Phnom Penh: Deep Fried Frog Legs are Awesome

I’m not sure where you’ve been if you’ve never heard of Phnom Penh and their famous buttery garlic chicken wings! It’s always on the list of most talked about restaurants on Urbanspoon. My friends and I went after our rock climbing session at the Cliffhanger which was really cool by the way. It was my first time and I felt accomplished after. ^__^ Not that I was scaling really difficult walls though but it did get a bit scary when I was stuck in the middle!

We went to Phnom Penh at 5:30pm and we were told that there was going to be a 45 min wait. Located at 244 E. Georgia, it’s pretty much right in the middle of Chinatown. It also seems to be operated by Chinese people but that’s not a problem to me. Coincidentally it was also a Saturday night so the Chinatown night market was just getting ready to open up. It feels superbly tiny compared to the ones in Richmond. They also had a couple of food trucks there too. Otherwise it was severely lacking in merchandise and of course FOOD.

Before I get on with the food part of this post, I just have to mention that Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie had this adorable Chinese style street food patio area!

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Patio

Anyway, the hostess was right about the wait time being 45 mins. We were seated in exactly 45 mins! We noticed that the table next to us had some good eats and we asked them what it was. Turns out it was deep fried frog legs! They did look really tasty but we felt kind of iffy since it seemed so exotic to us but we couldn’t pass it up and ended up ordering it. =D

Phnom PenhThese were awesome! I’ve never tried frog legs before and the texture was similar to a cross between chicken and fish and it was much more tender than chicken. The crispy texture of the salty and peppery batter made these super addictive and the lime and salt dip accentuated the flavours more. I think they could have used more chillies though. The frog legs were also served with some crunchy shrimp crackers as well. You gotta try this!!! Just pretend it’s something else if you’re scared of weird animal parts. ;)

Phnom PenhThe other must try dish from Phnom Penh, according to food reviews is their Marinated Butter Beef. The lightly seared beef was doused in a sweet and tangy dressing similar to balsamic vinegar I think. There was also a pile of cilantro and garlic chips on top. I found that there was too much cilantro but it did make the presentation a lot nicer than just having a pile of beef on a plate.  The beef was a bit chewy but fairly soft and I loved the dressing for this since I love sour things like salad dressing.

Phnom PenhI also read a review for this and it seemed like a lot of people ordered it. This is the Beef Luc Lac on Rice with Egg. It was a accompanied by a bit of salad. I found the beef to be chewy as well and I wasn’t that fond of the sauce but it was alright. I also expected the egg to be more on the poached side. I didn’t find it that good so I probably won’t order it again.

Phnom PenhNext we had the Oyster Pancake. It was larger than I expected and the sides of the pancake flowed over the sides of the plate. Or they gave us a smaller plate to make the pancake look bigger! :O The crispy exterior was a nice contrast to the soft interior which contained a lot of large oyster pieces. The oysters were mostly in the middle so the crispy sides were essentially just batter. I didn’t really think the cilantro was necessary for this dish though and I was getting sick of it after eating a lot of it from the butter beef. But anyway this was delicious as well (anything fried is)!

Phnom PenhFinally we have their famous Buttery Garlic Chicken Wings! These are extremely similar to the deep fried frog legs and they essentially tasted the same except for the texture of the meat. At first we weren’t sure if we should have deep fried chicken wings and frog legs but we decided to do it anyway. YOLO! They were salty and peppery and the meat was still moist enough. These were really good too but compared to the frog legs I think I liked the frog legs better. It might be due to the novelty of frog legs and the texture was softer too making it easier to eat than chicken wings. Nonetheless, these were quite addictive too and they were served with the same lime and salt dip.

I highly recommend a visit for the frog legs! Except be prepared for the 45 min + wait depending on what time you go but they do take reservations. They need another location! Also next time I probably shouldn’t order so many deep fried dishes…

Phnom Penh 金邊小館 on Urbanspoon

Pho Xe Lua 24 Noodle House

My parents and I wanted to go to Cafe Gloucester for dinner and we didn’t have any other good ideas but when we got there around 7pm we noticed it was kinda empty. On the way there we walked by a Vietnamese restaurant next door actually so we decided to go there instead. Yay random food adventure! Pho Xe Lua 24 is located on Cambie and 18th. It might be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it but they do have a small sign on the sidewalk. Unlike other pho restaurants I’ve been to this one was decorated in a more modern and upscale way and we suspected the decor was left over from a previous restaurant.

pho xe lua 24

pho xe lua 24 menu

pho xe lua 24 menu

I took some quick snapshots of the menu. They had the usual pho offerings along with banh mi.

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This was my mom’s dish. She always gets noodles with soup so it was refreshing to see her try something new. I believe this was #46 which was grilled beef, and BBQ pork supreme paste with spring roll on vermicelli. It came with a side lettuce and pickled carrots and sweet dipping sauce which makes everything tasty! I have no idea what BBQ pork supreme paste is but it just seemed like the Vietnamese version of BBQ pork. The grilled beef was a bit sweet and had a texture that was similar to beef jerky but not quite. The spring rolls were good though!

IMAG0629My dad had the beef stew with rice #29 (rice not pictured). This was not particularly good or bad but I’ve had better beef stew. The beef could have been more flavourful but that’s what the sauce is for I guess. It came with a lot of rice so the portion was pretty good.

IMAG0630Finally we have my favourite dish to get: lemongrass chicken on fried rice. If you pay an extra 50 cents to a dollar for some dishes you can have fried rice instead of white rice. The fried rice had some egg and green onions in it and not much else. The rice was also on the mushy side so maybe regular rice would have been better. However, the lemongrass chicken was perfectly grilled and tender. It had some nice charring which added to the flavour. It also came with the usual side salad and dressing. I finished the whole thing (yes I’m a pig…)!

Overall I enjoyed my spontaneous visit here. The service was quick and efficient and the restaurant was also very clean too. Seating was comfortable and the prices are very reasonable too and on par with other pho places. Food wise it seems standard. Funny thing is that none of us ordered pho so I can’t comment on that.

Pho Xe Lua 24 Noodle House 金邊火車頭 on Urbanspoon

Hai Phong Vietnamese Restaurant

Slightly overdue post here haha

My friend suggested we visit her favourite Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsway near Knight street. I never really go to this area so I have no idea what’s good there but I was happy to try new places. Hai Phong was located in a small square on Kingsway and they have limited parking spaces. The interior is very clean and well lit. It was also very spacious inside. Like most restaurants, they also had two TV’s on.

PS. They have one of the nicest websites and menus ever for a Vietnamese restaurant!!! Check it out :)

IMAG0173My friend ordered this lychee drink with a bit of ice on top. There were a lot of pitless lychees inside! I tried it and it was pretty sweet and very much like those lychee jellos that come in the individual packages. The kind that always squirts juice on me when I try to open them. >=(

IMAG0174I’m a hugeeee fan of chicken wings in case you didn’t already know. So I was super tempted to order some garlic butter chicken wings. That sounds good right? However, I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was quite disappointed. These chicken wings were really small and below average. =( They also weren’t that crispy. There was definitely a prominent garlic flavour but beyond that these were just meh. Plus there weren’t even that many for the nearly $10 price tag.

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IMAG0176Pho! Nobody complained about it so I assume it’ was good.

IMAG0177On the other hand, this was what I decided to order. It sounded a lot better in the description. This was lemongrass chicken with an egg. It just wasn’t that special… The chicken was very tender, moist and well seasoned though. You could taste the slightly charred meat too. I think it would have been better if there was a bit more chicken? This just felt like it was lacking something. I should have stuck with pho!!! This was a Vietnamese restaurant afterall.

IMAG0179This came with some soup with a bit of pork in it. It was alright.

IMAG0178My friend loves this Vietnamese crepe and suggested that we order it. Inside, there was some shrimp, bean sprouts and some slices of meat. It came with the usual sweet sauce commonly used for dipping spring rolls. There was also a ton of veggies on the side. She said that we were suppose to wrap the veggies in the crepe and eat it together. But I found this quite difficult to eat and share. Maybe I’m just lazy hehe plus I ignored all the veggies :P It was interesting to try it though!

Overall, I think this was a bit of an underwhelming experience for me probably because my friend said it was really great and I did not end up ordering pho but the food isn’t bad and I wouldn’t mind going again. Service was prompt as well and I like that their menu is very extensive.

~Chubbybunny077

Hai Phong Vietnamese Restaurant 海豐越南美食 on Urbanspoon

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