Sometimes the best grub comes from the most low-key of locales
Set in an unassuming little shophouse behind Preah Yukunthor High School, Yosaya Thai Food was one of the new culinary treasures Post Weekend discovered while researching last weekend’s Cheap Eats Guide 2015.
The restaurant was opened in April by Thai chef Somsak Sumsawai, who churns out a wide variety of cheap, classic and, most importantly, tasty Thai dishes.
“There are many Thai food restaurants in Phnom Penh, but they all have high prices,” Sumsawai said this week.
“That’s why I decided to come here and open one as well – but with a regular price, which is affordable for everyone, rich or poor.”
The place is wholly unremarkable decor-wise, with tiles on the floors and walls, and simple pictures of the dishes.
But it does have that telltale sweet smell of Thai boat noodle broth in the air.
Having visited a few times in the past couple of weeks, we can happily recommend everything we’ve tried.
The stir-fried crispy pork with fresh holy basil leaves and slices of chilli comes in a delicious, sweet sauce ($4), the pad kapow (fried minced meat with holy basil, chilli and string beans) with rice ($1.75) packs a serious flavour punch and the pad Thai ($2.50) is one of the best in Phnom Penh – not overcooked, and with fresh flavours and a variety of textures.
“We cook with our traditional way, so it tastes like the real one from Thailand,” Sumsawai said.
“Thai people like the food that tastes a little sweet and spicy, so we cook that way.”
A few things to note: most of the menu is translated into English but many of the prices use Khmer numerals, so it can be a bit difficult to work out how much things cost, and while the staff are friendly, none speak English very well.
Also, the place gets quite busy during lunch times and the service can be a bit slow.
One Western couple there on Tuesday got a bit stroppy after waiting more than 40 minutes.
However, for cheap, authentic Thai food in an unpretentious setting, you really can’t go past Yosaya.
“Our target is not those high-class people, but regular people,” said Sumsawai.
“We provide them with cheap prices and we want them to taste real Thai food.”
And for the future?
“I have no future plan yet. I just want to develop this restaurant first. But who doesn’t think about having more branches?”
Yosaya Thai Food, #79 Street 105 (On the corner of Street 278).