Phnom Penh burger joint Burger Moon has set itself a goal – serving gourmet burgers at an affordable price.
Located behind Mao Tse Tung boulevard, Burger Moon, a popular takeaway venue with limited seating, sits in a humble shop in which customers are welcomed by pictures of hamburgers oozing with cheese.
But Burger Moon prides itself on being different to other fast-food outlets serving traditional burgers.
It is run by Bun Lyhoung and her husband, who spend much of their time in the kitchen preparing gourmet burgers with a Khmer twist.
The husband and wife team are hands on in the kitchen, from baking buns to frying patties.
“On average, between 200 and 300 customers visit our shop every day, with foreigners making up only about 20 per cent of our customer base.
“Locals want to try how a Khmer burger tastes and most of them like it. Many of them have become returning customers, especially as our burgers are competitively priced compared to fast-food chains,” said 27-year-old Lyhoung.
Burger Moon has been in business for six months, but before that Lyhoung had been selling burgers on the street for one year.
“I started selling burgers from a small stand along the street. The affordable price and local flavour attracted people to come back for more. Their support helped us move into permanent premises.”
Deciding against attending university, Lyhoung said she found joy in running her small business as cooking is her passion.
“My childhood dream was to open a hair salon or another small business that many women wish for.
“However, my family didn’t support my idea. I listened to their opinion and they supported my other passion, cooking,” Lyhoung recalled.
“I like cooking, especially foreign cuisine. I went to culinary school and now I have mastered the required culinary skills to
operate a burger restaurant and realise my dream of owning a small business,” she told The Post, while grilling burgers and placing them in buns with an assortment of vegetables.
Burger Moon serves freshly-made gourmet burgers featuring Khmer flavours, with each one made from scratch.
“I developed the recipe by combining my culinary skills and the experiences I learned from people who used to work in restaurants serving hamburgers in the US.”
However, Lyhoung admitted that running a small business as a young woman is proving a challenge.
“It was not easy to start a business with only a small amount of capital and minimal experience in managing employees. It’s even harder to decide which supplies are of good quality and reasonably priced.”
Staying true to her experience selling burgers on the street, Lyhoung sticks to an affordable menu and provides fast service to her customers.
Burgers and side orders start from $1 with a variety of burger choices on offer, including pork ($1), chicken ($1.25), beef ($2), as well as a burger with bacon ($1.75), a kebab burger ($1) and a crispy chicken burger ($1.75). Combination meals are also available from $2.50.
Side dishes include fried chicken wings or nuggets (both $1.75) and French fries ($1.87). Extra cheese, egg or bacon can also be added for $0.25 to $0.40.
With business going well, Lyhoung and her husband are already in the process of renovating Burger Moon’s first branch.
“Renovation for the new restaurant will finish soon. It’ll be a bigger space with a nice interior for people to enjoy affordable home-made burgers in a pleasant and comfortable environment,” she said.
Burger Moon is located on Street 402 behind the Vanda Institute of Accounting.
The restaurant is open from 9am to 9pm. Customers can contact the restaurant via telephone (015219010 or 012380388). Orders above $10 are delivered free.