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Japanese tweaked for local palettes arrives for early residents of Koh Pich

Flavours intermingle in Lin restaurant’s hot pot-style soups.
Flavours intermingle in Lin restaurant’s hot pot-style soups. Athena Zelandonii

Japanese tweaked for local palettes arrives for early residents of Koh Pich

As Diamond Island (or Koh Pich), the once-desolate construction site across the Tonle Bassac, slowly takes shape, a growing number of shopping outlets and restaurants are popping up alongside the Beaux-Arts-style apartment complexes, wedding reception centres and European monument knockoffs.

One of the latest is the Lin restaurant and café, the first Cambodian outlet of a chain that already has about 70 restaurants in Japan. And much like the architectural style of the new island suburb, Lin imports foreign dishes and adapts them to cater to Cambodian palettes.

Japanese-style hamburger patties.
Japanese-style hamburger patties. Athena Zelandonii

Manager Sarun Sreyleak explained that Cambodians preferred their food with more powerful sweet, salty and sour flavours.

“We are here to present native Japanese food that is different from other Japanese restaurants in the Kingdom,” she said. “Our dishes are native to Japan but we are trying to adapt the flavours for local people.”

Rather than sushi or barbecue, the speciality at Lin is soup. There’s the hot pot – where seafood, chicken, salmon, tofu and vegetables are cooked at the table ($5 to $7) – along with the similar Japanese-style suki yaki soup ($6 to $8), which has sake added to the stock.

Catering to those not in the mood for only soup are hamburger patties with rice and pork soup ($5), barbecue beef and vegetables ($5), nanban (fried chicken with soy vinegar dressing $3) and teriyaki chicken ($3).

The spartan interior of the Lin restaurant, managed by Sarun Sreyleak, contrasts with the area’s architecture.
The spartan interior of the Lin restaurant, managed by Sarun Sreyleak, contrasts with the area’s architecture. Athena Zelandonii

“Most people like our chicken meat with sour ginger sauce,” said Sreyleak. “But the best dishes that we serve are the special Japanese soups on the charcoal cooker with Japanese rice.”

For dessert, Sreyleak recommends the waffle parfait, which has cake with ice cream and mixed fruits such as apple, melon, banana, grape and strawberry and costs $3.

Lin has been open since March, but there will be grand opening this Saturday with a magic show and fashion show from 6:30pm.

Lin café and restaurant is located at #A03/04 La Seine, Koh Pich. It is open from 8am to 10pm. Tel: 012 413 401.

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