Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside



Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside

My Homeland has already attracted a loyal following.
My Homeland has already attracted a loyal following. Eliah Lillis

Capital gets a pure taste of the Khmer countryside

The recently opened ‘My Homeland’ restaurant promises patrons a nonfried taste of unadultered Khmer cuisine, made fresh every day.

While restaurants serving Khmer food can be found around every corner in the capital, what you’re usually getting is Khmer with a foreign twist, or simply fried meat and vegetables with rice.

But at the recently opened Metophum (My Homeland) restaurant, fried food isn’t on the menu. The proprietors are aiming for something different: truly authentic Khmer countryside home cooking.

This is instantly apparent when the first bowl of prahok– the traditional fermented fish paste – arrives with a generous portion of raw vegetables to go with it.

Adjacent to Beltei University in the capital’s Tuol Sleng neighbourhood, the signage is in Khmer, but the eatery is identifiable by its green colour scheme.

Meas Phanida, Metophum’s 45-year-old owner, makes it clear that this restaurant is for purists.

“We serve only Khmer food options . . . we don’t mix with foreign food,” she says.

The motivation to open the eatery, she adds, has to do with her family’s own home-cooking traditions.

“With my family, I love cooking traditional food. When we cooked for our friends, they liked it so much,” she says.

Phanida, who formerly ran Khmer-French restaurant Lion d’Or, says her desire now is to focus on “pure” Khmer food, which she says needs to be re-introduced to a younger generation increasingly gravitating towards foreign and fast-food options.

The veggies are fresh from the market.
The veggies are fresh from the market. Eliah Lillis

At the entrance of the restaurant is a glass display case where customers can see the freshness of the food: Grilled fish, frogs, pickled crabs and steamed innards sit alongside roasted prahok and traditional Khmer soups.

“We cook about 30 to 40 entrees with desserts each day . . . we serve prahok every day but we change up the soups,” Phanida says.

“We also serve Khmer soup made from mudfish and river fish, which has a savoury taste. We don’t serve fried foods because that’s not Khmer food,” she continues. But the price-point is certainly affordable, with offerings ranging from 2,500 to 16,000 Riels (about $0.60 to $4).

Ingredients are sourced from farmers and fishermen in Siem Reap and Kampong Chhnang provinces, Phanida says. “We have people supply us every day; we pay for the best quality and healthy food for our people.”

Indeed, whatever isn’t sold at the end of the day is thrown out. Meats and leafy greens are all fresh. For Phanida, it’s proving to be a winning formula, especially among visiting Cambodians who now live overseas.

“We see Khmer who live abroad coming to eat in our place because they miss the homeland taste,” she says.

Metophum is located on Street 360 near Beltei University, and is open from 10:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 8:30pm every day. Tel: 097 7 686 977

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The