Friday, 28 September 2012

Phnom Penh

Like many people out there, I thoroughly enjoy Fridays.  Don't get me wrong, I like my job, but waking up and knowing that at 5:00 pm today you have three nights and two full days to do whatever the heck you want is awesome!  Every once in a while, I'm very lucky and my Friday gets that extra bit spectacular.  This normally happens when one of my colleagues stops by my door and says "Phnom Penh?"  I'm not going to lie, after they leave to tally up the numbers for the reservation, I often do a happy food dance.

Phnom Penh is a Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown and eating there absolutely makes my day.  When we go as an office, there's normally 6-10 of us, so we pile into a couple of cars, make an outing of it, and eat family style.  It's fabulous!  Every once in a while we stray and try a new dish but, in general, we stick to the same order because it's just so darn good why would you ever want to switch it up?

What do we order you ask?  Beef salad rolls, hot and sour soup (with chicken or prawns), chicken wings, beef luc lac with rice and egg, trieu chau fried rice, and pea tips.  If there's six of us, we order three beef salad rolls (each roll is cut in half), a small soup, a large chicken wings and one of each of the other dishes.  If there's ten of us, like there was this time, we order five beef salad rolls, a large soup, two large chicken wings, two of each of the rices and the pea tips.  If one of the "closers" (myself or one of my colleagues) is missing, we have to adjust our proportions accordingly.

This is such a delicious meal that I can't even begin to describe it or pick favourites.  I truly feel you need to experience it to fully understand.  However, I'm more than happy to share some tricks of the trade:
  • I love having a bowl of soup and then sopping up all the leftover soup in the bowl with some of the trieu chau fried rice.  The flavours meld really well together. 
  • The chicken wings are hands down the best wings I've ever had.  Don't be afraid of the sauce that comes with cuts the slight greasiness spectacularly and makes the rest of the flavours in the chicken pop. 
  • As for the beef luc lac with egg, make sure you break the egg up and mix it up with the rice and beef before dishing it up.  Also, the orange sauce that comes to the table for the beef salad rolls is also really nice on the beef luc lac with egg. 
  • The pea tips are in a light almost brothy garlic sauce that is out of this world.  I like to fill my bowl with one of the rices and then place the pea tips on top.  Some of the garlicy sauce drips into the top layer of rice and gives you a bit more of a garlicky rice.
  • Some of my fellow regular Phnom Penhers love the soup that comes along with the Beef Luc Lac with egg.  In my opinion there are far more yummy things on the table.  Don't waste precious stomach space on this!
As for things to note:
  1. Reservations are accepted for 6 or more people.  If you have 6 or more people, make a reservation (604-682-5777).
  2. If you do not have 6 or more people, try to go at non-peak lunch or dinner hours, or expect to wait upwards of 30 minutes for a table.  It's definitely worth the wait.
I hope you give serious consideration to eating here and enjoy it.  This is one of my all-time favourite meals in Vancouver.

View from our table.

Beef salad rolls.

Hot and sour soup with chicken.

The best chicken wings EVER!!!
Beef Luc Lac with egg.

 The soup that comes with the Beef Luc Lac with egg.
Trieu Chau fried rice.

Pea tips.

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