Boat noodle restaurants may be a dime a dozen in Phnom Penh, but the creators of the nautically themed De Boat, located in the capital’s Tonle Bassac neighbourhood, say they are bringing authenticity and quality to the scene with an original look.
“There are a lot of boat noodles in the city but we think the quality is not there,” said co-owner Ly Ly, 29. With a passion for travel and the iconic Thai noodle tradition, she brought a group of six friends together to start the venture.
“We’ve been friends for a long time and we love to go to Thailand and try noodles, but we came back to Cambodia and found nothing like it,” Ly’s sister Muy Lan, 27, said.
The restaurant features a European nautical theme, making it stick out from the competition. A French-reminiscent blue-and-white motif dominates the interior, which is adorned with oars and a life saver on the walls to complete the maritime design.
“We’ve been to many restaurants but didn’t find any with that concept,” Muy said. “We didn’t know totally what we were going to do with it and put a lot of effort in interior design.”
She hired a designer from Thailand to customise the interior with rope ornamentation, a detail that is seen down to the tables and chairs.
Ly admits the design might leave one unsure of what exactly is being sold but once a customer walks in the door, De Boat will embark their taste buds for Thailand.
“You don’t have to go overseas to try it out,” said Ly.
The attention to form is matched by the food. The menu features an array of noodle entrees priced at $3.80 each with the option to choose between four types of noodles: thin rice, wide rice, wheat and instant.
Delectable appetisers include deep-fried chicken wings ($3), which often sell out along with best-seller moo-ping – a plate of four juicy and tender pork skewers that are mouth-wateringly sweet ($3.90). Patrons can wash it all down with a selection of Thai iced teas and other sweet drinks.
“It’s not about the trend,” said Ly, adding that a Thai chef was hired to ensure the cuisine is true to its roots.
“Everything has been mixed for you . . . not too spicy not too sweet; it takes a bit longer to make these compared to the Phnom Penh noodles.”
De Boat is open every day from 7 am to 9pm at #23 Street 294. Tel: 095 835 599.