Yi Sang Tuol Kork – The Garden: authentic luxury and quality

Yi Sang located on boulevard Sothearos is already well-known to lovers of Dim Sum and Cantonese cuisine. Yi Sang – The Garden, created by Cambodian Chef Luu Meng, is in a district that has been undergoing rapid development in recent years.

Yi Sang Tuol Kork, luxury and quality

Superb setting 

At first glance, you are impressed by the superb setting that has been created to house this establishment. It is an imposing villa, set in spacious grounds. The absence of a perimeter wall gives the building an airy feel, allowing you to fully appreciate the scale of the site. This Tuol Kork establishment, located on Rue 337, is currently the largest of the Tuol Kork restaurants. At the front of the restaurant, facing directly onto the street, there is a small glassed-in annex where, as in Hong Kong, some of those delicious roast ducks and other emblematic pieces of excellent Cantonese rotisserie cuisine are on display. The luxurious decoration of the ground floor room is a delight to the eye. There is also an air-conditioned cellar with some very tempting bottles. The first floor of the villa can be reached via a circular staircase in the centre of the room. At the back of the room, near the open kitchen, there are two sections of wall pierced with aquariums in which fish and seafood are frolicking, sure to tempt food lovers.

Entrance to the Ysang restaurant in Tuol Kork

Menu 

The menu offers dishes that are already available in the company’s other establishments, but the emphasis is on aquatic products, as well as a few Cantonese rotisserie delicacies. Although Yi Sang presents itself as offering “contemporary Cantonese cuisine”, chef Luu Meng makes no secret of the fact that he has also drawn inspiration from specialities from the city of Chaozhou (in the same province as Guangzhou) and a few dishes from other Chinese culinary styles. 

Cantonese cuisine 

As well as a wide range of fish and shellfish, the menu offers several versions of stir-fried rice, including “Cantonese rice” (actually a preparation of stir-fried rice originating from the city of Yangzhou, in the Shanghai region), and a seafood stir-fried rice (prawns, squid, etc.). The menu also features a number of roast meats that are emblematic of Cantonese cuisine: in addition to the famous roast duck, with its crispy skin and flavoursome flesh, there is also pork belly in lacquer, and the very famous ‘cha shao’ (or ‘char siu’, thinly sliced pork belly roasted in honey, which can be eaten with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, minced garlic and, for the more adventurous, chopped chilli). 

Vegetables 

Vegetables are not to be overlooked either. In Canton and Hong Kong, vegetables are often sautéed plain or with minced garlic, or even with oyster sauce.  But many enlightened connoisseurs appreciate vegetables ‘au bouillon’: the greens are simply blanched and arranged in a soup dish, garnished with chopped ham and salted cane egg, fried whole garlic cloves and finely diced hundred-year-old egg, then drizzled with a rich poultry stock. 

Steamed marble goby (left background: vegetables in broth; right: frogs sautéed in spices)

Product selection 

Particular attention is clearly paid to product selection. In one of the wall-mounted aquariums, for example, we were able to admire superb examples of marble gobies (“trei damrei”, or “elephant fish”), a freshwater fish with uncommonly fine flesh.  Marble gobies of this size (around one kilogram) are rare on the markets in Phnom Penh. Steamed ‘Chinese style’, i.e. marinated in rice wine and sesame oil, accompanied by fresh ginger and chives cut into very fine threads and drizzled with a soy sauce specially seasoned to accompany steamed fish, elephant fish leaves an indelible impression on the taste buds. 

Service 

The service is on a par with the luxury that defines the interior design: efficient, discreet, fast and multilingual! Many Cambodian restaurants would do well to take inspiration from this. All in all, Yi Sang Tuol Kork is high up in the hierarchy of restaurants in the Cambodian capital. The elegance of the place, the rigorous selection of ingredients, the expertise of the cuisine and the quality of the service undoubtedly justify the price tag. 

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Author: Pascal Médeville 

 

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