Phnom Penh??? Hasn't this joint been blogged about by a gazillion people??? Well not that many, but you get the idea. No, Phnom Penh is not exactly a hidden gem anymore. Go back 15 years and include their long gone Broadway location, it was a somewhat hidden gem then. I remember Rich Guy and I would go there all the time for their Luc Lac Beef and Chicken Wings. Heck, we still do that. Things just don't change, except for our age. Yikes! Well, seeing how I haven't blogged about the place in nearly 5 years, we decided to hit up the place after Monday night softball.
Okay, let's cut to the chase. We were here mainly for their famous Fried Chicken Wings. These crispy pieces of joy were wok tossed with onions, garlic, chilies, pepper, MSG and salt. Served on the side was the necessary and highly effective lemon white pepper dip. Another one of their most popular dishes is the Butter Beef. Now personally, I find it not bad, but not exactly outstanding either. The reason for this is the beef itself. I find it overly chewy for a nearly rare application. However, the seasoning rocked in my opinion. It was a good combination of salty, sweet, tart and herbal (from the cilantro). On the other hand, I found that there was just a touch too much of it on the plate, but I can see cilantro lovers disagreeing with me.
We had another classic item being the Dry Noodles. It consisted of flat egg noodles with shrimp, ground pork, pork slices, liver, dried shrimp, fried onions, cilantro and green onions bathed in a sweet and salty soy concoction. Mixed together, all the different textures and flavours created a symphony in my mouth. Yes, other places offer the same dish, but Phnom Penh does it best. Going off the board, we decided to give the Fried Rice Cake (Bot Chien) a try. This was a simple stir-fry of fried rice cake cubes, egg and green onion. Naturally, the rice cake cubes were dense, but they had a pleasant chew. The side of sweet chili soy added the necessary flavour as the dish itself was quite mild.
Back to the the classics, we had the Oyster Pancake. It had a nice exterior crispiness which gave way to a starchy "oystery" (I realize that is not a word...) interior. This was a good dish, but paled in comparison to one of their most popular items (chicken wings withstanding) being the Luc Lac Beef (or Filet of Beef with fried egg). Just something about the way they prepare it, it just works. From the tender slices of beef to the rich, flavourful sauce, I could eat this over and over again (wait, I do!). And really, we were happy to do a return visit. Sure, some people may not get why this is one of the most popular restaurants in Vancouver. But we do.
- Chicken wings!
- Relatively inexpensive considering everything
- Lots of choice
- Service is okay, but not stellar either
- Pick the favourites, other dishes are pretty average
- Super busy