For this 5th edition of Les Invités du Mag, we welcome Sophy Chhay, entrepreneur and expert in decoration and fashion (Boutique du Parc and Gray Boutique) and her partner Jesse Lee Gray, consultant and project manager for Human-Centered Design. Two women well known in the French and Francophone community in Phnom Penh for their eternal good humor, enthusiasm and excellent ideas…
Yi Sang Riverside is located at the entrance to Quai Sisowath, a stone’s throw from the Chaktomuk Theatre. The restaurant has a terrace on the first floor, shaded by greenery, an air-conditioned indoor dining room on the second floor, outdoor tables on a second terrace, and a roof covered by a giant parasol, offering a panoramic view of the Tonlé Sap and the Royal Palace.
Yi Sang Riverside is located at the entrance to Quai Sisowath, a stone’s throw from the Chaktomuk Theatre True to the Yi Sang name, this restaurant serves mainly Cambodian and Chinese cuisine. The place is an ideal oasis of coolness in the heatwave that sometimes hits the cobblestones of Riverside, ideal for a quick lunch, as the service is fast, and finally ideal for a moment of calm, allowing you to relax in the middle of the day while enjoying the breeze from the lake and, of course, admiring the view and the lively surroundings. Not forgetting, of course, the quality of the cuisine for which the restaurant has been renowned for many years.
For this tasting, Dragon King “Siu Mai” and Dim Sum – need we point out once again that they are among the best in the capital? – are in the spotlight, followed by a little surprise that will delight our guests and undoubtedly be voted best starter of the meal: crispy shrimp dumplings with cheese, a dish we’re discovering that marries textures and flavors admirably. Crispy, lightly salted dough, discreet cheese and creamy shrimp, there’s nothing to say about this simple preparation, but it’s definitely succulent with a sweet-and-sour sauce and perfect for an appetizer.
Main courses will be a definitively Cambodian moment with three generous and typically Khmer soups. The star of the local gastronomy is the famous Num Banh Chok Samlor Khmer, which is both the name of the rice noodles and the popular dish in which they are served.
Num Banh Chok consists of fermented rice noodles served cold and topped with a light fish sauce, accompanied by fresh herbs, vegetables and green fruit, as well as snake beans, banana flowers, mint, basil, water lilies and pickled cucumber. And purists will be delighted: at Yi Sang, the noodles are perfectly prepared using traditional, yet laborious, methods, with no ingredient omitted.
For the record, old-timers remember that the best Num Banh Chok used to come from the province of Kampong Cham, where fish from the Mekong was said to have a particularly delectable flavor at the time.
There are also several versions of Num Banh Chok. The noodles can be eaten with Samlor Khmer (Khmer soup), as was the case during this tasting, but also with Samlor Namya (red curry also known as Samlor Krohom). Some regions even have their own versions of Num Banh Chok, such as Siem Reap, which uses lots of garlic and coconut milk and a sweet fish sauce called tik-pha-em.
However, the traditional recipes and preparations of Num Banh Chok have hardly changed over the centuries. Rich or poor, young or old, city or village, no matter where you come from, Num Banh Chok has always been, and remains today, Cambodia’s favorite dish. A history and a dish worth sharing.
With the addition of Samlor Kary (curry) and pork with Kampot pepper, we have a total of three versions of this emblematic dish. An authentic little gastronomic voyage to the land of Num Banh Chok, during which it will be the traditional version that seems to be preferred by our guests. Although less spicy than the other two versions, its slightly more exotic presentation and the possibility of dosing condiments yourself, its lightness and more Cambodian flavors probably play in its favor. In fact, the curry and Kampot pork-pepper versions are far more satisfying, and might be better suited to a dinner party, or simply to a heavy hunger.
Three desserts are on offer, and it’s a variation on the pumpkin flan (សង់ខ្យាល្ពៅ) that’s sure to win everyone over, as it’s enhanced by an apple salad that adds that extra something very pleasing to the palate. All in all, an experience worth trying for those wishing to discover or savor authentic Khmer cuisine with its typical dishes. Not forgetting the restaurant’s signature dishes, such as salmon steak with spinach sauce, or simply grilled beef with local salads and condiments.
Once again, we’d like to emphasize the extremely relaxing setting, impeccable service and, for those in a hurry or with limited time, the possibility of home or office delivery.