This plateful of okoys I saw by the road made me drool. I love okoy.
Shrimp fritters. Okoy in our dialect.
My aunt, may she rest in peace, makes the best okoys in the whole wide world. Shrimps mixed in shredded wintermelon or cassava, flour, eggs and seasoning and fried perfectly crispy. Yes, they’re oily but – the hey – dipped in vinegar with chilli, it’s finger-licking good!
This Khmer-version of okoy is a staple street-food – and cheap, too – is mixed with flour and eggs only but still very tasty. I also love the salt-pepper-lime-combo dipping. They’re best eaten while hot and only with fingers! Now I am craving for some. I want to reach that pair of thong on the yellow plastic basket and get me some shrimp fritters.
Bringing myself back into the FTF groove again. This week, I’m posting this photo of nom banchok, Vietnamese version. I didn’t exactly understand why this noodle soup is named as such when I asked my officemate who brought it. As it was the first Vietnamese nom banchok I had seen, I wasted no time in tasting.
Very tasty nom banchok.
This is actually different from the Khmer nom banchok that I’m used to where the rice noodles are gloriously slathered with a mild Khmer green curry sauce. Instead, this is a clear soup with very nice textures from the beef prahat (meatball), fish fillets and vegetables – sprouted beans, shredded banana heart (puso ng saging), morning glory stems (kangkong), lovely thai basil and fiery Khmer chillies for that spicy oomph! There is a strong fish sauce (patis) and preserved shrimps (kapik) which might offend the nostrils and taste buds of our foreign friends, but not me.
I don’t normally see this dish sold around, compared to its cousin the Khmer nom banchok. However it is a very filling breakfast fare that can tide you over till lunchtime. It has noodles (made from rice) and meat (protein) and a host of vegetables to keep your tummy happy.
I was browsing Khmer Author Chanbo Keo’s Facebook page and came across this mouth-watering snack food. I remember, when I was still working in the early to mid-2000s, my officemates would go in every room in the office to collect money to buy our afternoon snack. We always have delicious snack every day and the choices varied from day to day.
But this is what I love the most – deep-fried shrimps with crunchy cucumber and sweet-sour Khmer sauce.
A yummy afternoon snack for office-dwellers like us.
This yummy snack is sometimes served with Khmer mint leaves but most of the time it is served with cucumber. Aside from the sweet-and-sour sauce, there is also a lime-pepper-and-salt dipping which I prefer over the former. It is an oily snack, but I tell yah, it’s finger-lickin’ gooooooood!
Now I can help but crave for some… This savoury snack never fails to get my appetite going.
Today is the birthday of one of my blogging-friends, Dylan. He came to visit us two months ago and PinayWife and I took him to one of our favourite Khmer restaurants in the Penh,the Trasak Paem (Sweet Cucumber) Restaurant, to celebrate our first meeting.
Here’s one of the dishes we ordered. I originally uploaded this to my other blog.
Trey kopik with vegetables. Basically it’s fried fish with a special mix of prahok and kopik (fermented fish and shrimp) to dip the fresh vegetables into. Best with lots of fresh chilli and a dollop of lime juice.
Trey prahok and kopik is one of the typical authentic Khmer food that is worth trying. It can be taken as a side dish, appetiser, or main dish. Most foreigners, especially from the West, don’t like its smell – the highly pungent prahok and kopik pretty much assaults the nose – that we Asians are familiar with.
Imagine the riot of flavours – fresh, crispy vegetables dipped in hot and spicy, salty dipping with a hint of lime. It definitely leaves an amazing taste in your palate.
I recommend this restaurant if you are looking for a place to sample Khmer food. The place is clean and air-conditioned, the staff pleasant and attentive, and the food is the best. We never go home disappointed.
Trasak Paem Restaurant
No. 103, Trasak Paem (St. 63),
Corner of St. 184
No. 103ABC, Trasak Paem (St. 63), corner of St. 184, 12211 Phnom Penh
One of the most popular breakfasts in Cambodia, kuy teav is a very simple but very tasty pork noodle soup, topped with shallots, toasted garlic, spring onions, collard greens, various herbs and sprouted mung beans. Kuy teav is similar to the Vietnamese pho.
Not the most flattering picture but the broth of this much-loved Khmer breakfast is to die for!
Most Cambodians, in Phnom Penh or in provinces, prefer to eat kuy teav in open-air restaurants rather than make this at home. Rice noodles are mostly used for kuy teav and, depending on the customer’s preference, the soup also features liver, intestines, meatballs and local pate. A bowl is served with a side sauce of red chilli sauce, preserved soya bean paste and a slice of krochma (lime). I prefer mine with flat egg noodles without the extras, as in the picture above, for breakfast. A bowl costs between 4,000-6,000 riels (US$1=4,000riels) and best to finish off with iced coffee with milk.
For a change, we went for a pork-rice meal the other day. I think my husband wanted something different from the usual kuy teav (pork noodle soup) for breakfast.
My husband took me to this Khmer-Thai eatery near our place. We could smell the familiar aroma of barbecued pork as we got off the car. In an instant, we knew exactly what to order.
The BBQ and the sauce is worth coming back to!
And we weren’t disappointed. The pork was really good – tender and packed with spicy goodness – and the dip was a fantastic accompaniment! However, there’s not much to write about the soup. I also expected a better side dish of bok lahong (papaya salad, similar to the Filipino achara but spicier and has more flavour) but we were served this preserved cabbage that’s dry and sour. This was forgiven when we finished our meal off with our usual order of kafe dahko teuk’o (iced coffee with milk) that tastes more like mocha. Which I liked.
Guess how much we paid? We paid $4 for everything! Not bad, I should say, but we’ve had better meals for the same amount somewhere else.
Will I come back? Yes, but only for the BBQ and the sauce. To go.
You’re always on my mind!
Again, a favorite fare whenever we are in Kep. Kim Ly’s restaurant never fails to satisfy stomachs hungry for seafood!
Steamed fish with soy sauce and garlic, served on a bed of fresh herbs, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and onion. Ooh-la-la!