Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Poptea baron now serving up sandwiches

The Poptea baron now serving up sandwiches

A shredded chicken bahn mi
A shredded chicken bahn mi. Eli Meixler

The Poptea baron now serving up sandwiches

Monira-Daniel Sir, 30, is the Canadian-Cambodian founder of Phnom Penh’s Poptea chain – with nine branches it’s the most successful of the homegrown bubble-tea cafes (he recently opened one with a library for student customers on Street 51). His latest food business is Nompang, which sells freshly made Cambodian (num pang) or Vietnamese (banh mi) style baguette sandwiches for about $2 a pop. He had a chat with Vann Sreynoch this week about the new venture.

How did you get into the food business?
First of all, my family has been in the food business for many years: my parents, aunt and uncle and other relatives all have their own restaurants, supermarkets, food factories et cetera, so I had the idea to get into the trade since I was young. I have strong potential in this business.

What inspired you to open a num pang and banh mi restaurant?
I have enjoyed eating num pang since I was a child, but I found there were no num pang restaurants in Phnom Penh that served a variety with good quality and hygiene, and an acceptable price, so I decided to open my own.

Nompang has a trendy timber interior with vintage toys on the wall
Nompang has a trendy timber interior with vintage toys on the wall. Eli Meixler

What makes Nompang different from other restaurants?
What makes it different is that we serve the simple food available in the market but with more options and better quality and hygiene. The price is still not much different. Also, the decoration in the shop is unique. The theme is a restaurant from the 1950s – even the workers have interesting uniforms.

Where do you get the ingredients?
All the ingredients are sourced locally and everything is freshly made to order. We don’t serve frozen food as we pay high attention to the quality and taste of our products.

Who are your customers?
We’re aiming for 18 to 45 year olds, mainly Khmers. As our location is in Tuol Tom Poung, we have about 20 per cent foreign customers.

Do you deliver the food as well?
For now, we do not do delivery, as food can lose its taste and quality, because when we deliver, it takes time, but we will try to find a way to deliver to our customers without ruining the taste of our products.

What are your ambitions for the restaurant? 
The first goal is prove that Cambodians can open their own restaurant successfully without having to buy a franchise from other country. Just like Poptea, I started the company by myself. All the staff are Cambodian, mostly students who study and work at the same time. I named the place Nompang as a way of praising Khmer food. I didn’t use a foreign word for the restaurant because I want other people to know more about Khmer food. The second goal is to make Nompang a well-known brand so we can export it to other countries.

Nompang sandwich shop is located at #89 Street 163 (corner of 408). Tel: 081 311 117.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all