Pizza. It’s a contentious issue here in Siem Reap. Everyone has their favourite joint. Thin crust or deep pan, New York or Rome, marinara or calzone – and that’s before we even get to the cheese.
Claire Byrne/Phnom Penh Post
A Pizza Hand delivery moto.
So amid the rivalry and pizza toppings, a new kid on the block is vying for the title of your fave. Pizza Hand is a franchise that’s big in Korea, and Jaesoon Kim is hoping it will take off in the Kingdom.
The new Siem Reap branch, on Samdech Tep Vong Street at the Central Market, is the second in Kim’s mini empire, with his first endeavour opening in Battambang last year.
Despite describing itself as an “Italian Family Restaurant,” the menu has a decidedly Asian flair. Alongside pepperoni and Hawaiian pizza toppings are bulgogi (a Korean marinated meat dish) and shrimp.
Sweet potato also features heavily on the menu, as a topping and a crust with the "Sweet Potato Byte" (potato-stuffed crusts) coming recommended.
Speaking of the crusts, Pizza Hand’s are rather creative, and divert massively from anything you might see in Rome or Venice. One is stuffed with sausages while another is crammed with gooey cheese.
Burgers and chicken wings are also on the menu, while carbonara, seafood spaghetti and bolognaise add a little more to the Italian element.
For those dining in, the restaurant, while basic, is clean and comfortable, with a couple of tables outside and more within. The staff members are incredibly friendly and eager to please. Though slightly off the tourist dinnertime stomping ground, staff from the children’s hospital and businesses nearby will make for a busy lunchtime trade and perhaps some Hotel de la Paix guests looking for a break from the fine dining will opt for a cheeky room service. Of course, Pizza Hand delivers, but will it just be Temple Town’s Asian contingent ordering or will western Reapers give it a try?
While more along lines of the Pizza Company than Il Forno, it won’t suit a pizza purist’s palette. But if you like dinner on a plate of crusty bread (with a bit of yam and sausage stuffed inside for good measure), then you may just be adding a new number to your speed dial.