Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ding! The Malay fusion food’s here




Ding! The Malay fusion food’s here

Double D chef Luke Ding (left) has expanded the food offerings in Bassac Lane with his Malaysian fusion café .
Double D chef Luke Ding (left) has expanded the food offerings in Bassac Lane with his Malaysian fusion café . Athena Zelandonii

Ding! The Malay fusion food’s here

A small Malaysian-fusion café on Bassac Lane is bringing “elevated street food” to the burgeoning nightlife district around Street 308.

Double D was opened a few weeks ago by Luke Ding, a Malaysian-born and Italian-trained chef who spent 18 years in the Melbourne restaurant scene and relocated to Phnom Penh from Kuala Lumpur last month.

“Back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian food is going through a fusion movement,” the bandana-clad Ding explained last week. But unlike the waves of fusion food in American cities or elsewhere (think Korean tacos), he said, “it’s not so in-your-face”.

At Double D, this fusion takes the shape of a pulled-pork sandwich with Chinese five-spice and nuoc-cham slaw (the ‘Inglorious Bastard’, $7), or steamed mantou buns with a filling inspired by Peking duck (the ‘What the Duck’, also $7).

Double D’s Malay “elevated street food” includes steamed mantou buns with duck (left) and a five-spice pulled-pork sandwich.
Double D’s Malay “elevated street food” includes steamed mantou buns with duck (left) and a five-spice pulled-pork sandwich. Athena Zelandonii

Ding is working on perfecting a salted egg yolk dip – based on a traditional Malaysian garnish for plain porridge – to accompany some of his upscale dishes. Earlier this year, a salted egg yolk croissant craze took high-end bakeries in Singapore by storm.

“We wanted to combine things that don’t usually go,” Ding said. In other words, Double D fuses the street cart with Ding’s culinary background – and a host of regional flavours.

The restaurant’s signature dish – the eponymous Mighty Double D – is beef rendang served in roti pratha with fries on the side. The café also offers a range of salads ($6 each) and a variety of coffees (starting at $1.75).

For dessert, Ding recommended the sago pudding ($4), a sugary Malaysian specialty made with sago pearls, coconut milk and palm syrup.

Ding says his inspiration for Double D was simple. An accomplished fashion photographer, he noted a distinct lack of decent Malaysian food on his frequent trips to the Kingdom for freelance work.

Ding’s sago pudding makes a sweet finisher.
Ding’s sago pudding makes a sweet finisher. Athena Zelandonii

So he quickly teamed up with Phnom Penh resident Ryan Drewe Taylor, the proprieter of the salon upstairs and a former customer of Ding’s in Malaysia.

He and Taylor took the café’s name from their matching initial. “We didn’t know about the bar on the riverside [with the same name],” Ding joked.

Like many of the eateries on Street 308, Double D is open until 10pm, and Ding hopes to draw on those popping in and out of the bars just next door. “It’s good to be friendly with the neighbours,” he said with a grin.

Double D is located at #M114 Bassac Lane, on the ground floor of the Dollhouse salon. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays for lunch from 11am to 2pm and for dinner from 6pm to 10pm.

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