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Brief Angkor Borei Report

I went to Angkor Borei last night for Cambodian food, part of a large party. We had a LOT of food, including a few things I hadn't tried before (and many that I had). The seafood here is really the highlight for me, and I found other dishes to be less interesting.

Fish with tamarind sauce was delicious. Big serving of sauteed fish topped with sweet and spicy tamarind sauce; contained lots of garlic, bell peppers and chili peppers. Served and eaten with slices of cucumber.

The cold noodles appetizer consisted of cold noodles (surprise!), cucumber, carrot shreds, bean sprouts and a delicious coconut milk/fish/curry broth that got spooned over everything. I had never had this, I'd definitely get it again.

The ahmohk is still my favorite dish here, and it was great last night. This fish mousse is really delicate and flavorful, lots of lemongrass and a soft texture with chunks of fish and shrimp. Served with a sauce of lime/chili/garlic/fish sauce. I highly recommend this dish if you haven't tried it.

Spinach leaves appetizer was great as usual. I should start making this at home.

Last highlight for me was sauteed spinach with what I believe are soybeans. Small brown beans, very flavorful addition to the simple sauce.

I enjoyed the papaya salad, squid salad, various tofu/chicken/veggie dishes too, but none were super special in my opinion.

Service was wonderful as usual, this is a great neighborhood spot.

Dave MP

Angkor Borei
Mission St @ Cortland in Bernal Heights, SF

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  1. I've never had particularly good luck at Angkor Borei, and thus am not a fan despite its very close proximity to home, but OTOH I've never tried the ahmonk. Guess it is time to give it another try!

    Do you know what type of fish was in the tamarind sauce?

    Thanks for the report;

    Susan

    3 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      I'm not sure what kind of fish it was. It might have been catfish, since it had that kind of texture, but I'm not sure. It didn't taste at all muddy (I can often taste that flavor when I eat catfish) so either it was very fresh and not muddy catfish, or it was something else entirely.

      You should definitely try the ahmohk. We had the combo fish/shrimp ahmohk, but in my opinion the shrimps don't do much, so there's not a big difference between the fish one and the combo one.

      Dave MP

      1. re: susancinsf

        The ahmok's one of my favorties, too. I also love the "stewed ground pork," crispy rice chips, "fresh spinach leaves," "slices of beef," and char toum plang (spicy prawns).

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          The ahmok, sauteed spinach with yellow beans, stewed ground pork and char toum plang are our standards here, as well as the occasional "Cambodian crepe," which is very much like the Vietnamese crepe called banh xeo -- Lotus Garden does a better one but this one is a nice addition to a meal.

          I agree that you can also find yourself with very boring food at Angkor Borei, so try these dishes and perhaps you'll see the charm.

      2. I miss angkor wat :(
        Angkor borei was ok, but the balance of flavors just was not as good, and everything was way too salty for me. and I like things more on the salty side usually.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nianfong

          At this meal, I didn't find anything to be too salty at all (and I tend to *not* like things on the salty side).

          However, I once got a curry at Angkor Borei on a different visit that I found to be too salty. So perhaps they have off nights.

          Dave MP

          1. re: Dave MP

            The best meal I had there was with a large group. I wonder if it is possible they put more attention into groups....doesn't seem logical, but I wonder. I haven't found the food to be too salty, just not that interesting, and I had some less than fresh seafood more than once.

        2. Neither of us felt like cooking, spending too much, or going far from home tonight, so we figured it was time to finally give Angkor Borei another chance. Thanks perhaps to some of these recommendations, I enjoyed it much more than in the past. Had the stewed ground pork, sauteed spinach, ginger beef and the ahmok. Ginger beef was a bit boring, but the rest of the dishes were very good, particular the ahmok (we got with both shrimp and fish); I had never tried it but thought it was perfect Asian comfort food, which is exactly what we both wanted. I admit that I was a bit skeptical since I have had issues with seafood there before, though that was take-out.No need to worry, it was delicious! The spinach was also very tasty. Service was lovely.

          Will have to go back sooner next time.

          6 Replies
          1. re: susancinsf

            just adding a link...

            -----
            Angkor-Borei Restaurant
            3471 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: susancinsf

              We got delivery from them a couple weeks ago for a family reunion. It was great and ~10 dishes fed 7 for $100 plus tip. The crepe was everyone's favorite, although I love the amok and the curry noodles with vegetables. The chicken salad is good too. There's a menu on their website. In my experience, it's more about careful ordering than the size of the party.

              Free delivery to Bernal, Noe, and Glen Park. It was quick too.

              1. re: susancinsf

                everyone seems to swear by their ahmok, but the one time i had it a few months ago, the bits of fish were extremely dry and overcooked. the mousse-like binding was good, but the actual fish was just awful. i intend to try it again, figuring it wasn't representative of what the kitchen can deliver. i do like the ground pork dip with veggies. who needs a dried-out catering crudite platter with gloppy spinach dip when you can have that savory pork dip, rich with a good hints of seafood salinity?

                so was the kitchen just off that night on my ahmok? because i ended up just plucking the fish out and eating the shrimp and the mousse.

                1. re: augustiner

                  as I say, I have had some seafood issues there in the past, but one of the aspects of the dish I really enjoyed last night was that the fish was in fact very nicely cooked; not dry at all.

                  1. re: augustiner

                    The ground pork with veggies is wonderful. We had gotten two similar dishes, and weren't sure which was which.

                    1. re: augustiner

                      I think your experience was an anomaly, I have never had overcooked fish in the ahmok on any of my visits. They don't do everything well, our favorites tend to be the same as mentioned here (we'll have to try the curry noodles), but the ahmok has always been pretty close to perfect in my experience.

                  2. I ate at Angkor Borei again last night, had a nice meal.

                    We started w/ the chicken salad, which was excellent. Menu describes it as chicken with "a variety of mints, cabbages, red onions cucumbers, bell peppers, bean sprouts, carrots, ground peanuts and lemon-garlic dressing." I thought the flavors worked well together and the mint was refreshing.

                    Shrimp and chicken curry was my least favorite - the curry broth was thin and pretty good, nice lemongrass flavor. But it was slightly underseasoned - not very salty or spicy. The chicken in it was fine, the shrimps were slightly overcooked. So overall, not too exciting.

                    The fish ahmohk was excellent as usual and beautifully presented. The fish was cooked perfectly inside. I really like this dish.

                    For dessert, we shared a fried bananas w/ coconut ice cream. Usually this is not my favorite, and I tend to not really like fried bananas, but these were quite good. The bananas inside were really ripe and sweet and the batter seemed to be sweet, making it almost like a banana filled donut. The coconut ice cream was good but not too special.

                    Service was very friendly, this place continues to be a good neighborhood spot.

                    1. The spinach leaf appetizer is so simple, it's brilliant. Each of the ingredients you can spoon into a tiny spinach leaf are so lonesome by themselves in their individual miniature bowls- cubes of ginger in one, peanuts in another. But put them all together rolled up in a spinach leaf and you have a magic combination of unique, clean, and overwhelmingly pleasing flavors. I'll leave the other ingredients as a surprise for when you go for yourself.

                      1. Has anyone tried the $3.99 noodle soup lunch special they are advertising on the awning this month?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: bigwheel042

                          We tried it on Thursday and wished we had started taking advantage of the special earlier in the month. They consider it basically a pho. You can get the noodle soup anytime after December, but it won't be $3.99 (don't know the regular price). It was very good.

                          1. re: bigwheel042

                            Had it today for lunch. $4.99+tax/tip. Chicken, beef, or pork. Waitress recommended beef.

                            Certainly wouldn't describe it as pho. Broth was flavorful, relatively complex and fatty, with what seemed to be strong fish sauce, fried shallot and black pepper elements. Noodles were the mid-sized rice noodles (not the wide flat ones). Portion size was good but not gigantic. Beef was okay but nothing extravagant. Served with chili paste alongside to add if desired. It's good stuff.

                            1. re: xanadude

                              Before I went, I called to ask about the noodle soup and asked her to describe it. She said, "it's just soup with noodles." When we went in to order, trying to get a bit more detail, I asked if it was anything like pho, and she said "yes, it's basically pho." It's very brothy, with noodles, and there was cilantro, and weren't there sprouts too? Anyway, it's how they describe it themselves, and I would say it's more pho-ish than not.

                              1. re: Atomica

                                I agree. I suppose it's pho-like (relative to, say, sopa de fideos), in that there were noodles, cilantro, and sprouts. I guess it's a matter of degree--maybe a Cambodian homolog of pho--the broth was distinctly not pho-like.

                                1. re: xanadude

                                  But there are many types of pho broth, you agree? I'm used to a heavy type of broth, intensely flavorful, and then there's the type Turtle Tower uses that is extremely light (and I don't like it nearly as much).

                          2. Been to Angkor Borei quite a bit recently--a few lunches and takeout last night. I usually don't do takeout from them, but it's walking distance from home. The female owner has not been around recently--her English is far better than the man's. Last night, he completely misunderstood my order and I ended up at home with mock duck instead of the shrimp/pineapple in yellow curry sauce. I went to bed hungry, but my husband liked it. We got the ahmokh, which again, my husband liked a lot. It's just not for me. If you order from the man and the woman is not there, be sure to have him repeat your order or something, because where he got mock duck in our detailed discussion of the shrimp and pineapple dish, I have no idea. (I called them when I got home and our discussion was unfruitful.)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Atomica

                              "mock duck instead of the shrimp/pineapple in yellow curry sauce"
                              "our discussion was unfruitful"
                              So was your dinner.;-)