For most women, pregnancy cravings are often inconvenient and uncomfortable. Husbands are sent out in the middle of the night to bring back a basket of fruits or a pint of ice cream.
But for former celebrity Tep Sreyphos, these cravings were just stepping stones to propelling a restaurant business.
Sreyphos – whose career was thrust into stardom seven years ago with the hit TV series, Raksa – is now using recipes she’s developed at her Wings and Beers Restaurant.
Together with her Filipino husband, the pair offers the best fried food along with an assortment of recreational activities, from singing to playing pool, darts and ball.
“When I started, I never fathomed having a big restaurant, especially not at this scale. But because we kept receiving support from our clients, the restaurant expanded as it is today,” recalls Sreyphos.
“When I was in my second trimester of pregnancy, I had a craving for fried food, especially fried chicken.
“I used that urge to develop a recipe that’s different from other takeaway food. I also developed different kinds of sauces by experimenting with a variety of spices and ingredients,” says Sreyphos.
With her husband’s culinary knowledge, Sreyphos was able to create 10 dipping sauces that are distinctly hers.
The actress-turned-restaurateur says, “The taste turned out great! I talked to my family and asked whether we could use the fried chicken recipe in the restaurant along with the 10 outstanding dip selections I created.”
A standard set with four pieces of chicken wings sells for $5.5. The deluxe set – with six pieces of wings – is priced at $7.5 while the party pack served with 15 wings cost $12.5.
Asked about what makes her food stand out, she says, “Fried chicken is served at every corner of the street – from humble stalls to big fast food chains. But you would never taste a chicken like this anywhere else.
“We are very meticulous in our cooking process and we use quality ingredients. For instance, we add citrus in the seasoning sauce. Professional gourmets would know the secret of adding sourness to dishes to give it a subtle but distinct taste,” she says.
Other fried food selections include the Wings and Beers Pork Knuckles for $12 and the Wings and Beers Barbecue Baby Back Ribs for $15.
Of course, seafood lovers need not fret with the Wings and Beers Butterfly Squid and Grilled Squid, both priced at $15.
“My husband helps in developing the menu and improving the recreational activities. Though the dishes are prepared in Western style, the ingredients are all sourced locally.
“The food still suits the local palate. That’s why most of our customers are locals,” says Sreyphos.
For those looking for lighter options, Wings and Beers also serves healthy starters such as Nachos and Tacos, which start at $3, Caesar salad for $5 and Tuna and Chicken salad for the slightly higher price of $6 an order.
Its range of 10 dipping sauces comprise of classic, spicy sriracha, honey BBQ, Koh Kong red, Koh Kong green, black pepper, spicy cheese, sesame teriyaki, honey mustard and mushroom.
A regular customer, Men Chanpanha, hailed the restaurants’ food.
“I come here at least once a week. Sometimes, I come alone and other times, I come with family and friends,” he tells The Post.
He adds: “The meat is very tasty and I like the fact that they present several options for dipping sauces. Today I’m having black pepper; the next day, I’ll have honey BBQ. It feels like eating tasty but different fried chickens.
“I like this place as it offers more than just a good meal. Boredom is never on the menu because we can engage in different games here.”
The restaurant is equipped with musical instruments for professional bands and customers who wish to play and sing.
Elevating its uniqueness is the rooftop court that has gained a lot of praise and support from basketball enthusiasts.
“Honestly, the rooftop basketball court was not my idea. Adding sports and other stress-relieving activities were all my husband’s ideas.
“I told him that nobody would come here to play sports and games since most Cambodians do not like playing basketball that much. It turns out I was wrong.
“It proved to be quite a success with our patrons. After adding the court, people have come by more often to play. Sometimes, the court gets fully-booked,” she narrates.
An hour at the basketball court costs $12 while an hour at the pool table costs $5. Other leisure activities such as playing darts and digital games are free.
Having been open for 16 months, the restaurant sees around 100 customers a day.
Wings and Beers Restaurant is located on the corner of street 440 and 135, Tuol Tompoung commune, Phnom Penh.
Opening hours are from 11:30am until midnight. For more information call 061 779 907 or visit their Facebook page @Wings&BeersKh.