When you’re road-trip dining, it helps to be open to surprises that can lead to some great culinary discoveries. So, when a friend takes me to a Seattle food truck festival in the city’s International District, the crowds are so thick, we’re happy to follow a friend of his to Phnom Penh Noodle House.
I’m thus introduced to Cambodian cuisine and such wonderfully exotic dishes as crispy shrimp rolls, garlic-marinated steak wok tossed with whisky and a bowl of endlessly long sate noodles. My friend orders a yellow durian fruit shake despite warnings that it tastes musky; instead, it’s quite delightful.
All these recipes have been passed down through three generations of owner Sam Ung’s family, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1980 after fleeing the Khmer Rouge regime. The restaurant’s Cambodian heritage is also evident in plenty of bamboo, metal figurines and paintings.
Phnom Penh Noodle House
660 South King Street, Seattle
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9 am-8 pm, Friday 9 am-8:30 pm, Saturday 8:30 am-8:30 pm, Sunday 8:30 am-8 pm. Closed Wednesday
Want a satisfying, filling lunch for $3, within the shadow of downtown Seattle’s office towers? Just head over to Saigon Deli, one of the best banh mi shops in town.
Banh mi is a Vietnamese-style sub, a foot-long, fresh roll that’s stuffed, in my case, with barbecued pork, slivered carrots and peppers, onions, cilantro and a slightly spicy mayo sauce. It adds up to a hearty, delicious sandwich for no more than the change in my pocket.