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Nom Banh Jok Preap Sovath · Famous Khmer Noodle Stall in an Alleyway in Phnom Penh

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One of my missions for this trip to Phnom Penh is to taste num banh chok, one of Cambodia's national dish. My local hosts, Yuan and Eli showed me their favourite NBC stall - a gem hidden in the alley beside the SBI LY HOUR bank branch at Czech Republic Blvd.

Stall name: No name side lane stall


Address: Near intersection of Czech Republic Blvd (169) and Kampuchea Krom Blvd (128), Phnom Penh


Hours: 8:00 - 5:00pm (closed 12 noon - 2pm)



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The num banh chok stall is in the alley between a school on the left and SBI LY HOUR bank (blue building) on the right. View from Czech Republic Blvd (169).

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It's a simple makeshift stall. If not for Yuan and Eli's recommendation, I would have walked past here any number of times and would never have guessed that what I am looking hard for is right there 😄


The little stall has no name but its regulars know it as Nom Banh Jok Preap Sovath. That's because this humble stall used to operate in front of Preap Sovath's fashion shop before moving to this alley. Preap Sovath is a Cambodian singer and he has a popular song on num banh chok.

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The lady boss personally prepares everything for the num banh chok. The vegetables were market fresh. In fact, most were still in their shopping bags.

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Lady boss uses traditional num banh chok noodles kept soft and moist in lotus leaves. The soft white strands were stacked in piles like putu mayam.

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The heap of rice noodles and shredded vegetables were doused with a thick, greenish curry / soup.

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The bowl of noodles is eaten with a wide variety of optional vegetables (long bean, banana flower, mint, coriander, cucumber, etc) and chili toppings.

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The soup tastes savoury from minced fish, spices, herbs (e.g. lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, galangal, garlic) and prahok (umami savoury fermented fish) with sweetness from vegetables and coconut milk. The green and yellow colour come from vegetables and flowers (such as sesbania).

The savoury sweet soup complements the sweetness of the rice noodles well. The various crunchy and chewy vegetables added sweetness, a bit of tannic taste and spiciness to the dish.

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I love the num banh chok soup so much that I asked for more which the lady boss graciously obliged.

         


Written by Tony Boey on 18 July 2022


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