Here's another C(leaning) O(ou the) M(emory) C(ard) post from our trip to Cambodia.
It was quite unfortunate that by the time we hit Phnom Penh, both the Missus and I were kinda bushed. On our first night we were looking for something close to the hotel. As we turned the corner on Street 136, we came across a whole street of Chinese shops and restaurants. It appears that this street is sort of a "Little Chinatown", with a grocer, and several restaurants. After walking down the street, and past the guys making lā miàn (hand pulled noodles)....
We chose the Sichuan Restaurant on the row, which sounds strange because of the soaring temperatures (we visited Cambodia during April, the hottest month of the year), but we liked the look of the restaurant. Plus, when the Missus spoke to the Gentleman running the front of house, his accent was undoubtably Sichuan.
The restaurant was clean, and the menu fairly extensive.....and with a real "Cambodian" feel. There was quite a bit of seafood on the menu.
I nspite of the heat, we found that we were ravenous and ordered a bunch of food, which finished in its entirety. The Missus consulted with the owner of the restaurant on a couple of dishes.
We started with Ma Po Dofu:
This was more of a "brown sauce" Mapo Tofu and was very mild. Very un-Sichuan like.
When in Vietnam and Cambodia, we got into the habit of ordering whatever the fresh vegetable of the day was, as it was always pretty good.
And this was no exception, as it was done simply, and cooked perfectly.
We also decided on trying the Water Boiled Beef, a classic Sichuan dish.
Again, this lacked heat, but came with a good amount of numbing Sichuan Peppercorns.
The owner of the restaurant highly recommended the live "Mekong Riverfish", so we ordered it.
The Missus calls this, "the best fresh water fish ever...." It was simply prepared, steamed, with soy sauce, ginger, scallion, and sizzled with oil, but man this fish was good! The flesh was delicate, moist, light, flakey, with a hint of sweetness. I'm not a big fan of freshwater fish, but this changed my opinion forever.
So what kind of fish was this?
You got me...the Missus asked the owner who said that he doesn't know the Cambodian name for it, and they don't have this in Sichuan, but said they call it something like "Elephant fish" in Mandarin. So maybe one of you will know the English name of this.....
Regardless, that fish was great! And paid the "exhorbitant" price of a whole $12/US for this meal. That's the price of one dish (or less) in San Diego.
111 Street 136
The next day, we were after some lunch before our drive to the airport. We had just taken a walk through Psar Thmei (the Central Market), and headed back to the hotel, when we noticed that this restaurant:
Had just gotten their delivery of live "Mekong riverfish":
We instantly stopped, and knew what was for lunch!
The interior of this restaurant could have passed as a sibling of the Sichuan restaurant in layout.
Again, the first thing delivered to our table was again what appears to be the standard condiment, the raw garlic and chopped red chilies.
Along with a plate of peanuts....which turned out to be not such a great idea for the Missus's stomach.
And of course we had the vegetaable of the day:
And since this was a Hangzhou restaurant, of course the Young Lady running the place told us to get one of the fish "Red Cooked". In this case the fish was deep fried, than quickly braised with a pseudo-red cooked sauce.
This was a bit of overkill. The sauce overpowered the delicate flavor of the fish.
We ordered the other fish done simply with a ginger-scallion preparation, like we had eaten the night before.
Again the fish had a wonderful texture and flavor. In this case however, it was not prepared with quite the same amount of finesse as the fish we had the previous night. There were a few sections of the fish that were still raw.
Still, for ten bucks, this wasn't bad at all. And we got to bid the other fish farewell before we left the restaurant, and made our way to the airport.
Hang Zhou Restaurant
81 Street 136
There's a part of me that wished that I gotten some Cambodian food for lunch....but there's another bigger part of me that is so happy I got to sample this fish...whatever it is.