“That was the best meal I had in a month of travelling.” A remark by one of the guests at frizz restaurant on Phnom Penh’s riverfront.
It is a compliment owner Frits Mulder often gets. When he took over the restaurant in 2004, he decided to specialize in Khmer cuisine.
“On my first visit to Cambodia I was surprised to see that restaurants on the river front offer all kinds of cuisines, but specialized Khmer restaurants were hard to find. That’s a shame really, as Cambodia should be proud of her cuisine.”
The restaurant’s menu features well-known items like Fish Amok, Samlor Machou and Loc Lac. But there are also some lesser-known dishes, like sausages in banana flower (Trayong Jayk).
“That idea came from one of my cooks”, Frits remembers. “Every once in a while I ask the cook to make something I have never had before. She came up with these sausages. I loved them, so I put them on the menu. Now, in our cooking school we also teach others how to prepare these sausages.”
Other popular dishes include Saich Ko Char Manor (sliced stir-fried beef with pineapple, cabbage, tomato and bell pepper) and Trey Bom Poung (fried fish fillets with lettuce, sliced carrot and tomato in a medium spicy sauce).
Although most dishes are Khmer, there is international fare on the menu, like burritos, pastas and even Steak & Guinness Pie.
“These dishes are very popular among expats. The restaurant was kind of a British pub before and those items are a remnant of those days. The Steak & Guinness Pie especially attracts the British. I suppose it reminds them of mommy’s cooking.”
The restaurant is small and has a simple setting, but has gained a reputation for serving some of the best Khmer food in Phnom Penh.
“As every good chef will tell you, the secret not only lies in the preparations but just as much in using good, fresh ingredients. And that is what we do”, Frits says.