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Travel GuideThursday, 08/31/2006, 01:59

A glimpse and taste of Angkor 

The first sight one gets when arriving at Angkor Encore is a king size enlargement of a black and white photo of Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia, with Buddha staring all around in four different directions, hung over the impressive bamboo gate
A glimpse and taste of Angkor

A glimpse and taste of Angkor 

Angkor Encore Restaurant in downtown HCM City

The first sight one gets when arriving at Angkor Encore is a king size enlargement of a black and white photo of Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia, with Buddha staring all around in four different directions, hung over the impressive bamboo gate. So, if first impressions count, then this restaurant gets of to a great start.


The bistro serves a wide variety of Cambodian specialties, and so is a fine place for diners who want to experience a bit of something different and get a quick taste for the food and culture of the neighboring country.


Daniel Hung, the restaurant�s owner, a French-Vietnamese who spent some 13 years in Cambodia, told that when he came back to Vietnam from France in 1993 he realized the potential of opening a gastronomic paradise.

With the help, support and knowledge of his father, he decided that opening a Cambodian restaurant would be a great opportunity and adventure.


So, when crossing through the narrow entrance yard that leads into the eatery, one is immediately struck by the beautiful roof, which with the beams in the shape of hands clapped together immediately launches diners into the lost world of the Cambodian empire of long ago. The cozy room is filled with a warm yellow glow and decorated with bamboo that covers the walls. Ethnic Khmer jars and splendid Apsara statues and such like tribal claptrap is spread around the place. Diners can also look at the rustic fishing and that farming antiques whilst sitting on bamboo chairs surrounded by dried water hyacinth ropes when ordering from the bamboo menu!


Prahok sauce is an indispensable ingredient in Angkor Encore�s dishes and is produced from river fish which diners can enjoy with traditional fish soup, beef, chicken or fish dishes, served with delicious side dishes of Amok steamed coconut fish, Quinina leaf salad and Nam Chooc noodles, to name but a few.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Angkor Encore�s dishes attract a wide selection of expatriates and tourists eager for a quick and easy nibble of ancient Cambodiana, including the regular gastronomic garcon Xavier Vuillermet, Attach� of the French Consulate in HCM City, who says that the Cambodian dishes at Angkor Encore are as good as any Asian food he has had, adding that the many different flavors make the food stand out from others.

Furthermore, he said that he is also a huge fan of the spectacular architecture that helps make him feel that he is on holiday, long ago in the ancient Khmer countryside.


Angkor Encore restaurant serves some 40 Cambodian traditional dishes. However, in order to cater to a wide range of different tastes and some tourists� fussy dietary habits, the restaurant also serves some Western standards and Asian dishes, including an extensive vegetarian and children�s menu.


It is also perhaps a pity to leave the restaurant without trying some of the special wine, called Ruou Thot Not, which is a mixture of pungent ginger, sweet palm tree sap and acrid pineapple juice. Although be warned that traditional Cambodian alcohol is as potent as Russian Vodka, so very few people are brave enough to drink a whole bottle.


The word �Encore� is French and simply means �again� or �one more time� which is appropriate since the owner sincerely hopes that diners will enjoy their Khmer gastronomic gobble and will come back again and again.


Cambodian Tet falls during April when the restaurant often invites fantastic traditional Cambodian art groups to perform and so which is the busiest time of year at the at Angkor Encore, so it is highly recommended to book ahead for a memorable corporate function or private party in anticipation.


Angkor Encore Plus Khmer Restaurant is at 28 Ngo Van Nam Street, Dist. 1, HCM City. Tel: (08) 829 8814.

 


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