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.
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!
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. =)
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!
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.
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.
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.
I have been going going here since I was little - I have fond memories of fighting over the pork bone in their accompanying bowls of broth soup with my sister.
Ambiance: The decor is full of Cambodian/Vietnamese art, and has a definitely dated look. The same carpet, chairs, pink topped tables and even menus from when I was a kid. Also, the bar shelves full of liquor behind the service desk that I am sure have NEVER been even opened. If you've never lived near Chinatown, the location and entrance might seem a bit sketchy - for me though, I just shrug it off.
Service: Don't expect gushing service here. You order, and then get your food. The waitresses will be brusque, and there probably won't be smiles. Make sure you know what you want - the staff don't really know English, so having them explain the menu items to you will just be a hassle for all involved. Also, don't belly-ache about not having been 'checked up on' throughout your meal - Asian places almost NEVER do that. If you need something, flag down a server.
Value: I find it odd that their famous chicken wings are more than $12 - and are actually cheaper than their butter beef which is about $9. Anyways, some menu items are overpriced for what you get, like their curry with baguette. Most menu staples though, are quite reasonable and won't burn a hole in you pocket. The dry noodle dishes always include a bowl of broth soup, so these are the most bang for your buck items.
Food: Their menu is a hodge-podge of Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, French fusion and Chinese dishes. Famous items include their mixed dry noodles w/broth soup. It's egg noodles tossed with fresh herbs, soy sauce and other seasonings, fried garlic, ground and sliced pork, heart and liver, as well as exactly two prawns. Fresh and with a little of everything, you can get a big or small order. Their deep fried chicken wings are marinated in herbs, garlic and pepper, and comes crispy hot with a lime dipping sauce. Butter beef is thin slices of rare beef with loads of fresh herbs, fried garlic and a soy dressing. Very delicious! Their take on pho noodles has a very different tasting soup - its a lot lighter, with a more pronounced star anise and pepper flavor, and is a lot less savory. I don't recommend it, as it can be weak in terms of flavor. Their Vietnamese fare of spring and salad rolls, lemon grass chicken and curry isn't the best. Go with it if you aren't adventurous, but their more exotic fare is the way to go. Their pan fried frog legs, though, are disappointing. They have a variety of mixed drinks, like fruit slushes, grass jelly, lime soda and red bean ice. These aren't really worth their price, but are refreshing. I have to admit, I have never tried their desserts...
Their original owners have retired, and the quality of their food has become less consistent. Their broth soup no longer seems to be a slow simmered treat, but something made with instant broth granules. Their dry mixed noodles skimp on the ingredients, the butter beef no longer contains anchovy fillets, and the MSG seems to run high in their chicken wings. Even with these changes, I still find myself coming back. Maybe it's because I can still taste the echo of what their food used to be like, but Phnom Penh is still a restaurant staple for me.
We there on the weekend for lunch and after a 30-min wait, we were seated. That was great since the waiting area and restaurant was packed and there was nowhere to sit or stand. We were also getting a bit frustrated as two couples who entered after us were seated before us. I ordered the filet beef on rice with egg, and deep-fried chicken wings. After a short wait, our food was served but they didn't serve our table's order all at once. Since there were two of us that ordered the filet beef on rice, the other couple had to wait another few minutes for their food. I should say three of us had to wait because we had to send back a filet beef on rice since a small portion of it was undercooked. Anyway, the server didn't complain after noticing it and returned the plate to the kitchen. Well, my order turned out to be pretty tasty, maybe because I was getting hungry. When the deep fried-chicken wings were served, I had a few pieces of wings with and without the dipping sauce. It was good, but I got really thirsty after eating it. I'm not sure, but I suspect MSG. Oh yes, I should mention that a full order of their famous wings were $12. Overall, the meal was really mediocre, but I might return for some butter beef next time. As others have mentioned, service is ok as the servers are quite attentive and helpful. However, try not to use the washroom if you can avoid it. The hallway and stairs to the washroom doesn't look clean.
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...
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.
I love the chicken wings at Phnom Penh, everytime I go its almost a given that every table has a plate of their deep fried chicken wings with lemon and pepper sauce on the side, its soooooo good, the deep fried chicken wings with rock salt and pepper taste is truly amazing! I also like the salad rolls, and beef with vermicelli dish where you mix the carrots and cucumbers with everything and pour fish sauce on top. They make great iced coffee too. Every lunch and dinner is packed, theres a normally a 5-10 min wait, but so worth the wait!