Fork It: Noodles Before Your Eyes

Jody Hanson, Ph.D / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Watch the performance at the David’s. (KT Photo: Billy Otter)
 
PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) – At David’s Fresh Noodle the mere performance of watching them being made is worth the price on the menu. Nak – the noodle cook from Takau province – cuts of a whack of dough. 
 
He then proceeds to pull, ply and pummel the mixture into shape. The next step in the process it to swing it into the air, stretch it as far as he can and twist it into knots.
 
Once the concoction is as he wants, he cuts off the appropriate amount and dumps it into a cauldron of boiling water. The remaining dough goes back into the fridge until the next performance.
 
Menu Items
 
David’s – named after the owner’s second son – is a cheap and cheerful little place where noodles are the drawing card. Noodle soup with tomato and egg ($2.5), fried noodles with chicken ($2.5) or cold noodles with beef ($3.).
 
First cousins to the noodles are the dumplings. These dough-filled-with-whatever pouches are theme and variation of jaidsa in China,  perogies in eastern Europe or gyoza in Japan. Good peasant food designed to give farmers enough energy to work in the field. 
 
For $2.5 a steaming plate of 10 pork-filled dumplings will arrive. Vegetarians can get the same for $2. Accompanying the dumplings is a small bowl with enough chopped raw garlic to ward off any vampires in the area. Mix with soy, fresh-cut chili and enjoy.
 
Other Choices
 
For the non-noodle and dumpling crowd there are other selections: Khmer loc lack ($3), western grilled cheese sandwich ($2.5), chicken parmesan ($3.5). 
 
About the most expensive item on offer is the boneless duck at $4. 
 
Drinks
 
Care for a fresh coconut ($1.5) or a made-on-the-spot mango shake ($1.9)?  Hot or ice coffee costs $1, with soft drinks and beer in the same range.
 
Ambiance
 
Grab a drink, take in the noodle performance and settle back to people-watch the comings-and-goings on Street 13. A curious collection of tourists, ex and sex-pats, locals and monks.
 
At David’s people don’t feel rushed into eating to make way for the next round. Instead, it is relaxed and the owner’s kids sit and play games on their phones.
 
Giving Back
 
Som Bath living – the owner of the restaurant – came from a poor rural family. He founded The Spirit of Tom Village to try to help the people there. It is a small scale operation with contributions from sponsors in Australia and Portugal. Photographs of the school decorate the walls. As well as languages, they teach computer literacy and sewing. 
 
Some of the older students come in to work at the restaurant. The idea is that they will get the skills to return to the  province and open their own establishments. 
 
There is an increasing number of items – wallets, bags, fabric products – made from recycled materials. Take a brouse through the cabinet and make a purchase that will help local rural people. 
 
David’s Fresh Noodle
 
#213 Street 13

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