I love Khmer food but I must admit I’m nowhere near good when it comes to cooking it. I’m always pressed for time and one characteristic of Khmer cuisine is the freshness of ingredients (and I don’t have time to go to the market daily..) and lots of spices that needs to be chopped/grated/minced etc.
So when I crave Khmer food, I either resort to the cooking of my nice mother-in-law who spoils us several times a week with her always delicious Khmer cooking. But I’m not that thick-skinned to eat at my in-laws house 😀 everytime though I know they would welcome it. So we usually head out and try out different Khmer restaurants around Phnom Penh.
One of our favorite Khmer Restaurants is Boat Noodles Phnom Penh. This homey restaurant is located in St. 294. It’s menu features a lot of Khmer and Thai favorites. It’s hard to miss this place if you’re looking for it. The facade is full of potted plants, statuettes with a lot of cars and motos parked especially during lunch and dinner hours. It’s popular among locals, expats and tourists alike.
Why we love it? The menu is extensive, delicious and affordable. Mains usually goes for $2-3. A family meal for 3 would not go beyond $15. Another reason is the ambiance. It has the look and feel of a traditional Khmer house, wooden decor, Khmer silk, surrounded by lush plants and fishes swimming in small ponds. Their staff too is an asset, speaks English well and you can easily request to tone down the spiciness of some of the dishes.
Khmer style beef noodles
And the last reason we like eating in Boat Noodles Restaurant – their fried ice cream. Chewy crust filled with ice cream deep fried and drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with cream and cherries. For some reason, Chinkee just loves it.
My favorites – spicy Khmer salad with beef and basil, green papaya salad and Cambodian fresh spring rolls. Hubby loves the tom yum soup best. If you’re visiting Phnom Penh and looking for affordable and authentic Khmer cuisine plus good ambiance, Boat Noodle Restaurant is worth the visit.