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Mar 28, 2011 10:24 AM

cambodian fish amok

Hi all,
I recently returned from a long weekend in the Bay Area and, unsurprisingly, ate really well.
We had a particularly memorable meal at a delightful Cambodian restaurant in San Jose. I used to go to the old Cambodian place in Ft. Greene and liked it, but the offerings at this restaurant were way, way better. I never had fish amok before and I fell in love--coconut, egg, fish, ginger custardy, mousse-y goodness steamed in a leaf? Yes, please. Help me find this dish in New York!

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  1. I don't know of any Cambodian places in NYC any more other than the Cambodian cuisine food truck (same owner as the place in FG, though I don't think the amok was very good there back in the day). I always hear of some possible Khmer eateries in the Bronx, so you might want to make it your spring project to wanter around there.

    Othewise, a Thai haw mok is much the same, though I don't think it would necessarily be gingery (and different cooks emphasize different herbs in an amok/ haw mok). I saw some haw mok for takeaway about two weeks ago at the little Thai grocery store directly across the street from Sripraphai. I think, but am not sure, it might have been made by Ayada.

    64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

    77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

    3 Replies
    1. re: mary shaposhnik

      I figured the Cambodian truck was my only possibility...i'll take your word on his version of amok.
      I'm surprised i've not had the Thai version of this but I'm psyched to know it is within reach. I'll investigate the Khmer spots in the Bronx as well. Although, I'm probably in California more often than I'm in the Bronx as the subway ride is interminable.

      thanks so much for your advice!

      1. re: mary shaposhnik

        I've also seen it in the fridges at Sripraphai and Rumphool.

        64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

        57-17 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

        1. re: mary shaposhnik

          Mary, you seem very knowledgable about SE Asian food. Do you know, is there a thai version of amok/haw mok made with crab? I'm searching for a dish I had on the waterfront in Sri Racha some years ago. A little bit like a thai style deviled crab/custard, served in a crab shell. definitely coconut milk in it. Any idea what this is called or if it can be found here in NYC?

          I describe it in this blog post, tho I don't have a pic of it.

        2. In Fort Greene and on the Upper East Side, Cambodian Cuisine served only chicken ahmok (as they spelled it); this does not have the custardy texture of the fish version. Ahmok is absent altogether from the Cambodian Cuisine Torsu truck.

          If you wander around the Fordham section of the Bronx, you might stumble on some interesting chow, but I'll be (pleasantly) surprised if you find any business other than the Battambang and Phnom Penh-Nha Trang markets that have any Cambodian staff. Neither of these markets stocks frozen ahmok, that I've noted, and in any event they're at the far end of that interminable ride to the Bronx.

          You can find frozen, Thai haw moek at various Asian grocers; in addition to those mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I've seen it at the Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco St., in Manhattan's Chinatown.

          My favorite fresh-made haw moek in the city was at Poodams...

          ...which is now closed. I understand, however, that the dish is also on the menu at a relatively new Thai restaurant, Sugar Beets, in Williamsburg. Perhaps you could have a gander and give us a report!

          Phnom Penh-Nha Trang Market
          2639 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468

          Sugar Beets
          227 Roebling St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

          Battambang Market
          229 E Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY 10458

          5 Replies
          1. re: DaveCook

            thanks so much. i'm up for trying the frozen haw moek, as well as the fresh at sugarbeets soon. i may also try to make it a version of parchment? as for the trek to the bronx, i'll just have to make a day of it. i promise to report when i do.

            1. re: bina

              Regarding Sugar Beets: Since I was in the neighborhood last Sunday I swung by, before the restaurant opened (on that day, not till 4:00). Interior design that might have been held over from the previous tenant...


              ...was uninviting, to the point of bleak. I'd like to believe I'm off-base, and that all the effort at Sugar Beets has so far been spent on the kitchen, but I'll let you take the lead.

              Sugar Beets
              227 Roebling St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            2. re: DaveCook

              The former chef-owner of Poodam's is now the chef at the new Zabb Elee. Har moek is on the menu, and though I haven't tried it, I'll bet it's as good as ever.

              1. re: DaveCook

                awesome. can't wait to give it try. as soon as i do, i'll report back. thanks, dave.

                1. re: bina

                  hi all,
                  i made it to zabb elee last week and tried the har moek ($11). it was delicious--very mild, herby, eggy and slightly sweet. I highly recommend it if you are craving this sort of thing. additionally everything my friends and I orded at zabb elee was really darn delicious--from the deep fried pork to the catfish, to the incredible tender beef atop a salad. please try this place if you haven't.

            3. Sugar Club, a small grocery on Bway in Elmhurst, also carries frozen Har Moek.

              Sugar Club
              81-20 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

              1. Random question to all the haw mok experts here. Where I live in small-town Thailand, I have only seen the steamed banana-leaf custard thing at street markets...good but not great as it's not fresh. However, there is restaurant that lists on their English menu an amazing dish called "ground fish curry mixed with curry banana leaf" but I've been assured by Thai-script readers that it says haw mok in Thai. Can someone read the photo and confirm?

                But it's absolutely not the same thing. The fish is ground up, there is a variety of seafood mixed in, including chunks of fish, shrimp, mussels and clams, and ginger is a HUGE feature, then the whole mixture is wrapped in foil and steamed, but it does not form a solid shape like the banana-leaf version does. Is this a different, but still authentic way of making similar ingredients into a somewhat similar dish? Maybe it's simply faster? This isn't a restaurant for foreigners by any means, and this dish is only listed as a hand-written fact it disappeared at one point when for some reason the owner switched menus with her sister's nearly-identical restaurant, so she now has different hand-written items on the menu. I had to get this photo by going to the sister's restaurant (where her sister does not make it).

                Never got around to taking a better picture, only have this crappy mobile phone photo...not sure if it's helpful or not!