Located at the Borey Peng Huoth residential area along National Road 1, Eatery 430 is a place where the common man congregates for a taste of local fare and to unwind with a little chatter.
At lunchtime, regular patrons who are mainly office workers queue for their take away from the typical shophouse eatery while others hurry to finish their food. Amidst all this, the chef and waiters are in full swing, taking orders and serving customers.
Some 20 tables are placed inside and around the corner eatery’s sidewalk while customers queue to view and select the different meats and seafood on display.
A large banner advertises the reasonable prices of the food served at the restaurant – most of which only cost about 5,000 riel ($1.25) a portion.
Opened in August with little decorations, the eatery offers a homely feeling with a relaxing atmosphere. Its open air design allows diners to see people passing by. The evening breeze is welcoming as well.
Nou Chantha, 29, the eatery’s owner, tells The Post: “Though I just opened about five months ago, my business has really grown. Lunchtime is our busiest hour and we have as many as 200 customers then. In a day, we usually serve about 300 customers on average.
“Most of them are staff and workers in Borey Peng Huoth. We are located across from an international school and students and their parents have also become our customers while waiting for their children to finish classes.
“We offer different dishes at all three meals.”
Breakfast, which starts at 6am and ends at 1pm usually consists of popular dishes such as steamed rice with grilled pork, porridge, or kuy teav – rice noodles in a soup base made of pork stock and topped with pork and meatballs.
The prices for these items range from 6,000-7,000 riel per dish.
The lunch menu offers more than 20 dishes, all of which are typical Khmer fares such as sour soup, stir-fried vegetables, meats, grilled fish, and spicy salads.
These dishes cost just 3,000 riel a portion. Steamed rice which is optional, will cost another 1,000 riel.
Chantha assures anyone with a big appetite that they can have their stomachs filled for just 4,000 riel.
From 1pm to 10pm crowds flock to Eatery 430 to dig into what are mostly all-time favourite side dishes and snacks.
Chantha says: “Our side dishes which cost about 5,000 riel a portion come in a range of items such as snails, crab, an assortment of other seafood, fried chicken wings, meatballs, pork offal, grilled duck, quail eggs, balut and much more.”
The most popular dishes are boiled meatball with tofu sauce and grilled balut. In its typical form, balut is a fertilised developing egg embryo that is boiled and eaten from the eggshell.
But Eatery 430 prepares it differently.
“Grilled balut is one of our signature dishes. Preparing it involves boiling the balut first before it is grilled to perfection.
“During the grilling process, we baste it with some garlic pickle sauce, oil, peanuts and tamarind sauce to bring out its unique taste. Best of all, it only costs 2,000 riel.
The dish is so popular that Chantha sells as many as 500 grilled balut daily.
While the large variety of items on offer is one thing, it’s the eatery’s sauces that bring out the wide variety of dishes full flavour.
“Besides our affordable prices and range of food items, people flock to eat here because of the different sauces that we have.
“Our food can be matched with their’ preferred sauces which is another advantage,” Chantha says.
The eatery stocks six different sauces: green chilli, Koh Kong spicy red, shrimp paste chilli, tofu, meatball and garlic pickle.
Customers can pick their preferred sauce to go with any dish on the menu.
Chantha says he plans to add more dishes to the menu and recommends that customers try the grilled beef with fermented fish sauce as it’s another unique offering.
As for drinks to wash down all that delicious food, the eatery offers everything from fruit juices to soft drinks, beer and even wine.
Chantha says many people have noticed that his eatery is unique not only for its great tastes and affordable prices but also the range of sauces to mix and match with the different food items on offer.
“We also accept bookings for special events, but delivery is confined to within Borey Peng Huoth and its vicinity for the moment.
“I rarely deliver outside Borey Peng Huoth. This is because, as it is, I am selling food at very low prices, so it doesn’t make sense if my staff have to travel long distances to deliver too.
“So I only accept deliveries for long-standing customers who have since become my good friends,” Chantha says.
Chantha says he opted not to renovate the eatery since construction is going on Eatery 430.
“So, even if I wished to redesign or redecorate to make my eatery more comfortable, it is not the right time to do so as it might end up not blending with the surroundings,” he says.
However, Chantha says he wants to improve the lighting and a few other things to make his eatery more attractive to those who wish to book the venue for parties. “I hope to do this once the surrounding construction is completed,” he says.
Eatery 430 is at 430, Street Claster, Borey Peng Huoth Boeng Snor, National Road 1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.