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A selection of Sumbibi Yukoch’s most popular dishes, including “beef rib finger” for customers to barbecue at their table. R.P.S. LLOSA

Japan: So close, you can taste it

Craving Japanese food? Sure, you know Sushi Bar or Sesame Noodle Bar, but check out Street 63 for some truly genuine Japanese fare prepared by Phnom Penh’s own crop of Japanese expats.

Sumibi Yokocho $$
This barbecue (yakiniku) joint lets you cook your own food at the table, offering various cuts of beef and pork for $2-4, as well as vegetable and shrimp. Not surprisingly, this restaurant was filled with stylish Khmer clientele, so bring your local friends and coworkers. The interior is distinctive, with vintage-style posters from the 1950s and 60s.
No 81, Street 63

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Crispy and light shrimp tempura. R.P.S. LLOSA

DANRAN $
Don’t be fooled by its simple interior, Danran offers the best tempura in Phnom Penh: crispy, light, without too much oil. A meal of vegetable and shrimp tempura accompanied by udon or soba noodles goes for $5. Danran also offers spareribs prepared karaage style -- meaning slightly fried on the outside.
No 76, Street 63

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Takoyaki, or octopus cooked in batter, sizzle at the Takoyaki-Yakisoba restaurant on Street 63. R.P.S. LLOSA

Takoyaki Yakisoba $
A good place for beers and snacks - especially after a few - this casual restaurant offers takoyaki or grilled octopus cooked in batter with a Worcestershire-type sauce, mayonnaise, and green onions for $2.50. Also on the menu are a variety of snacks, including fried chicken and yakisoba, fried ramen-type noodles.
Street 63, across from Tokyo Saka Bar

Japub $$
Recommended by Japanese expats, Japub is one of the limited places in Phnom Penh where you can get your sushi and sashimi fix in a trendy setting. Wash it down with a Japanese beer.
No 13, Street 288, near corner of Street 63.

Ramen Kiosk $
A bit farther down the road from Street 63’s main cluster of restaurants, Ramen Kiosk is a good choice for a cheap lunch. Its friendly proprietor offers ramen, gyoza, fried chicken, and spring rolls.
No 238, Street 63.

Hakata Shukudo NHAM $$
Street 63’s Japanese restauranteurs say this is one of the best places to eat on their block. Though a bit averse to outsiders (no street address is listed online and they weren’t keen on pestering journalists), Nham offers fried chicken and other cooked foods, with a quirky interior design.
Street 63 across from Jidaya

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A sumptuous fish dish accompanied with a side of rice. Photo supplied

Jidaiya $$
Red lanterns, wood beams and paper screens give Jidaya an old-fashioned atmosphere for patrons seeking barbecued Japanese food, including yakitori (various barbecued meat and seafood on skewers).
No 79, Street 63

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Tokyo Saka Bar offers a posh atmosphere, Japanese whiskey and tasty snacks, including edamame and curry buns. Photo supplied

Tokyo Saka Bar $$
BYO Bill Murray to this snazzy whiskey and cocktail bar, which also offers cheap Japanese snacks and Western-style pasta for $2.90 during Happy Hour. Try the “Godfather” – Amaretto and Jim Bean – for $3.50, or a variety of sake, sochu, and a long list of cocktails.
No 89, Street 63

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Salmon and rice dish served at the Baobab. Photo supplied

Baobab $$
“Catnip for gaijin” (barangs) in the words of one Japanese expat, the compact bar offers some real Japanese specialties like salmon belly and handmade tofu. Baobab has a memorable, quirky interior with costumes for customers to wear while they drink.
No 111, Street 398, near corner of Street 63.

ERIN HALE

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