Sometimes we just like to search out something new, something unfamiliar. Hence the visit by Snooze and I (Bureaucrat and the Lawyer being otherwise engaged) to My Cambodia, one of the myriad of places to dine in sunny Springvale.
The first thing I should do though is explain just how much I knew about Cambodian food before our visit....nothing, zip, zilch. I probably had some suspicions that it would have some similarities with its south-east Asian neighbours, but other than that I was preconception free.
My Cambodia is obviously popular though, with its mixed Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese menu attracting sufficient customers that we ended up sharing a table with two different sets – one who were there when we arrived and then another when we left. The TV in the corner playing unfamiliar soap operas (Khmer?) was a homely touch, and while the restaurant had that same look that every second Vietnamese restaurant in Footscray/Victoria Street/Springvale has adopted, the family run atmosphere gave it a touch of personality.
Asking our friendly waitress in identifying the more Cambodian side of the menu, we soon settled on the Phnom Penh noodles (dry, for ease of sharing), the traditional lemongrass soup and a serve of the special broken rice, even if it was more Vietnamese in style. The food was soon on its way and first dish up was the Phnom Penh noodles. Because we had asked for these dry the normal pork bones based soup was served on the side. The noodles themselves were almost like a noodle salad, served with pork sliced and minced, cubes of blood, other assorted goodies and a big hit of garlic. A nice, big flavoured noodle dish which we both enjoyed.
The lemongrass soup though, while I thought it was very good it was so unfamiliar to Snooze she struggled to decide whether she liked it or not. A fairly sour soup, with pieces of beef and a trifle of tripe, it was again big flavoured and quite sour. I thought it provided a great balance to the flavours of the rest of the food and drink, particularly the sweetness of our shakes.
The final dish took a little while but was probably the best thing we ordered. The pork was well marinated and despite looking potentially overdone perfectly cooked. Slightly crisp on the outside, still tender and juicy on the inside, absolutely spot on. The accompanying vegetables had been lightly pickled giving them a slight tang and while I don’t know exactly what it was, the additional fish flavours gave it an interested punch to the flavours. Snooze commented it was much better than similar dishes she'd tried in the city and I would've been happy to return just to have an entire plate for myself.
My sour sop shake was light and refreshing with just a touch of sweetness, and I gathered Snooze liked her coconut shake as well.
Fun and cheap, with some differences in flavours from the typically sweeter Thai and Vietnamese around town, I can’t comment on the authenticity but I can comment on the quality and our meal was very good, particularly at the prices paid.
Food – 8
Service – 7
Ambience – 6.5
Price – 8
28 Buckingham Ave
Springvale VIC 3171
Tel (03) 9540 3551