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Laotian or Cambodian in DC area ?

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Anyone know of any Cambodian or Laotian restaurants in the DC (preferably VA) area? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Did anyone ever find a Cambodian restaurant in the DC area? I've heard there is a "Phnom Penh Restaurant" in Silver spring but no idea if it's authenic or not. I have to admit the South East Asian food options in DC have been extremely disappointing. I've found that at Thai Chili in Gallery Place they will often make a "real Thai dish" if you cans speak a little Thai or explain that you lived there and won't sue if they put a proper amount of spice in the dish. Am I missing some fabulous restaurants out there or are they all only reachable with a car in Virgina?

    3 Replies
    1. re: columbiaheights

      I have never found a Laotian or Cambodian restuarant in the DC area. An ocassional dish scatterd here or there but never an entire menu.

      To answer, your questions, the best Viet Namese restuarants are all in Northern Virginia, predominately in Eden Center near Seven Corners. There is a decent Filipino restuarant on Route 50 and DC overflows with Thai restuarants (although the two best are in Northern Virginia).

      1. re: Dakota Guy

        It depends how far you consider to be a reasonable walk. I used to live just a bit further away from Eden Center than the east falls church metro stop, and I walked there all the time. Easier and sometimes quicker to walk that 15-20 mins (3/4 of a mile I'm guessing?) than rather than dealing with the parking scene.

        Long ago there was a good Cambodian restaurant in Arlington but it closed.

      2. re: columbiaheights

        Phnom Pehn closed a while back.

        If you want decent Asian food of almost any variety your best bets are in the suburbs. I agree with Dakota Guy that Vietnamese is the best represented.

      3. I don't remember the name, but there used to be a Lao place that was a bit of a DC CH favorite. I went once, and the food and the closest to what I remembered from Laos, and featured a sweet and quirky owner. I think that there's some Lao wat in DC that has a yearly cultural and food festival, and you may be able to indulge your Lao food cravings there. (I actually may attend too, if I ever find it!)

        As far as Khmer food, well, I travel to SE Asia fairly often, and Cambodia is the only place where I don't eat the local food. I really don't understand how their food is so lackluster in a place that borders countries with such amazing food as Thailand and Vietnam.

        I also agree that the Eden Center is definitely worth the trip, and you can just pretend that Vietnamese food is Khmer food, but just, magically better....:-))

        2 Replies
        1. re: baltoellen

          Ellen I am with you on Cambodian food, for the most part. With the exception of a few dishes, food was not the highlight of my trips there. Another place that should have great food, but only achieves it occasionally, IMHO, is Indonesia. Great food in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, cross the strait and the fish is either mush or cooked dry, the shellfish are overcooked almost every time, the 'curries' are glutinous messes, even the simple rumah makans are kind of bland. If it wasn't for Sambal...
          Went to a rumah makan near Lake Toba, boiled eggs in the bowl on our table looked a bit dodgey but the nasi looked worse so we asked the lady in charge if the eggs were good, she replied, 'Very good, cooked long time, just 3 days ago!' Not sure if she was joking or not.

          1. re: baltoellen

            Interesting. Khmer food is not like any other in the region and I'm sorry that no one has introduced you to some of it's finer dishes. while I agree the heat and variety of Thai and Vietnamese is extremely tasty, I do love Khmer street food. But it helps tremedously when you speak the local language and live there :)

            So the upshot is no SE Asian food worth mentioning in our nation's captiol. Excellent. The SE Asian wat is in Silver Spring, by the way, and next month there will be a certain amount of festivities if you're Buddhist.