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Jan 14, 2002 06:15 PM

Cambodian & Vietnamese restaurants in LA

  • r

Just back from Cambodia and Vietnam where the food varied wildly. Does anyone know of a Cambodian restaurant somewhere between Santa Monica and West Hollywood? Or Studuio City, Sherman Oaks, etc. Ditto a good Vietnamese place. Some of the food was extraordinary and my menu collection is treasured. I'd appreciate any tips. Thanks!

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  1. I just picked up the Moon guide to Southern California so I can play tourist on weekends, and noticed in its discussion of Long Beach it mentioned that there were Cambodian restaurants nearby. Don't have it with me, so will have to go look it up, but that might be a lead for you.

    See a thread below for vietnamese.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SusanB

      Thanks for the Moon Guide 411. I know there is a very large Cambodian community in Long Beach but was hoping for something closer. As a recent NYC transplant I tend to think in minutes and blocks instead of miles. Time to adapt.

    2. The only Cambodian restaurants that I know of in L.A. county are in Long Beach on Anaheim St. Long Beach has a small "Little Cambodia" or "Khmerica" section around Anaheim, Willow, and 10th St. Can't recommend any specific ones because all of the ones I've tried here paled in comparison to the Cambodian restaurants I've been to in San Jose and San Francisco. Would love to find a local place that serves amok.

      Regarding Vietnamese, do a search for "Los Angeles Vietnamese" on the Chowhound home page--there are way too many options to list. A recent string listed options near the West L.A. area. Of course, you really should venture south to Westminster/Garden Grove to explore the countless authentic restaurants in Little Saigon.

      Don't you think it's worth driving an hour south to get the food you had to travel halfway across the world to get a taste for?

      7 Replies
      1. re: Chris G.


        Absolutely right. But I've been hitting Vietnamese places in NY, London, etc. before going to THE place. Which reminds me, there is a great little Vietnamese restaurant off a foul alley in Frankfurt, down many steps, and into the shock of good Vietnames cooks speaking German. Took some Brits there who were a bit puzzled.

        Yes, you're correct. Into the Car. Into the Woods. And you're on the nose....driving is not quite as interesting as prowling the back market streets in Hanoi or Saigon, but I'm off.

        Thanks for the tip.

        1. re: Ralph Pine

          Good luck and let us know if you discover anything good! I'm a former New Yorker as well, and it took me a while to adjust to the distance thing. But on a trip downtown to R-23 last night I was just thinking how it could take me anywhere from 30-45 minutes to go from 28th St. downtown to Soho or Tribeca, yet I managed to go from North Orange County to downtown L.A. in about 25 minutes (of course, traffic was really light). In terms of time, things are about equal . . .

          Should you ever make it up north to the Bay Area, you should try Che Sovan (in Campbell, near San Jose) or Angkor Wat (on Geary St. in SF). There are some great "divey" Cambodian restaurants in downtown SF, too (can't remember the names though).

          1. re: Chris G.

            Do you happen to know the name and address of that Vietnamese restaurant in Frankfurt? I have to go there in March, and I'd like to check out something in addition to the Thai restaurant I normally eat at there. Thanks!

            1. re: Chris G.


              Boy, did I search through piles of files and assorted stuff. Here goes: Hai-Au, Munchener Strasse 35, 60329 Frankfurt. 0 69 23 22 59 tel. Off the Kaiserstrasse near the Hotel Victoria. Past a fair number of enterprising men doing drug deals, and at the end of an alley and down the stairs. I wouldn't necessarily feel that one had to dress especailly for this place. Funky is the word that comes to mind. But at the end of a long day at the Messe a couple of beers and their kitchen hit the spot.

              There are one or two fancier Vietnamese places you can locate online. This is just so close to the cluster of htels around the rail station.

              If you go, would you let me know if it is still as I remeber it?

              Thanks. And hello to Frankfurt.

              1. re: Ralph Pine

                Sounds perfect. I'll be with a bunch of musicians so drug deals, funkiness, and not having to dress up is fine with us (in fact, all of the above are a bonus). Thanks for the effort! I'll definitely give you an update.

            2. re: Chris G.
              Adrian Hopkins

              I agree with your recommendation there. I used to live 2-3 blocks from the place when I lived in SF. Since that was the only Cambodian eatery I've ever been to, I can't say whether it was good/authentic for Cambodian, but it really was an excellent resturant IMHO, and obviously distinct from Thai.

              Unfortunately, I wasn't very well off financially back then, and only went there for lunch every month ago. I recall the pineapple chicken soup & the curries were some of the best I had.

              Are there any dishes from there you might recommend? I will try to give them a visit the next time I go back.

              1. re: Chris G.

                Thanks for the 411. 28th Street. For many years my office was at 260 Fifth Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets. And my friend Dan Kobin opened Dano's next door. Many an afternoon with Peter who was the chef at that time.

                Thanks again.

          2. I am pretty sure there's a Cambodian restaurant downtown (LA), but a thousand apologies b/c I can't think of the name or whereI found out this morsel of info. Anyone?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lisa Bee

              Thanks for the tip. I'll do a little detective work and hopefully find the place. If I can find joints in Phnom Penh, can L.A. be too difficult?

              Thanks again!

            2. Ralph, there is a Vietnamese restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. near Federal in West L.A. (north side of street, middle of the block). Forgot the name, you can't miss seeing it.

              Kriss and I had some splendid meals in Little Saigon, and are putting together a meal for chowhounds to join us. Please come, your expertise will be invaluable. (I too am an ex-New Yorker, you'll get used to the driving.)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sandra W.

                Thanks! SMB and Federal is a piece if cake (rice). Going to give it a hit. Please let me know when you all decide to pull a dinner together. Gee, I miss dim sum mornings in Chinatown in NY. That ole Number 6 train stops at Canal and makes it all so effortless. Jing Fong or Ping's?

                Thanks again.

              2. Ralph,

                If your Cambodian search yields you nothing geogrpahically desirable, I offer a recent discovery I made in the aforementioned Hmong/Khmer enclave in Long Beach. Siem Reap is at 1810 E. Anaheim St., a couple of blocks west of Cherry. I went in a few weeks ago intent on exploring authentic Cambodian cuisine, and had a winning seafood hot pot ($12.95, as I recall)brimming with whole baby shrimp, large chunks of fish, and a broth which recalled elements of both Thai and Vietnamese dishes I'd had. A side plate of chilis allowed me to control the heat, but I imagine they would have made the broth spicier had I requested it. Whatever spice I dealt with was countered by an iced tea, done Thai style with sweet condensed milk, but displaying some flavor nuances I had not encountered in any Thai version. The portion was more than enough for two people, and I had ample leftovers. A couple of caveats: however Chowishly apt, as we are wont to seek ethnic as it should be, limited English is spoken here. Additionally, there is entertainment on the weekends, and after 8 pm the place basically operates like a club. They will charge you for a mere glass of tap water. As long as you're aware, it's a small price to pay for the opportunity to savor this cuisine as few in our country can.

                Siem Reap Restaurant
                1810 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach
                (562) 591-7414


                1 Reply
                1. re: Kriss Reed


                  Thanks for the Siem Reap tip. One of the greatest meals I've had in years of traveling in Asia was in Siem Reap of all places. I confess that it was at a L'Grand Hotel de Angkor but my dining companions agreed that it was something very special. So I'll toddle down to Long Beach and give it a hit. Thanks again.

                  P.S. My own home kitchen is almost exclusively Asian and has been so for many, many years.