Recently, I made a lunchtime trek out to Lilburn to check out Cambodian restaurant Phonm Penh. Two years ago, former AJC dining critic Meridith Ford reviewed its Tucker location.
I never made it out to Phnom Penh when it was in Tucker. And according to the husband and wife owners, they recently relocated to Lilburn for cheaper rent.
I had trouble finding the place because Google Maps pinpoints the restaurant in the shopping center across the street from where it actually is. So if you go looking, Phnom Penh is in the Greenhill Shopping Center (to your right if you are travelling north on Lawrenceville Highway) down a few doors from a Southern buffet-style restaurant.
The menu reads similar to Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. And Malis Mam — the female owner — prepares and cooks the food. I ordered the Phnom Penh noodle soup, which is like a simplified version of Vietnamese pho.
When I researched Phnom Penh noodle soup on various sites, the original style reads nothing close to what I had at this restaurant. Purportedly, its broth is pork-based and a variety of seafood is used in flavoring and toppings. The restaurant’s broth is chicken based (no hints of seafood), topped with a few thin sheets of beef, and holds a mesh of rice noodles similarly used in pho. Diners can add fresh bean sprouts that are served separately, and a saucer containing Sriracha and sweet plum sauce is also given for dipping. The broth tasted fairly similar to pho but sweeter in flavor. Mam also adds fried garlic to the soup, which imparts a nutty, sweet aroma.
I also ordered a serving of battered and fried quail. Mam starts it all from scratch so it came out after the soup. It’s served with a sweet, vinegary black pepper sauce that you drizzle over the quail. I enjoyed this dish.
Phnom Penh Cambodian Restaurant, 4800 Lawrenceville Highway #4, Lilburn. 678-694-1598.
Checking up on Peter
The jury seems to be split on Peter Cheng’s, the Sandy Springs Chinese restaurant that opened in February. Some people I’ve talked to rave about it. Others gripe about the inconsistent service, or that the food is “tame” compared to Cheng’s stint at Marietta’s Tasty China. I happen to belong to the thumbs up camp. Service has been hit or miss, but I’ve enjoyed everything I sampled so far.
I’m particularly fond of Cheng’s bamboo fish. They are battered and fried chunks of fish (swai, according to Kessler’s review) and cilantro, seasoned with salt and cumin and served on a rattanlike apparatus. I first had this dish at Tasty China and enjoyed it there as well.
Peter Cheng’s, 6450 Powers Ferry Road, Sandy Springs. 678-766-8765.
Cold noodles at So Kong Dong
Now that the mercury is rising here in Atlanta, my craving for nangmyeon (noodles in cold broth) goes up too. Most Korean restaurants serve it all year round, but it is a refreshing dish to eat in hotter weather.
Buford Highway’s So Kong Dong has good nangmyeon. The buckwheat noodles used in the dish are chewy, and the broth — a mixture of beef broth and dongchimi (watery kimchi brine) — has good flavor. But like most restaurant nangmyeon, the broth tends to be on the sweet side.
If you order this dish, don’t be surprised if your server whips out some kitchen shears and cuts your noodles up right then and there. It makes for easier eating.
So Kong Dong, 5280 Buford Highway N.E. #C, Doraville. 678-205-0555.
- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog
– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.