Divine dumplings and more
The name is pretty descriptive, and accurate, but doesn’t come close to conveying just how good this place is. Mama Wong’s Dumpling Noodle House sits near the end of the row of lively bars and restaurants that make up trendy Bassac Lane, and from this vantage point serves up a richly flavoured, beautifully prepared array of dumplings, cooked any way you like them, soups, noodles and small bites, all perfect to share or devour on your own.
At $4.50 for eight, the dumplings are pricier than elsewhere — for example Chinese Noodle Restaurant, where you can pick up a plate of 12 for $1.50 — but, and it’s a big but, God they’re good. These small parcels are beautifully rich, and so full of flavour, you’ll be going back for more. And more. It becomes compulsive after a while, but we can live with that. You can choose from simple flavours like pork and cabbage or prawn and chive, or something meatier like lamb with coriander and cumin or, our favourite, miso beef with shiso dressing. They prepare them steamed, in broth, or as pot stickers, however you prefer.
If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, there are bowls of noodle soup, flanked by glistening slices of pork belly, or plates of stirred noodles, all also for $4.50.
Then things start to get really lively.
A selection of fusion tapas includes the best sweet & sour pork ribs ($5) we’ve tasted in a long time. Bursting with rich, sweet flavours and melting off the bone, these may be sharable in theory, in practice we’d say not so much. Actually, we could make a roll call of all of the stars that appear on the rest of the menu, but you’re going to have to go and check it out as we’d be here all day and we don’t have that kind of time.
The setting is multi-facted, though the service is not. We found the staff to be uniformly friendly, helpful and efficient. It would be hard to ask for more.
Meanwhile, you choose your environment. There’s streetside seating on long tables, all the better to get chatting to the world if you’re not watching it. Inside there are high tables and stools, which provide another great vantage point, and also a slightly clubby feel. Further in, a square bar space with adorned red walls, red Chinese lanterns and a low ceiling has an intimate, romantic, almost decadent feel. Upstairs is another kettle of noodles. At the front overlooking the street is a contemporary space with comfortable tables while the back has more of a club lounge feel. It’s the design equivalent of a mood stone.
Address: 41 Street 308, Phnom Penh
T: (097) 850 8383
Coordinates (for GPS): 104º55'47.64" E, 11º33'10.78" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
Our top 10 places to eat and drink around Phnom Penh