Surrounded by a beautiful garden, a two-storey establishment in a nondescript street in the capital is making a buzz as one of the few restaurants in the Kingdom that offers authentic Chinese cuisine.
Opened in December, last year, TungLok Signatures was brought to Cambodia by the successful founders of American restaurant Digby’s Bar & Grill which is located in the capital’s Boeung Keng Kang 1.
The founders, Singaporean-American Amy Chiv and her Cambodian-American husband David Nget returned to the Kingdom seven years ago with the dream of making a difference in the Kingdom using what they have learned in the US.
“We decided to start a new chapter here after meeting my husband in the US. As well as bringing high- standard dishes to Cambodia, we also want to create employment opportunities for the people,” says Chiv, adding that her family has no plans of moving back to California.
Armed with three decades of experience in serving diverse traditional Chinese cuisine ranging from Cantonese, Shanghai and Sichuan dishes, along with contemporary Singaporean dishes, TungLok Signatures is guaranteed to fit the palate of local diners looking for premium cuisine.
“We serve a wide range of creative and fusion dishes and original Cantonese cuisine. Here, we modified the flavour to cater to the local taste bud.
“TungLok Signatures is already a household name in Singapore and has many franchises,” Chiv says.
The restaurant’s impeccable architecture offers luxurious dining rooms and halls and a refreshing outdoor landscape – thanks to the couple’s $2 million investment.
“Our restaurant is not just a place for a simple meal. We also have a big dining hall for banquets and private parties, which can host between 40 and 50 guests.
“We can even accommodate bigger celebrations of 400 to 500 guests,” she says.
The couple seems off to a good start with the growing presence of local and international patrons.
Renowned Cambodian-American fashion designer Remy Hou recently left a glowing review on the restaurant’s Facebook page: “[It] feels like a different place. [What a] beautiful atmosphere and an amazing view. The food [deserves] five stars. Try the Hot Chicken and Egg Mango.”
Chiv recounts: “When we first opened this restaurant, we did not expect foreign tourists and expatriates. We rather targeted local patrons who are looking for fine dining Singaporean and Cantonese cuisine.
“At the moment, we still have to do some finishing touches to the whole design. We had our official opening on December 2, last year, where we only served dinner.
“After January 1, we began serving lunch and dinner until midnight, along with a range of cocktails.”
Its menu marks the restaurant’s recommended dishes: TungLok Signatures roasted duck priced at $38 for the whole duck, braised lobster with noodle ($60), Singapore chilli crab (market price), Nyonya-style fried fish (weight-based price), Bakkwa bacon and salad ($23) and wok-fried king prawn with chef’s sauce ($38) to name a few.
“Double-boiled shark’s fin in shark’s cartilage soup and braised shark’s fin with crab meat are two of our most famous dishes.
“Vegetables, fish meat and lobster head are simmered for 24 hours to create a flavour-rich soup. It costs $60 a bowl,” she says.
The dessert selection includes warm Valrhona chocolate lava cake topped with vanilla ice cream at $12, chilled mango sago pomelo with mango custard ($8), chilled aloe vera and lemongrass gelatine topped with lime sorbet ($6), deep-fried sesame ball ($8), chilled pumpkin cream with purple rice topped with coconut ice cream ($8) and many more.
“The dishes, made from a selection of high-quality ingredients and fresh seafood, are priced similarly as in Singapore,” she says.
Chiv admits that the restaurant does not use local meat products as they need a particular meat quality. Thus, duck meat, beef and seafood are imported from as far as Australia, Japan and the US.
However, she says, they do use locally grown vegetables. “We try to source local products as much as possible, especially for plant-based ingredients,” she says.
Besides the carefully selected ingredients, the restaurant also takes pride in its kitchen staff which includes experienced chefs from Singapore, who are well-known for their unique skills in preparing roast pig stuffed with sticky rice. Its priced at $230.
“We recommend that the customers place their orders 48 hours in advance especially during Chinese festivals like the Lunar New Year Qingming Festival [Tomb-Sweeping Day],” she says.
Asked about future endeavours, Chiv says: “We’re in the process of opening a 31-room hotel and a place specialising in sausage and meat production near Digby’s Bar & Grill.”
TungLok Signatures is located at No 30, St 222, corner of St 55, Sangkat Beoung Raing, Khan Daun Penh, with business hours from 11am to 11pm.
For more details, contact 069 931 888.