After a week off, the MSG150 crew headed out for the next lunch spot today with a manageable group of seven. We had heard good things about today's destination, Phnom Pehn Noodle House, and were excited to give it a shot. MSG150 friend Tien counts it as one of her favorites. Also, PPNH is the first (and I think last) Cambodian restaurant in the MSG150 route.
There was lots of activity at the HCG today (see photos below). The dedication is on Saturday at 10 AM, so they've got to get everything wrapped up. When does the bulldozer take down the non-historic, crumbling apartment building on the south flank? Luckily Joe's opens early. There should be a good liquored up crowed by 10.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Phnom Penh Special Rice Noodle - $5.49
Another awesome noodle lunch spot? Yes, having a several good noodle lunch spots is a good problem to have... but seriously, this is getting ridiculous.
What do you get when you're completely clueless? Get the house special noodle soup. The broth for this soup was flavorful. It was a much lighter broth than we're used to with the szechuan noodle soups we're used to... but just as good. I'm not actually sure what the base of the broth was, but it was freaking delicious.
Next, lets load this badboy up with some fish balls, fish stuff, pork stuff, calamari, and some delicious noodles. But its going to need some spice. I'm going to use some of Sam's (the owner) special hot sauce. The hot sauce isn't particularly hot, but it is particularly peanutty. Sam nailed the sauce but must have left the spice out.
Pretty cheap eats. Delicious soup. Nice atmosphere. Cheery and Chatty owner. Definitely hit this place up.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Phnom Penh Special Rice Noodle - $5.49
I first went to Phnom Penh over two years ago. I didn't remember going there, because I didn't know what it was called the first time I hit it. But I recognized it immediately. The store front is small, but opens into a surprisingly large and inviting restaurant. We were welcomed warmly and seated immediately.
I went for the House Special Noodles. It comes with some fish balls, shrimp, fish cake, ground and sliced pork, their famous broth, some noodles, and cilantro. It was quite good. the broth had a nice flavor. Combined with the hot sauce, it was very tasty. The ingredients were okay - nothing too special about the sliced pork and fish balls. But the soup was a warm and tasty choice for a cold day.
I give this place a 3 - as good as the soup was, it didn't distinguish itself as anything special, like Mike's or Szechuan Noodle Bowl. I'd definitely come back though.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Goo Nam Noodle - $5.75
I have been to Phnom Penh (spelling note: I can never remember where the H's go) Noodle House once before about three years ago. I don't recall what I had, but I do recall it being kind of bland. I wrote it off at the time because of that. Since then, however, I have heard good things from numerous sources and was eager to give it another try. To stack the odds a bit, I asked my friend Tien for suggestions. She suggested the beef noodle soup. Unfortunately, when I looked at the menu there were at least three soups that could be described as beef noodle. Did she mention a number? I couldn't remember. So, since #11, the Goo Nam Noodle, was at the top of the menu and was described as "spiced", I went with it. Goo Nam Noodle: "Cambodian spiced beef stew and beef tendon served with wide rice noodles." How could that be bad?
While we were waiting for our food, the owner, Sam, came by and chatted us up. It turns out he speaks the five languages that are on the menu. He will also cater your office party or wedding or even your office party/wedding if that's how you roll. He handed out nice little brochures that include pictures of some of his feasts and one of him posing with Al Gore. We didn't get the full scoop on that. Anyone know?
My Goo Nam arrived quickly and it took real fortitude to snap a photo before diving in. It was delicious. It had a thick, complex broth with big slurpy noodles. The beef chunks were good, but not as tender as some other local offerings. It wasn't very spicy (hot), but the pickled peppers and and chili sauce (made by Sam) on the table added a nice little extra kick.
I'll be back. However, I doubt I'll have the Pork Bung, but the 14 year old in me likes to point to it on the menu. See closeup in the photo section below. Someone might say, "I think I'll have the pork bung whole, not cut up." Heh. Heh. Beavis and Butthead would be proud.
Luncher: DaveLunch: Cambodian Sate Beef Noodle - $5.75
i had the "sate beef noodle soup", which was beef broth, some sliced beef, thick wide rice noodles, and a generous helping of the house peanut-based sate sauce, which sam the owner was justifiably proud of. and it's a surprisingly good combination with the beef broth, with the sauce adding richness and spice. but what made the soup great was the noodles: they're about half an inch wide, and thick for rice noodles, probably between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch. they were uneven in basically every dimension, which added a handmade look and feel, and their texture was fantastic. they're like a thicker version of the noodles you get in thai phad kee mow, and they were soft and dumpling-like.
i'll definitely be going back -- the nutty richness of the broth and the pillowy noodles were just the thing for a cold February day. the only bad thing is: now we have yet another great noodle soup option, making the lunch choice that much harder. i guess that's the right kind of problem to have.
Luncher: RobLunch: Vegetarian Broccoli Chou-Guetew - $6.49
I got the veggie noodle dish instead of the veggie noodle soup, and it was all right. The sauce had some flavor, and by the end of the meal it had not congealed, which is a good thing in my book. The home-made hot sauce was pretty awesome, and in some ways it seemed like the meal was merely a conveyance for the various hot sauces waiting for us on the table. The vinegary sauce packed with little red peppers was also good. The owner, Sam, was very friendly and hovered over our table while we waited for our dishes -- it's funny how much attention you get when you come in with a group and start taking pictures of the menu and the food.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Foursome Beef Noodle - $5.75
I rate this place a 4 for three main reasons: wide noodles, much better broth than usual and great service. I am always a sucker for the wide noodles which is something not too common in these noodle place. The 4 combo beef was really good, but every other place I've rated has prepared the meat portions pretty well. The broth at Phnom Penh seemed a lot tastier, especially when mixed with the homemade peanut sauce. The service was excellent and management very friendly. I would recommend this place for bigger parties since not many places have as much space.
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Phnom Penh Special Rice Noodle - $5.49
Phnom Penh Noodle House PhotosPhnom Penh Noodle House
Menu is in five languages
Phnom Penh Special Rice Noodle
Phnom Penh Special Rice Noodle with added peppers
Cambodian Sate Beef Noodle
Foursome Beef Noodle
Goo Nam Noodle (beef stew with wide noodles)
Vegetarian Broccoli Chou-Guetew
Something's afoot at the HCG today
Adding ornate feet
Official looking guys doing something