Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside




Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside

My Homeland has already attracted a loyal following.
My Homeland has already attracted a loyal following. Eliah Lillis

Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside

The recently opened ‘My Homeland’ restaurant promises patrons a nonfried taste of unadultered Khmer cuisine, made fresh every day.

While restaurants serving Khmer food can be found around every corner in the capital, what you’re usually getting is Khmer with a foreign twist, or simply fried meat and vegetables with rice.

But at the recently opened Metophum (My Homeland) restaurant, fried food isn’t on the menu. The proprietors are aiming for something different: truly authentic Khmer countryside home cooking.

This is instantly apparent when the first bowl of prahok– the traditional fermented fish paste – arrives with a generous portion of raw vegetables to go with it.

Adjacent to Beltei University in the capital’s Tuol Sleng neighbourhood, the signage is in Khmer, but the eatery is identifiable by its green colour scheme.

Meas Phanida, Metophum’s 45-year-old owner, makes it clear that this restaurant is for purists.

“We serve only Khmer food options . . . we don’t mix with foreign food,” she says.

The motivation to open the eatery, she adds, has to do with her family’s own home-cooking traditions.

“With my family, I love cooking traditional food. When we cooked for our friends, they liked it so much,” she says.

Phanida, who formerly ran Khmer-French restaurant Lion d’Or, says her desire now is to focus on “pure” Khmer food, which she says needs to be re-introduced to a younger generation increasingly gravitating towards foreign and fast-food options.

The veggies are fresh from the market.
The veggies are fresh from the market. Eliah Lillis

At the entrance of the restaurant is a glass display case where customers can see the freshness of the food: Grilled fish, frogs, pickled crabs and steamed innards sit alongside roasted prahok and traditional Khmer soups.

“We cook about 30 to 40 entrees with desserts each day . . . we serve prahok every day but we change up the soups,” Phanida says.

“We also serve Khmer soup made from mudfish and river fish, which has a savoury taste. We don’t serve fried foods because that’s not Khmer food,” she continues. But the price-point is certainly affordable, with offerings ranging from 2,500 to 16,000 Riels (about $0.60 to $4).

Ingredients are sourced from farmers and fishermen in Siem Reap and Kampong Chhnang provinces, Phanida says. “We have people supply us every day; we pay for the best quality and healthy food for our people.”

Indeed, whatever isn’t sold at the end of the day is thrown out. Meats and leafy greens are all fresh. For Phanida, it’s proving to be a winning formula, especially among visiting Cambodians who now live overseas.

“We see Khmer who live abroad coming to eat in our place because they miss the homeland taste,” she says.

Metophum is located on Street 360 near Beltei University, and is open from 10:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 8:30pm every day. Tel: 097 7 686 977

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian