MELBOURNE | Cambodian food isn’t something that I’m particularly familiar with. I’ve had Cambodian noodles in Vietnam, and know of the similarities between both cuisines, but that’s it. I recently noticed a new spot, Cambodia’s Kitchen, on Russell Street, and soon after I accepted an invite to pop in.
It’s owned by siblings Ivanra (front of house) and Linna (self-taught cook) Hun. They want to introduce Melburnians to the food of their homeland. Popular Cambodian street food dishes, made using their mother’s recipes.
The menu features a selection of snacks, plus rice and noodles dishes. I left the ordering to Ivanra, who bought out a selection of dishes that best showcase what he and Linna are doing.
Nom ka chai (deep-fried chive rice cakes), are a must to start. Bite sized crispy delights. For rice, the popular all day breakfast dish, bai saight chrou, is a stand out with its grill char and umami hit. Rice topped with grilled pork and a fried egg, with pickles and fish sauce for dipping on the side. There’s also a chicken version if pork isn’t your thing. Lort cha (pin noodles) are stir-fried short noodles stirred with sizzling beef and fish sauce. Topped with a fried egg, it’s very tasty, and not at all as heavy as you might assume when you look at it.
The menu at Cambodia’s Kitchen is small, with Ivanra and Linna focusing on dishes that are the real deal for those looking for a taste of home, but also an accessible gateway for people new to Cambodian food. In what can be seen as a positive evolution of Melburnians’ palates, this is perhaps the first menu in town where I’ve seen “accessible” and “offal” coexist.
Kuyteav is a soup of pork bone broth filled with rice noodles and delicious things like sliced pork, minced pork, pork liver, pork heart, pork loaf, beef ball, fish ball and fish cake.
Beef fans shoild try the khor ko. Noodles in a thick beef broth with tender stewed beef, beef tendon, beef tripe and homemade beef balls. Utterly outstanding.
Everything is made in house where possible, using local and Cambodian sourced ingredients. The result is fresh, fragrant, punchy deliciousness that’ll have you craving a return.
175 Russell Street
Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 12:00am