Khmer Food Craving

When I woke up this morning I had a craving for Khmer food, specifically Phnom Pang, the ubiquitous street food of Cambodia. This is very close to the Banh Mi of Vietnam. A sandwich made with toasted baguette, filled with a combination of pate and/ or terrine, and herbs. If you don’t like meat, they do a pescetarian version, using canned sardines. Some people like both pate and sardines in their sandwich. One can find this in almost every street corner in Cambodia, sold in shops, or mobile stalls. On average, it is very cheap and filling, especially if you eat it with the free pickled papaya (similar to our atchara). I still remember a couple of places in Phnom Penh that serves the best Phnom Pang.

The one pictured below was my last Phnom Pang, which I had when I made a short trip to Phnom Penh in 2011.

the original

the original

So, to satisfy my craving, I improvised. I took a toasted pan de sal, placed a spoonful of atchara which I luckily found in the refrigerator, then put sliced longganiza on top of it. The taste is nowhere near the actual sandwich, but the taste of the atchara, plus the crunch of the pan de sal’s crust were enough to satisfy my craving.

my improvised inferior version

my improvised inferior version

Which makes me wonder: when will I see a Cambodian restaurant in Manila? There are plenty of Vietnamese places in the city, and many of them serve Banh Mi but these don’t come close to even the Banh Mi sold outside Ben Thanh Market in Saigon. And I’ve eaten at the more expensive Vietnamese restaurants.


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