First, it's not authentic Vietnamese/Cambodian. It's Chinese-run - not that this is necessarily bad - but the Vietnamese writing on the menu, and the Vietnamese/Cambodian decor in the restaurant, almost makes it feel like the people who run the restaurant are trying to fool the customers. So, if it's not authentic Vietnamese/Cambodian, what is it? It's stodgy Chinese-Canadian food, essentially - greasy and heavy - but with a Vietnamese twist. Greasy and heavy oyster omelet...maybe there was a total of 2 oysters in the whole thing, chopped up into little pieces, barely noticeable. For 15 bucks plus tax and tip...a rip-off. Pea tips were good, but overpriced. Veggie dumplings were greasy and heavy. Overall, really disappointing considering all the hype Phnom Penh has been getting over the years. People were lined up, and we had to wait 20 minutes for a seat. Of course, people line up for the crap at Timmy's too. Not that Phnom Penh serves crap...just a really disappointing experience, and almost 50 bucks for lunch for two, without drinks, and to leave dissatisfied...tsk,tsk.
Lining up for an hour for a meal was never an option for us as we lived in Vancouver all our lives. Booking a table for two isn’t possible at Phnom Penh so we reluctantly decided to stand in the waiting area, expecting a seating within 45 minutes. After exactly an hour and seven minutes (this was on a Friday night), we finally got our table! Since we had the menus beforehand, we hastily ordered as the tea was set down. Can we say that it was worth the wait? Here’s the review:
金邊酥炸蝦 Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wing - $7.95 (S)/$12.50 (L) (6/7)
This is one of the “must-order” dishes at Phnom Penh. The salty crisp skin is fried to perfection while the tender meat inside can be devoured in a single bite. On top of the dish is a combination of spices, green onions, and loads of MSG. Although we must say the wings were absolutely exquisite and addicting, we found that after eating 4-5 pieces, they were a bit too salty. Next time, ordering the half size instead of the full size would be sufficient.
牛片焗蒜油醋 Marinated Butter Beef - $12.85 (5/7)
Raw beef; thinly sliced, slightly seared, and covered in a tangy sauce making a worthwhile dish that melts in your mouth. This is the Vietnamese take on the classic “Beef Tataki” dish that is served at Japanese Izakaya restaurants. The portion they serve is absolutely gigantic! We honestly could barely finish the entire plate and at the end of it, we were just a bit sick of the raw beef. We will probably stick with beef tataki.
金邊乾撈粿條 Phnom Penh Rice Noodle (no broth) - $6 (4.5/7)
This is a classic Vietnamese dish which is comprised of meat, seafood, and dried noodles. Frankly, we’ve had better elsewhere. It’s not exactly a complex dish to make and the taste was only mediocre. Adding hot sauce to it definitely amplified the taste though!
In conclusion, we believe Phnom Penh is quite overhyped. Only the deep fried wings are worth the wait but if you really had a craving, just head down to Richmond and eat them at Wu Fung (Aberdeen food court). Phnom Penh also does take out so that’s an option as well!
Went here with the family for the first time. Try to come earlier but they were closed for renos. Finally I had the chance to try their famous butter beef and their fried chicken legs and wings. We also ordered the fried rice as well. The butter beef was tasty but the hype made me expect more from it. The fried chicken was delicious. Perfect amount of seasoning and crunchiness. The fried rice was well prepared. The price is a little pricey for what you get but I heard so many great reviews that I had to try it for myself. I am glad that I did, but I would not go out of my way for it as it is a pain to find parking in Chinatown. If I ever crave the fried chicken, I would definitely return, but I probably forgo the butter beef and try something else.
As a child my parents often brought me here and when that stopped, so did my visits, until recently when I decided to bring a a couple of friends here as it would be their first visit.
The wait for a table continues to be the usual 50 minute pain during peak times and once inside, the worn out furnishings are mostly a reminder of how popular this place has continued to be. It borders on being cramped yet it maintains a chaotic order of sorts.
No need to sift through the menu nor do I need to recite certain dishes - they really are the usuals that everyone gets. Now, the wings, specifically the skin which is blistered and crispy yet thin - is quite the guilty pleasure but the flesh comes overcooked, as did the fried calamari with the rubbery texture. The highlights instead became the simple beef luc lac rice with fried egg, the infamous butter beef and the fresh peashoot tips.
Service is efficient and tidy though waiting patiently is not the way to go about things.
Phnom Penh must be enjoyed on the whole. It's a combination of the food, the waiting and the ambiance that brings it all together.
Havent been to PP in a while and decided to to go today for a snack before the hockey game on tv. Ordered the chicken wings, butter beef salad rolls and steamed crepes. As usual everything was excellent ! Love the family service which is always top notch. Craving cambodian again, maybe I'll head back tomorrow !
Mrs. C and I were taking a few visiting relatives for a Vietnamese meal, and we picked this place based on the reviews on the DH site. We had an interesting experience.
The restaurant is in Chinatown, which is usually dead quiet after 6pm. This place was bustling though, and there were patrons spilling out onto the street. That looked like a good sign, so we asked for a big table and waited to be called. After a brief wait, we were in and seated. The restaurant looked clean enough considering the traffic going through, and the staff were all friendly and helpful despite their obvious stress. I never found the w/c, so I can't report on it.
We ordered several bowls of the house beef noodle soup. It was tasty and had beef balls and beef pieces, plus the usual noodles, and some crispy fried onion on top. The soup was good and the noodles were just right. The onions gave it a unique flavor. We also had the house specialty pan-fried squid in onion and pepper which was excellent, and some seafood noodles, which also were very good. I wanted to try their Chinese donuts, but they were out. Maybe next time.
All in all a very satisfying meal. If you don't mind the crowds it is a good choice.
Salad Roll: Really really really dry..it has to be one of the worse ones I've ever tasted. Utterly forgettable
Durian Shake: Highlight of my mean...made with real durian! DELICIOUS.
Service: Food was served in a quick and efficient manner..we had to ask for water twice, but overall, service was decent.
Value: Though not expensive, it was on the pricey side, considering that the location wasn't the best.
Ambiance: Old decor...not the nicest location in Vancouver
Will return ONLY for the durian shake!
Food: i had the beef stew in tomato sauce. large bowl and lots of beef. it was suppose to be kinda spicy but i didnt find it so. my b/f had the noodles w/ prawn balls. kind pricey but he did get quite a few lrg prawn balls. we both decided next time we'd try something diff't on the menu. we did have the chicken wings and both agreed they were yummy w/ or w/out the lemon sauce.
Service: nothing special. food comes out fairly quick and is fairly english friendly.
Ambiance: looks like they had done some renos since the last time i came which was yrs ago. looks much better! i like the subtle pictures on the walls and they had a nicely decorated tree by the front entrance...the little greenhouse area def cut off some of the cold draft that came in whenever the doors opened.
Overall: still worth giving another try...it's just an excuse to have the wings again!
Visited the Phnom recently and had the regular chicken wings, squid and dry noodles. As usual, very very good. Seems like every table orders these standards. Decided to try the Butter Beef that some tables were ordering. Is it me or is the beef been put in a microwave to cook it to rare/medium. The outside permiter seems to be cooked but the middle not cooked, typical for microwaved dishes.
Salad rolls were OK but I guess not their strong area. The chicken curry looks good and will try it next time.
Needed to find a good place to eat in Chinatown so decided to check out Phnom Penh after a long absence. Got there at 11:30AM to beat the rush. Easily got a table and service was quick. All the tables filled up fast. Ordered the usual staples (deep fried wings, Sweet & sour shrimp soup, beef on rice) and they were all good but nothing extraordinary or that I coudn't find elsewhere.
20 years ago when I first visited Phnom Penh, there weren't as many good restaurants in VanCity so they stood out as being cheap, really delicious and a bit gritty. Now their interior is cleaned up (nice but kinda boring) and their food is good but I can get wings like this at many places. It's not really their fault...it's just that everyone else has matched their level of special-ness.
Haven't been to this since the Broadway location closed a long, long time ago. Oh yes, this is quite possibly one of the crappiest locations in town.
Which makes it all the more surprisingly that inside is decently clean and organized and it was absolutely PACKED with customers!
Yes, I'm giving it a 4 star service rating. Not because it matches the finer places in town necessarily, but given how busy they were, the hostess & waitresses are REALLY on top of their game, they don't have the luxury to go at a leisurely pace yet they never miss a beat.
Now the food...vast, vast menu with Cambodian stuff and some Vietnamese stuff. Not sure how authentic the Cambodian is, but it sure is tasty! EVERY table ordered the deep fried chicken wings, they are not to be missed. They are possibly the best fried chicken wings in town. There's many other things on the menu including a lot of noodles & soups. Some are quite inexpensive (as in pho type pricing, packed with noodles), while some specialized dishes are more pricey. We're glad not to have experienced an extreme MSG thirst afterwards, so if they use it, they kept it light.
Yup, for something inexpensive and a good change of pace, should definitely hit this place. I'd be a bit wary about hitting this thing after dark, but that just adds to the excitement. Sure hope to be back...
After reading all the glowing reviews I expected too much and came away disappointed. 2 bowls of seafood egg noodle in soup and butter beef. While the presentation of the beef was great the taste wasn't. The noodles were okay but I prefer pho anytime over this. Went in at 1:30 pm and the place was packed. A great testament to the following of this restaurant. Service was good. The menu was way too large and was cumbersome also both menus at our table were greasy. Cambodian food is probably an acquired taste which I will never have.
The BEST Cambodian/Vietnamese place ever. Even though it's located in the slightly sketchy part of Chinatown, I've been coming here since I was a little girl. My cousins & I used to come here every other week for lunch/dinner and ordered pretty much the same must haves- Butter Beef, Chicken Wings, and spring rolls.
The butter beef is so tasty with a lime, soy and fish sauce, sprinkled w/ cilantro & fried shallots. You can't help but load equal amounts of everything together to get the full flavors in each bite. The chicken wings are covered w/garlic, salt/peppered and deep fried. The best is the lime pepper dipping sauce that comes with it.
Also try the dried noodle #2 & the spicy beef brisket noodle. Not much has changed in two decades at this place other than trying to fit more tables in the room by taking away the old dividers & updating the falling apart menu. =) Still a lengthy wait during the lunch rush, but it's expected. After the first bite of butter beef, I was in heaven. =)
Stopped in for a late weekend lunch, and it was still packed (line up at the door).
I wasn't crazy about being sharing a large table with other diners that I didn't know, but under the circumstances (busy), I did it all the same.
Ordered the beef noodle soup, the brochette and the fried chicken wings. The soup was very good, the brochette good, and the wings are outstanding. Best chicken wings I've had in a long time.
I'm sure I'll go back to sample some of the other noodle dishes.
A Saturday evening after 9.30PM for a tasty dinner with attentive servers who are often impatient to get off work and over to the night market.......the Phnom Penh was up to the task. The deep fried chicken wings with a mouth-watering lemon dipping sauce was the highlight, as identified by other reviewers. The butterfly prawns on a bed of rice/salad was unimaginative and sparse. The chicken in a delicate coconut sauce was much better. The restaurant itself was bright and comfortable and the servers both helful and friendly. Compared to the oversized Floata and other mediocre Chinatown restaurants this place was a hit.
make soup great. Tell me how to
say the name again.
White man sits with large
chinese fam. Chitter, chatter.
Man stares at the wall.
Dip, crunch - tasty wings
No debit, can I make it
to bank, not get mugged?
(These are harder than they look)
This restaurant is known for it's Butter Beef and it is very tasty. I've tried their noodles as well and it is consistent with other restaurants as well. The service is solid and I would frequent this restaurant again.
I'm not certain if the owners have changed although my visits have been infrequent I remember eating here over twenty years ago. The value is consistent and the ambience is average. I agree with a previous review that the decor/interior is somewhat odd. However, the food is decent.
Went to this restaurant tonight for my brother's birthday. There were 7 adults and 3 kids and we reserved a table, which was a good idea because after 6:30 pm, there is a line up for a table.
I have to say that after reading the mostly positive reviews on DH, I was pretty psyched to try this restaurant, especially the butter beef and chicken wings. We ordered several dishes and shared them between the adults.
The food came out very quickly and service was pretty good. The butter beef was okay, not sure why they called it butter, as there wasn't any butter to be seen in the dish. Maybe because the meat was as tender as butter. ;-) It came with tons of cilantro and fried garlic and a slightly sweet soya sauce. The chicken wings were good, not great. Crispy, but too salty and I felt very thirsty after eating them.
Had the lemon grass chicken with shredded pork on rice...quite good and a few bowls of beef brisket with noodle soup...that was excellent actually. There were a few other dishes that I can't seem to remember, but they didn't knock my socks off.
The bill came to $95 with tax + tip for 7 adults and 3 kids. Not bad considering another b-day dinner for my other brother at the Keg in Burnaby came out to over twice as much. I did go away kinda hungry afterwards, as did my wife. She thought the food was pretty good, but just not enough of it.
Like the title says, okay food, but definitely overrated IMHO. Probably wouldn't go back.
This place is a true diamond in the rough. Once you try the food you will be hooked. I always go there when in the area to get a delicious bowl of soup noodles (the Beef Balls with soup noodle are awesome)
I also really enjoy their Steamed Rolls and Springs rolls which definetely make the trip to this side of town worthwide. I reccomend this place to everyone i know and I wish they would open another location in Richmond.
But it’s good grease!
Back again to an old haunt for Cambodian/Vietnamese food. We ordered the Beef Meat Ball Noodle soup, BBQ Lemon Grass Pork Chops on rice and the Phnom Penh Deep Fried Chicken Wings. Those are our safe bets and can’t go astray with delicious favorites like these! The beef noodle soup was more than adequate. The pork chops marinated in lemon grass was grilled to perfection and the spicy garlic wings are to be savored.
We finished our meal with some soda and iced Vietnamese coffee and our bill for two with tip and taxes was bargain priced at 34.00 dollars. The service was prompt and the waitresses flashing smiles were genuine “happy” for our return visit!
I’ve tried many other dishes from their menu and would recommend them without hesitation. I’m reluctant to give this away but this is one of my “Exotic Secret” spots.