Cambodian food in New York and in the seat pocket beneath your tray table.

Village Voice have just reviewed Kampuchea Noodle Bar, currently New York’s sole Cambodian restaurant. Their initial thoughts on the subtleties of the 17 dollar bowl of khtieav with filet mignon:’s a bit dull, partly due to the prim slices of filet flung into its depths. Use fatty stew beef, dude, and cook the fuck out of it!

They also serve up a disturbing reminder at how bad a foreign take on fish amok can really be:

For years the city’s only Cambodian restaurant was Fort Greene’s South East Asian Cuisine, offering lots of Thai and Chinese dishes, but only a handful of uniquely Cambodian ones, including the amazing amok (a gingery mousse of pureed chicken)

A recent New York Times article suggests that Fort Greene’s Cambodian Cuisine will reopen in Manhattan (1664 Third Avenue (93rd Street)) in about a month for all the pureed chicken mousse you can pour into your gaping maw. Perhaps they’ll also have Cambodian cuisine for you to try.

In other unrelated news, Bangkok Airway’s inflight magazine Fah Thai gives a top ten list of fancy restaurants in Cambodia and they’ve done well to highlight my favourite Sicilian in Phnom Penh, Luigi from Le Duo.

Cheers to John, Austin for the tip off.

See also: Cambodian food on the LES

3 thoughts on “Cambodian food in New York and in the seat pocket beneath your tray table.”

  1. If anything, I think that Village Voice points to the bigger problem that when people review Cambodian food, they’ve never actually eaten it before. It is pretty easy for people to say it is the best/worst Cambodian fare in town when there is literally nothing else to compare it with. I tend to believe this is why reviewers tend to fall back onto the “it’s like Thai food but…” explanation rather than reviewing the food on its own merits.

    The other reason for the Thai food comparison is that Khmer chefs tend to cook “all kinds of” food, possibly as an attempt to mimic the success of any restaurant in town. Regularly in Cambodia I’ll face up to a menu with 200 choices on it, probably three quarters of which will be loosely Chinese, “Western” or Thai. A lot of that is like Thai food because it is an attempt at Thai food.

    Local eaters here tend not to look at the menu. They’ll just order Cambodian things that they love, which leaves the novice (or non-Khmer speaker) in the awful position of trying to pick the good stuff from the badly worded novella-sized menu, most of which is made up of pale imitations of non-local food.

  2. True true, but also I think a journalist should do a bit of research. You can at least find some decent written descriptions on Khmer food. And clearly I just don’t like the VV. By the way, regarding your junk food descriptions above, I once purchased a Dunkin Donuts donut hole look alike, and it was simply deep fried lard and mung beans. So so bad. But of course I bought it again a few weeks later, thinking it would have miraculously transformed into a delicious treat. It didn’t.

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