Phnom Penh Restaurants: Chinese Noodles

The west side of Monivong Boulevard a few blocks south of Sihanouk Boulevard has a cluster of small restaurants offering cheap bowls of hot Chinese noodles. It’s a great place to have dinner with the locals.

I take the bus to and from work every day. It’s a two bus trip so if you miss the connecting bus, it’s a long wait. On the way home from work today I just missed my connecting bus. Rather than wait I decided to walk the mile and a half home.

I missed lunch so I was really hungry. When I got to the cluster of Chinese noodle shops, I had to stop. The menus are pretty similar at all of them. You choose the meat you want (I don’t think vegetarian is an option). They throw the meat, vegetables and noodles into a container and lower it into boiling broth to cook.

If you go at night, you’ll see cooks making the noodles at the front of the restaurants. It’s quite a show. They stretch dough, twist it, and slam it on tables and repeat until it forms long strings of noodles.

You may be thinking – Hot soup in a tropical country? I know it sounds crazy but Chinese noodles make a delicious dinner. It’s also a safe bet if you’re worried about food born diseases. They boil the heck out of everything and serve it hot. It’s also cheap. A small bowl is $2 and a large bowl is $4. A small bowl was plenty for me.

They also serve dumplings ($2 for either fried or boiled). You get a large plate so only order them if you’re hungry or have a friend to share.

I just had the weak green tea they typically serve at traditional Khmer places. I’ve been told that restaurants used to serve green tea to show the water had been boiled. It’s just got enough tea in it to give it some color without any real flavor. The waitress even around with ice.

These places are not air conditioned. They have fans on the wall. You’ll want to pull the little string on the right to get the one at your table going when you sit down. The best seats for the breeze are on the aisle. The seats next to the walls get no breeze.

If you’re in the BKK1 area of Phnom Penh and you want a hot cheap meal, you really can’t go wrong with Chinese Noodles on Monivong.

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