Mouth watering Malaysian kopitiam street food comes to Phnom Penh

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Nasi lemak is served with ikan bilis (fried anchovies), peanuts, sliced cucumber, hard-boiled egg and spicy sambal (Malaysian chilli paste). Hong Menea

Recognising the potential of Phnom Penh’s tourism scene and its large expat population, Malaysian home-grown kopitiam (coffee shop) franchise PappaRich has opened its first outlet in the capital’s Tuol Kork district.

PappaRich Cambodia recreates the traditional rustic kopitiam experience in an air-conditioned setting, bringing the best of Malaysian street food to Cambodia.

A sight not to be missed when visiting PappaRich Cambodia is the making of Malaysia’s national drink teh tarik, with its name deriving from the pouring process of “pulling” (tarik) the drink to create the perfect blend of black tea and condensed milk.

Another popular delicacy, often referred to as Malaysia’s national dish, is nasi lemak, which is served with ikan bilis (fried anchovies), peanuts, sliced cucumber, hard-boiled egg and spicy sambal (Malaysian chilli paste).

The prices for nasi lemak range from $7 to $9, with the cost depending on the customer’s choice of prawn, squid, beef or chicken to go with the aromatic rice steamed in coconut milk.

Although it is often considered a breakfast dish in Malaysia, it can be eaten at any time of the day.

The restaurant’s general manager Moeun Bunlong said: “Locals might have the wrong perception that nasi lemak’s taste is too strong to go along with other spices or as a side dish.

“However, most of them change their opinion after they taste the staple Malaysian dish. That’s why we have returning customers coming back just to savour the dish again as they love the creamy texture and the fragrance of the rice.”

For those with a bigger appetite, they can enjoy coconut milk rice served with fried chicken, curry chicken or rendang (spicy meat stew).

Another regionally well-known Malaysian dish is char kway teow, which literally translates to wok-fried flat rice noodles.

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A high-selling dish at PappaRich Cambodia, the best char kway teow in Malaysia is found in the Pearl of the Orient — Penang — and any trip to Malaysia’s northern state is incomplete without having tasted this popular street food.

In fact, the famed Siam Road char kway teow in Penang was named one of the top 50 street foods at the World Street Food Congress 2017.

The famous dish is cooked by first stir-frying chopped garlic and chilli paste. Then, the rice noodles are added in, followed by shrimps, bean sprouts and Asian chives, before the chef turns up the heat to stir fry all the ingredients into a plate of mouth-watering fried char kway teow.

“Here we serve quite an extensive halal menu. Some people might have the perception that Malaysian dishes are heavily influenced by Indian cuisine and are therefore too spicy. But, the fact is we serve different kinds of food ranging from mild to spicy,” Bunlong said.

Another star of the menu is Sarawak pepper chicken soup ($7), which attracts Cambodian diners who famously enjoy Kampot pepper in their dishes.

“This Malaysian state [Sarawak] is well-known for the pepper chicken soup as they use well harvested white pepper, which is famous for its nice heat. It is imported directly from Sarawak.

The dish is a must-try for people who travel to Malaysia,” said Bunlong.

Bunlong said some spices and ingredients are imported to ensure the dishes served have the same taste as those available in Malaysia.

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Popular Malaysian dessert Pappa ABC is served at the restaurant. Hong Menea

“Food is prepared and cooked by our Cambodian chefs, who have several years of experience working in hotel kitchens.

“They had to go through one-month’s training in Malaysia and another one-month’s training with a Malaysian chef in Cambodia before they joined the kitchen,” he said.

Following strict halal practice, the restaurant does not serve pork and alcohol, while all the meat used in the kitchen is supplied by a local Muslim butcher.

Deserts such as Pappa ABC ($3.20 – $3.50) are also served for those with a sweet tooth.

ABC is an acronym for ais batu campur (mixed shaved ice), with the dessert using shaved ice as a base, topped with cendol (rice jelly), red beans, peanuts, rainbow syrup and condensed milk.

There is an additional option to add ice-cream.

PappaRich is located on Tuol Kork district’s Street 315 in Phnom Penh. It is open from 11am to 10pm daily.

For more information or bookings, the restaurant can be contacted via telephone (095 555 001).

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