Divine dumplings, niiiice noodles
The surroundings might not be salubrious, but Chinese Noodle Restaurant dishes up delicious hand-pulled noodles and housemade dumplings, and prices are about as cheap as you’ll find anywhere in town.
The joint is popular with just about everyone — a typical mealtime sees mostly locals tucking in for specialties from the no-fuss menu, along with a sprinkling of travellers and expats — and there’s no standing on ceremony at the stainless steel tables set under fluorescent lights inside, where strangers may slide up a chair to join you when it gets busy. If you’re early enough you might see them making the noodles out front — there’s simply no competition between dried versions you might find an non-specialty restaurants and the real deal, freshly made deal.
Along with the noodles, the other house specialty is the divine pork and chive dumplings, either boiled or fried, which go for the bargain price of 12 for $1.50 (you can also grab them frozen to take away). Twelve might sound like a lot, but speaking from experience, yes, you can do it!
A standard noodle soup is just $2, or $2.30 for a large serving — choose from beef, duck, intestine, pork, seafood, pickle or mushroom, with various condiments including a no-holds-barred chilli sauce, on the side. We tried the beef on our last visit, and there was plenty of meat, a touch of offal and some greens plus a mound of mouth-puckeringly good pickled veggies as well. Other dishes, such as fried noodles, stewed duck rice or green beans with mushroom, are mostly $2.50 to $3. Bottle or draught beer is $2/$2.50.
While this spot is a touch away from the tourist centre, it’s worth the diversion — perhaps stop here after seeing Tuol Sleng, Olympic Stadium or the Russian Market. Be wary of imitators — “Noodles Dumplings Chinese Food” has sprung up next door, probably to cash in on the original’s popularity.
Samantha Brown is a reformed news reporter. She now edits most of the stuff you read on Travelfish.org, except for when you find a typo, and then that's something she wasn't allowed to look at.
Our top 10 places to eat and drink around Phnom Penh