Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sating a late night hankering

Sating a late night hankering

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
New Hong Kong-style restaurant Tsui Wah serves up fried pork in sweet and sour sauce. Charlotte Pert

Sating a late night hankering

Those hungry for a meal in the wee hours need look no further than Street 63, home to several restaurants where the burners are fuelled by the midnight oil

Getting a late-night bite in Phnom Penh can sometimes be problematic. The chef that burns the midnight oil is a rare breed in the capital – especially mid-week. However, on a short stretch of Street 63, a cluster of Chinese restaurants keep their oily woks over flame well into the wee hours.

The most recent eatery to arrive on the stretch is Tsui Wah, which opened in April at the intersection of Streets 63 and 278, and that’s where we started our late-night eatery crawl one evening this week.

The first entry into the local market from a Hong Kong-based chain, the restaurant keeps cooking until 3am.

With its drab modern decor, white walls, brown tiled floors and glossy blown-up photos of roast-suckling pig and grilled duck, the interior isn’t winning any awards. Nor is its choice of soundtrack – it doesn’t have one.
However, the food is as authentic as the crimson, Confucian shrine in the corner, which is complete with an offering of 10 shots of rice wine.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Despite the name, the Champs Elysees Hotel offers an authentic Chinese dining experience.Brent Crane

The menu is stacked with Cantonese classics such as fried red fish with sweet and sour sauce ($15), steamed minced pork with salty fish ($7.50), broad rice noodle soup with fish balls ($4.80) and, of course, an assortment of duck and other roasted meats. Some of the menu, said general manager Kevin Lee, they had to adapt to Khmer tastes, such as the eggplant with pork, which they made spicier than usual.

“It is busiest in the nighttime here,” said Lee. “Our midnight menu goes until three o’clock in the morning.” Offered from 10pm-3am, the “Mid-Night Special Set Menu” offers up some more adventurous platters, like the shrimp and frog congee (small $18, large $28) and fried duck-tongues with salt and chilli ($8).

Lee said that they planned to setup a Khmer-style BBQ on the street outside during their late-night hours.

Heading south down 63 the next alternative is Geylang Lor 9, an award-winning Singaporean chain named after its street address in the city-state and which focuses on Chinese-influenced dishes. It also stays open until 3am.

The restaurant’s logo may be that of the iconic Merlion, the half-fish, half-lion mascot of Singapore, but the real mascot is the frog.

Served in a blackened clay-pot, a hefty amount of glossy, white amphibian meat drenched in your choice of ginger and spring onion or dry chilli sauce, is the star selection there, both options at $7 for a medium and $10 for large. Plain porridge is served in a clay pot on the side for $1 and mixing of the two is encouraged.

Few drinks pair as well with frogs as beer, and Geylang Lor 9 has a choice of eight, served in the Southeast Asian way, in a tumbler of ice.

For the big-spenders (this is a Singaporean restaurant after all), a modest selection of top-shelf whiskey is also available by the bottle, including Glenffidich 18-year ($85) and Johnnie Walker Gold XR ($175).

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The frog in a hotpot is a speciality of the Geylang Lor 9 restaurant. Brent Crane

Lastly, the dessert menu is not to be ignored, with such enticing options as black sesame dumplings in ginger soup, durian with glutinous rice and sago and black bean in coconut cream, all for $2.30.

Ironically, while named after a Paris boulevard, the Champs Elysees Hotel – our last stop of the night – might be the most genuinely Chinese place along the strip, complete with a KTV, massage spa and faux roman decor on the way to the bathroom.

Such premises are ubiquitous in China. Catering mainly for those hungry after a session of karaoke, the hotel’s dining is outdoors under a marquee near the street, with ultra-attentive waiters who will replace your plate after every bite. Aquariums of ill-fated fish, shrimp and other sea critters line the wall near the kitchen.

The menu is extensive, intimidatingly so. For those needing guidance, waiters such as the sharply dressed Xiao Yang are on hand to make personal recommendations.

According to Yang, the yellow noodle with duck and dumpling soup ($3.20) and shrimp shumai ($1.20) are winners – and he was right.

“Please complain if it is unsatisfactory,” he announced earnestly in accented Mandarin. No complaints were needed.

The condiments selection, presented on a tray, was the most impressive of the Street 63 late-night locales, featuring vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, two bottles of hot sauce and four jars of pickled veggies.

The atmosphere was casual and we saw no attempts at a common motif, unless you choose to count the Looney Tunes themed mugs set on the tables and used as chopstick holders.

Here we didn’t have to worry about finishing our food before they closed. The place runs 24 hours and the night was young.

Tsui Wah Restaurant is located at #157, Street 63; Geylang Lor 9 at #187c, Street 63; and Champs Elyseses Restaurant at #185 Street 63.


  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from