. Our drinks, green peppercorn strawberry margarita and chili pineapple margarita, complimented the tequila with sweetness and a little heat to create exceptionally creative and tasty margaritas.

CIMG3326.JPGStill eager to explore the menu, Jan finished off with splendid caramelized pineapple and ice cream, and I tried the lemon and blueberry cake. Again, we kept the meal under $20 USD.


CIMG3261.JPGLonely Planet also directed us to a supermarket where we took advantage of the colonial legacy to self-cater a meal to remind us of France. Few pleasures beat brie, a good baguette and a bottle of wine sitting on a patio on a beautiful day. We already feel Phenom Penh’s epicurean luxuries pulling us back.

One Response to “Phnomenal Food”

  1. Deirdre Says:

    Hope you’ve been able to find a piece of birthday cake to celebrate Jan’s big day! Belated Happy Birthday Jan!! We miss you but you’d better not be missing us 😉 Enjoy your blog immensely – looks to me like you’ve officially entered paradise. Stay safe and enjoy the sun. Calgary is bracing for a cold snap and it is now overcast, windy and grey – brrrrr. Take care, love Dee