Kingdom of Cambodia 2020: Part 8 – A Great Delicious Malaysian Lunch At Café Malaya

malaysian food lunch cafe malaya cambodia phnom penh

(Is there something called the perfect lunch? In Cambodia, this probably be the case with a good dose of sambal with sizable prawns, fish, chicken, vegetables and yes, the good old kangkung and this is a buffet so we can go for another round)

After the end of our self-isolation and getting down to our real work in Cambodia, we by now have established a routine when it comes to having our lunch at our workplace. Since the cost of food is not cheap here as compared to back in Malaysia, we had to be rather picky when it comes to having a good lunch but without burning a hole in our pockets. We had shortlisted our options to just 3 main places – local Cambodia, Vietnamese and of course Malaysian restaurants.

Read the earlier posts:-

Our first lunch experience with Malaysian food was at Wau Restaurant but then again, we now discover that there is another place that even better to our likings. Cafe Malaya is located very near to the tourist landmark at the Central Market but it is tuck in nicely along a street at the back. Given the fact that it is a walking distance from the workplace, it has been one of our “must go” lunch place at least twice a week.

malaysian food lunch cafe malaya cambodia phnom penh

(The fish was not too bony which was just nice and I liked especially the winged beans which I often do not take when I am back in Malaysia. And to top it off is a good dose of sambal belacan which is spicy and sweet at the same time) 

Based on information checked on the internet, this restaurant is actually run by a Malaysian who hailed from the up northern state of Kedah who had married a Cambodian. His wife is the chef and also the main person ensuring the quality and taste of the dishes served is not compromised and stays authentic to Malaysian flavour.

malaysian food lunch cafe malaya cambodia phnom penh

(Rendang main ingredient here has always been beef but then again, sometimes they have it with chicken as well. I think that the rendang is indeed their signature dish here as they have it almost every day and patrons would just go crazy on it, some with another round of helping)

The lunch is served in a buffet style with a flat rate of USD5 for the meal which comprised of one vegetable dish, beef or chicken rendang, one fish-based dish – either in a curry form or a fried fish, sambal (usually with anchovies or egg or occasional prawns) and ulams (which is usually cucumber and winged beans) with a great kick of sambal belacan.

malaysian food lunch cafe malaya cambodia phnom penh

(Yes I know it is very heavy for lunch but then again I don’t take breakfast and we often work till late at night and only get to order our dinner once we finish work)

The restaurant usually changes the menu on a daily basis and on some days, even has tomyam soup or dessert which goes great after a rather heavy lunch. And we found that this restaurant also makes one of the best teh tariks around which is, unfortunately, is not cheap. Priced at a premium of USD1.20 for a small cup, it has been one of the few luxury items that we go for despite the price.

The other plus point at this restaurant is the ambience and cleanliness – the owner’s pretty daughter would always be around to take our orders for the drink and considering the current pandemic, usually at the front with a temperature scanner and hand sanitizer.

And whilst you are enjoying a great meal, in the background, the owner plays hits from the late Sudirman (after all, we still play his song during Merdeka) and the late S.M. Salim (his duet with Zainal Abidin is still one of the greatest hits from him) which incidentally is also my favourites.

malaysian food lunch cafe malaya cambodia phnom penh

(You know that there is a good curry there when you see a good chunk of potatoes in a piping hot curry. It is just too bad there are no large carrots as well – I always loved my curries with potatoes and carrots just like how we usually have it back home) 

Great food, value for money considering it is a flat rate despite the many rounds you can go for the rendang or sambal, it has been the best place to go during lunchtime for Malaysian food. The only problem with this place is that it is a small restaurant so at days, we did find the tables fully occupied and some of the must-have dishes like prawn sambal to run out before we could get our hands on it.

The place to go for great Malaysian food indeed.

To be continued in Part 9

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