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A Malaysian dining experience served hot by Uncle Fu

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Victor and Christina Chin, owners of Uncle Fu, a Malaysian restaurant in Phnom Penh. KT/Taing Rinith

Although both Victor and Christina Chin hail from the Malaysian sultanate and federal state Pahang, they only met each other later on while Victor was working as a pilot and Christina a stewardess. Eleven years later, the couple remains happily married and, quite literally, still on cloud nine.

In 2015, the couple had to move to Cambodia after Victor accepted a job offer for Bassaka Air.  Meanwhile, Christina, who quit her job about nine years after their son was born, has been enjoying doing charitable deeds for the people of Cambodia. It was her generosity which led to the creation of their Malaysian restaurant in the capital.

“Here, we have known a Malaysian chef known as Uncle Fu who worked at a Chinese restaurant,” Christina says. “His cooking is very good, but about seven months ago, he lost his job because his boss sold the restaurant. He called us and asked whether we can give him a job. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to help him.”

“In a million years, I would never imagine we would open a restaurant,” Victor adds. “But my kind wife did build a restaurant so Uncle Fu would have a place to work in. As a show of support, I helped her.” This was how Uncle Fu Restaurant was opened on Street 294, Boeng Keng Kang I commune in December 2019. As time passed, the restaurant has grown to become a popular option for those who want Malaysian dishes in Phnom Penh.

The main attraction, of course, is the food. The restaurant offers a wide range of signature Malaysian dishes, some of which come with a Chinese touch. Their menu prides affordable and sumptuous dishes as the Bak kut teh priced at $5 and Char Kway Teow at $4. We recommend Samba Lala, the stir-fried Lala clams with homemade chilli sauce, at $6.5 and the savoury Salted Egg Yolk Prawns at $13, which goes along very well with steamed white rice and Chinese soy sauce. Some other popular dishes include the Fish head curry. Their Chilli crabs dish has to be ordered at least a day in advance since the fresh meat and other ingredients are brought into the restaurant every day.

Samba Sala and Salted Egg Prawn, served with steamed white rice, offer a perfect balance of flavours to customers. KT/Taing Rinith

“Uncle Fu believes in cooking to perfection and will showcase the fruits of his secret recipes that would make customers reminisce a home-cooked meal,” Christina says.

Uncle Fu also provides diners with a unique eating atmosphere. Having a degree in interior design, Christina chose to decorate her restaurant based on a minimalistic design, modelling the rooms after a dining room of a typical Malaysian household. Though there is nothing fancy about the space, it offers a relaxing and home-like atmosphere with simple but comfortable furniture.

“We also uphold environment-friendly practices, which means we use biodegradable meal boxes and plastic straws,” says Christina.

During lunchtime, the busiest time of the day, Christina, despite being the owner, is seen serving her hungry customers while her husband stands back and takes note of the customer response. In those times, Christina’s previous experience as a stewardess comes in handy. “I try to serve our customers as if they are passengers of business- or first-class flights,” Christina says, laughing. “The difference? On such flights, I did not take orders from passengers!

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