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Num Banh Chok Wat BoTom · Sophath + Pho in Phnom Penh

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Even though nowadays, finding places to eat is literally at our fingertips, I still get my greatest joy from eating by going out foraging blind. There's something about the joy of "ownself" discovery, of unexpected delights. That's how I stumbled upon Nom Banh Chok Wat BoTom.

Stall name: Sophath + Pho


Address: # 78 Street 07 Sangkat Chaktomok, 12207


Tel: 092 250 778


Hours: 7:00am - 8:00pm



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Walking along Oknha Suor Srun Street (7) which runs parallel to Wat BoTom Park, I noticed a tiny noodle shop which was packed with young and elderly customers alike. There were even local three generation families eating inside.

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The banner or signboard says Sophath + Pho but when I peeked at what people were eating, I noticed that everyone was having different forms of num banh chok. Yeah, now, I can recognise a num banh chok when I see one 😬

Despite the banner, the staff said they don't serve pho anymore as they are too busy. Locals know this shop as Num Banh Chok Wat BoTom because it is right beside Wat BoTom Park.

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Not knowing how to order in Khmer, I simply pointed to another customer's bowl of reddish looking noodles. I was the only foreigner here and everyone was warm and friendly.

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It's num banh chok samlor kari - julienned green papaya and banana flower with noodles topped with pieces of fried chicken and a piece of pork blood curd in a bowl of chicken curry. Price Riel 9000 which is about USD2.25.

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The bowl of curry and noodles came with a generous tray of raw vegetables, herbs, leaves, flowers, chili pepper, lime and pickles. I won't pretend to know the names of all of them but I tried everything. There was nothing here that I didn't like.

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The bright yellow sesbania flowers are my new love 😬 I unloaded all the sesbania flowers into my bowl 🤟

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The chicken curry was savoury with a bit of sweetness, nuttiness and spice taste but not to the extent of coconut richness and sweetness, nor intensity of spice flavour and aromas of the Singapore / Malaysian varieties.

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I like the putu mayam type of rice noodles the Cambodians use in num banh chok - the strands are softer, better in absorbing flavours, and sweeter on its own than Singapore bee hoon.

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The pieces of fried chicken were on the dry and chewy side which is how people here prefer it. Despite its dry stiffness, the chicken meat still had chicken taste (because it was fresh free range chicken).

Minding blowing?

Yes...., but not really boomz.... like that lah. The Cambodian food I had so far don't produce that love at first bite reaction.

But, I fell firmly in love with this num banh chok as I chewed up the whole tray of greens, herbs and flowers like a happy hamster.

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There's a lot of fibre, so it feels filling. I don't know the names of some of the raw vegetables but like their different crunchy, chewy textures, green tannic taste, and aromas. There's also this good feeling that it detoxifies, rebalances and heals my body. 

It'll be great if I can have this regularly in Singapore. (At the moment, I know of no place in Singapore that serves this or any Cambodian food yet.)



Written by Tony Boey on 13 July 2022

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.