Nov 01 2011
Despite Cambodia’s proximity to Vietnam, it can be harder than you think to find delicious Vietnamese food in Phnom Penh.
But never fear, it is out there! Many Cambodian snack foods are very similar to Vietnamese dishes, and you can find stands selling banh chao, the Cambodian version of bánh xèo, large fried pancakes filled with meat and vegetables all over the city (and at Russian Market). Banh hoi is a delicious dish served with fried spring rolls, and is often referred to as “Vietnamese noodles”. But if it’s restaurants you are looking for, here are a few of my favourites:
Probably the best Vietnamese food in town as voted by myself and Nyam Penh (who have dubbed the place “Loud Vietnamese”), my favourite dish is their bò nhúng dấm, beef cooked in vinegar. No way around it, I could eat this every day. This restaurant is actually two restaurants, one outdoors and upstairs and one inside and downstairs. Some say there’s no difference between the two, but I have a niggling feeling that the downstairs one is actually superior, although with less of a party atmosphere.
310 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 213 141
Run by a French-Vietnamese man, Maxim Saigon is my new favourite in town, after recently testing out their version of bún chả giò, a dish of rice vermicelli noodles served at room temperature over a bowl of greens, cucumbers and herbs with nuoc cham sauce. This is the food that makes my life worth living, and Maxim Saigon’s version is pretty good and only costs $3.50.
4 Street 130, Phnom Penh.
T: (012) 868 531
Magnolia is still Phnom Penh’s standby when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. It’s big, they’ve got a huge menu and many of my friends say it’s the best Vietnamese in town. I’ve been there a few times and thought the food was pretty good, but not amazing. The outdoor seating is pleasant though, and if you’re looking for a date location Magnolia has more ambiance than my other suggestions.
55 Street 51, Phnom Penh
Tel: (016) 944 493
Another restaurant run by French-Vietnamese, An Nam is delicious but a little bit pricey, with the bún chả coming in at a hefty $7. It’s not what you’d get in Vietnam, but the portions are hearty, the food is carefully prepared and pretty tasty.
118 Sothearos, Phnom Penh.
T: (023) 212 460
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