Sasha kept telling me about this noodle house that she ate at that was right in the middle of a residential area. Nestled on Cherry, between PCH and Anaheim, this little place would be easily missed. A little tip from a city official, we got the scoops on this place. It was the first time for me and I had to investigate.
"It's not pho... it's Cambodian style soup noodle. And you gotta have the dipping bread, too."
This made me very, very curious.
We walked in and the place was pretty busy, family owned restaurant.
I had to stand and stare at the menu for a while. Read it about 5 times but I couldn't figure out what the deal was... and just as I stood there, dumbfounded, a well spoken young man asked if it was my first time there and if I needed any help. The dude ended up being the owner's son, who's been trying his hardest to bring authenticity to this little family owned restaurant and to stand out in this city with among all the pho restaurants.
Me: Yeah, I could use all the help I can get.
Son: You guys have a seat right here. I would suggest you both get the Phnom Penh House Noodle, dry style... especially if its your first time.
Son: I'll start you guys off with a meat pie, a sesame seed bun, and a couple of breads that you dip into the soup.
I actually had all these breads before. What I did not know was those long breads are used to dip into the broth. I told my mom about it and she told me "you already knew that! you used to dip that bread into soup all the time in Chinatown as a kid!" Ok, ok, I didn't remember that.
That meat pie was excellent as an appetizer. Just a few minutes later our noodle delights were brought over. Just from the smell of it I knew I was about to have something different. I was pretty stoked already, before even tasting the noodles or broth. It had to be good. I knew it was going to be.
And it was VERY GOOD. If you've been reading my food posts, you know I like to eat all the "nasty bits" or the "grisly bits" that most do not have the taste for. And if you've been reading this far, you probably enjoy all the bits too. If you do, you would have no problems eating here.
The noodle is vermicelli style, served with pork, pig liver slices, shrimp, green onions and cilantro. The meats were excellent and the slightly salty pork brought it all together well. It did have a hint of sauce on the noodles too.
The broth comes with this big bone that's urging you to gnaw on it. It also wants you to eat the bone marrow out of it, if you're into that. I was pretty fucking stoked seeing this huge chunk sitting there in the broth. It was a huge bonus. I immediately went into my "where have you been all my life" speech with the food laid before me.
I wasn't sure how it was all supposed to be eaten, so I went back and forth with dipping the noodles into the broth like "somen style" then putting some broth over the noodles. I took a peek at how others were eating and it looked like they first put the bed of bean sprouts over their noodles then slowly pour broth into the noodle bowl throughout the course of their meal.
I'll eat it that way next time. Stoked to find places like this. So much going on, so many new flavors, that it was a pretty busy little lunch. All for about $12, before tip.
I was told by the Phnom Penh Noodle Son that this is the only Cambodian noodle house like this in all of Long Beach and possibly Southern CA and he only knows of one other in CA, which is in San Francisco.
So if you're into noodles and like eating the entire pig or cow (like the rest of the world does without griping about it), you need to check this place out. I give this place my highest recommendation.
Street parking sucks but who cares. Deal with it.
Oh, please note that this place is closed on Mondays and only open from 6am to 3pm!
Phnom Penh Noodle
1644 Cherry Ave
Long Beach, CA 90813