ONE of Phnom Penh’s newest places to eat and spend time with friends for coffee is the brand-new Booloom Booloom Coffee Wine and Dine, owned by self- made Cambodian entrepreneur Joseph Sim.
Its grand opening party on Friday, September 9, with a packed house and lots of food and drink for all, was well attended by Phnom Penh society people.
“We serve the best food at competitive prices,” Sim says.
Booloom Booloom’s former five-star chef, Sarim Tourn, learned his trade over the years working at fine hotels including the Cambodiana, the InterContinental, the Sokha and the Sunway.
Sim, 38, also known by his Cambodian name of Sim Chey Sith, would like to invite both Cambodians and foreigners to try out Booloom Booloom, located at number 209 Street 63, just two doors down from The Tea Club.
Sim’s journey to the opening of Booloom Booloom is a Cambodian success story.
Originally from Kampong Cham province, the son of a soldier, Sim came to Phnom Penh in 1980 and studied, earning money for himself and gaining a bachelor’s degree in marketing. To support himself, he had a streetside motorcycle and bicycle repair service.
“Some days I could make money, and some days I could not,” he says of those days.
Sim taught a marketing course at an NGO for $90 a month during 1998, and in 1999 went to work for a logistics company from Vietnam and began learning the transportation business.
In 1992, Sim got a scholarship from the government to study at Faculty of Business and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1997. He taught French to support himself along the way.
In 2006, Sim and a partner started Eagle Transport International and joined with a partner from Singapore.
Through his logistics experience, Sim is able to import fine wines to sell at Booloom Booloom from France, Australia Italy, Chile and other places.
“Then I came up with the idea to set up this restaurant, and I hope next year we will set up one or two more outlets,” Sim says.
One of the special foods at Booloon Booloom is the damrey fish from the Tonle Sap, also known as the marble goby and known as a local delicacy, served steamed or fried.
“We get the big ones from the Tonle Sap, we bring the big size from half a kilo to one kilo, and they are very nice,” Sim says.
Other items on the menu include big T-bone steaks, lamb chops, tenderloin and salmon.
Booloom Booloom serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including traditional Cambodian breakfasts as well as noodles, chicken and pork with rice, and sandwiches and will very shortly begin serving a special dish called Lao Noodle Soup which will only be available at Booloom Booloom, says Sim.
“We have good food and and the best service,” Sim said.
Many of Sim’s staff members originate from the French NGO Por UN Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), and Sim is proud of helping young Cambodians to launch their careers in service.
“Most of our employees only work half a day and still study at university,” he says. “I’m proud that I can help the poor.
“I’m proud when poor people work with me, and I like to encourage them to be a good staff, and give them opportunities to work with me in other companies.
“I’m so happy I can help poor people from the city and the provinces to come and join me and to give them opportunity to grow together and join me in the workplace.”