Dining at Phnom Penh Noodle feels like sitting down for a meal at good friend’s home. It might have something to do with the converted house the restaurant is located in, but mostly it’s the warm service and soulful cooking that put The Astronomer and me completely at ease.
The Tan family has been dishing up Cambodian-style noodles, porridge, and fried breads in this quiet building on Long Beach’s Cherry Avenue since 1985. These days, the restaurant is mostly run by the proprietors’ cheery brood, a passionate bunch poised to take over the day-to-day operations in the coming years.
The Phnom Penh noodles are a must-order for first-timers and regulars alike. Each bowl is layered with springy rice noodles, tail-on shrimp, porky odds and ends, fried garlic, and fresh cilantro, and can be served ladled with scalding hot soup or “dry” with a bowl of broth on the side.
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Khmer cuisine hasn’t quite hit the mainstream like the food of its Southeast Asian neighbors, namely Thailand and Vietnam, but here in the heart of Long Beach’s Cambodia Town, the country’s robust cooking is celebrated on every corner. Siem Reap, a grandiose restaurant decked out with a full bar and dance floor, composes classic Khmer dishes that display as much flare as the ambiance.
While the menu lists dozens of Thai and Chinese-American dishes, it’s Chef Huey Be’s Cambodian specialties that are really something special. The walls and windows both outside and inside the restaurant are covered with blown up images of Khmer classics to guide those new to the cuisine.
Our waitress was sweet enough to walk me through the specialties, literally, and from those I selected three dishes that sounded delightful.
As we waited for the food to be prepared, The Astronomer and I snacked on complimentary sweetly pickled cabbage and carrots served with a side of salty peanuts.
Continue reading ‘Siem Reap – Los Angeles (Long Beach)’