Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In the battle of the broths, Man Hao Ji noodles are king



In the battle of the broths, Man Hao Ji noodles are king

The chef at the Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop serves up some Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
The chef at the Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop serves up some Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Charlotte Pert

In the battle of the broths, Man Hao Ji noodles are king

In Taiwan, beef noodle soup is an institution. But one hyped Phnom Penh eatery’s take on the recipe might just give Taipei a run for its money

The Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop, which opened a few blocks back from the riverside strip about two months ago, is a restaurant that takes its Taiwanese-style beef noodle soup seriously. As they should. Beef noodle soup is Taiwan’s national dish. They even have an annual festival in Taipei to determine the nation’s best.

Man Hao Ji’s is served in big white bowls with matching ceramic soup spoons, clean and simple. The bright surroundings are likewise. The floor is fake wood linoleum, the tables fake marble and the walls done in (presumably real) tiles and cream.

When we popped in for lunch recently, the soundtrack was a strange mix of pop instrumental remixes. Men at Work’s Down Under was playing when we arrived, followed by Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger as we placed an order for a couple of bowls.

Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop’s broth is top notch.
Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop’s broth is top notch. Charlotte Pert

It’s often said that the key to good noodle soup is the broth. Whether you’re eating Vietnamese pho, Japanese ramen, Burmese mohinga or Malaysian laksa, the soup should be flavoursome and hearty; there’s nothing worse than noodles served in thin, insipid dishwater.

But that’s not the whole story – you need to get the accoutrements right too.

The chef at Man Hao Ji certainly has his broth down: caramel-coloured, full-flavoured and aromatic, a little sweet, but not cloying.

But unlike some other noodle joints in town, it gets the other elements pretty much right as well. The fresh-pulled noodles are just al dente, they have a good amount of bite to them, and the crunchy, green bok choy is fresh and not overcooked.

The highlight though is the thick slices of braised beef. Cooked for hours in the stock, they’re ‘fall off your chopsticks’ tender. And there are plenty of them too.

A bowl isn’t cheap at $5, but you get plenty of soup for your money.

For those not in the mood for noodley meat soup, there are other things on the menu. We tried a surprisingly satisfying bowl of dry noodles with tomato and egg, and a refreshing but spicy cucumber salad spiked with chilli. However, the drinks list is limited to sodas and tea.

Would the Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop’s noodle soup win the top gong at Taipei’s annual beef noodle soup festival? Probably not. But it would certainly be in the running if there were ever a competition in Phnom Penh.

Man Hao Ji Noodle Shop, #39 Street 118.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be