A few weeks ago, some of you may have caught my rants and raves of 2013. I ranted about how Fairfield County doesn’t have enough quality ethnic restaurants. Now… just a few weeks later – I hear the buzz about a new restaurant that opened in Fairfield. And get this …. its a Cambodian restaurant! Hallelujah!!!!
Of course, I had to go there. Actually, I ran! Royal House Cambodia. I have never been to a Cambodian restaurant, but I expected that it will be a cross between Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
Noodles. Dumplings. Red Curry. Green Curry. Spring Rolls. Papaya Salad. You get the idea? Right. It was delicious, unusual yet familiar in flavors and textures. The difference was that these dishes were lighter and more delicate in compositions as compared to Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. Typically, after most asian meals, I feel thirsty for a long while. Does that ever happen to you? The reason being the high amounts of sodium in each bite. Its hard to realize just how much salt you are intaking because other flavors like spicy, sour and sweet are pretty strong in the dishes as well – and they mask the saltiness. But I was happily surprised that I did not feel thirsty after eating at Royal House Cambodia. Good sign, I say!
Khmer Fish Cake was so flavorful. I wasn’t crazy about the exterior texture though – a little tough and chewy. But the flavor more than made up for it.
Steamed Dumplings were so delicate and light in texture and flavor. It was clear that deft hands have prepared this dish. Served with house made soy sauce, it had a winning mixture of pork, shrimp and herbs. Delish!
Nyoya Misua, a traditional Khmer street food, it was light in mouthfeel but packed a punch of flavor. With a dusting of chili powder on top – it put my mouth on fire … in a good way!
Grilled Whole Fish was dramatic and unexpected. I loved how it was wrapped in banana leaf, and then cooked over fire. The smoky flavors from the fire seeped deep into the fish through the banana leaf – and that is how it arrived at the table with a luxurious, spicy sauce on the side. You can chose between Tamarind-Pineapple sauce or Fresh Basil sauce. Both are winners. Discover your favorite!
For dessert, we tried a Sweet Sticky Rice Pudding made with coconut milk and corn! It was so unusual. The sticky rice and coconut milk made it a comforting bite. While the corn added texture. There was light sweetness from coconut milk and corn – with a touch of salt to bring out the flavors and balance. The salty touch reminded me of how a lot of the new american restaurants are bringing this flavor element into their desserts – and everyone is cheering the unexpected genius of it all! Yet this is something that was being done in Cambodia for ages!
I really enjoyed my meal at Royal House Cambodia. There is so much I still wish to try. The restaurant is fairly new and it is family run…. so be patient with service when you go. Enjoy!
Royal House Cambodia | http://www.royalhousecambodiacuisine.com