#67 Street 240
Phnom Penh has a lot of places that do barang-acceptable riffs on traditional Khmer food, and I think Frizz is one of the most venerable of their number, operating since 2004 with a remarkably steady amount of popularity. Easy to see why. It's nice and airy inside. The menu has pictures and explains in detail what stuff is. They offer cooking classes. The wait-staff speak English, are friendly, and keep the place clean and functioning well. It's always packed to the gills with backpackers pontificating to one another about the stuff packpackers pontificate with each other about. The usual.
The food is pretty good. Not the best in town, but absolutely dependable Khmer standards with burritos and stuff thrown in for wusses. It's on the Expat Ghetto Road of Street 240, which is full of attractive pastel houses, boutiques selling funky jewelry, and NGO Ladies Who Lunch.
Beef loc-lac, the Eternal Khmer dish. And it isn't hard to see why. The appeal of a bunch of beef stir-fried with a peppery oyster sauce and served on a bed of crispy onion, tomato, and lettuce is not, I think, lost on many people. The version here is decent and a helluva large serve, and they don't forget the egg like many less reputable establishments do. It's the sliced-beef kind of loc-lac, not the beef chunks variant on such. I like the beef chunks kind more, though it can be surprisingly difficult to find. I will, eventually, compile all the loc-lacs I've eaten in town into one gigantic Uber Loc-Lac Post but you know, later.
The fish amok. It's a nuttier fish amok - they use cashews in this stuff. Not really my cup of tea, as I like my amok more light and ethereal and less rich and chewy. The layer of coconut cream they put up top is good - wish more places did that. But this stuff is almost too sweet and rich.
The salads here are quite good, with a lot of flavor and typical Khmer herbs incorporated. I like the Frizz salad with shrimp and chicken. It's one of the perfect dishes for a hot and sweaty day. The standard side-mixed salad is also quite all right. Past couple of times I've ordered it at the office they have brought pure mayo in a bag instead of the tasty mustard-dressing that is supposed to come with it which displeased me, but such are the perils of modern life.
On the cooking classes: my mother and aunt are coming to town next week and the Frizz cooking class experience appears to be on the agenda. Watch this space.
Finally, the eternal question: Why The Hell is It Called Frizz? The website reveals that the Dutch ex-pat who started the place was called Frits. Cambodians couldn't pronounce his name and called him "Frizz." And so it was.