new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Shawarma: One of Lebanon's Better Innovations

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shawarma: One of Lebanon's Better Innovations

Sisowath Quay, near Mao's bar and the Night Market
023 720 011 for delivery
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Shawarma are a staple of late-night drinking life throughout much of the world - though curious enough, not the USA - and Phnom Penh's barhoppers have taken to these Lebanese pita bread sandwiches in a big way.

Which explains the two PP outposts of Shawarma, specializing in various riffs on the theme, along with a variety of Lebanese snack items, all at delightfully cheap prices. There's chicken, beef, kafta, shish taouk, kebbe, and lamb varieties on offer, as well as whatever specials strike their fancy. There's also hummus, feta cheese salad, falafel, and some phyllo-dough Lebanese pastries on the menu. They also deliver for a buck, which is convenient when you want to eat something incredibly messy at work.

Chicken shawarma with garlic sauce ($3.00) is pretty much my simple-and-good standby, and, as the place is apparently owned by Genuine Lebanese People, it really is good. Fresh pita bread warmed on a griddle with marinated chicken, fried onions, creamy garlic sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mint. Yum. Shawarmas fall apart within about five seconds of being bitten into in my experience, especially when you're drunk, but they provide plates.

Shawarma also offers excellent fresh hummus, served with pita bread. A drizzle of olive oil and some kalamata olives on top. Definitely satisfies my occasional, profound hummus cravings. Very smooth and not grainy like some efforts around here.

Vegetarians will be happy to know they are adequately provided for here in the Lebanese junk food department. The falafel, as is to be expected, is excellent.

It's a little restaurant with overly bright lighting and some cool paintings on the wall, and you can watch the cheery waitresses make your sandwiches while sipping on an Orangina. Music wise, there's always either Akon singing about how he wants to fucckkk you fucckkk yooouuu in autotune, or sentimental 70's music on in the dining area. It's almost to the Pavlovian point where listening to Akon makes my boyfriend and I really want to eat shawarma.

There's one outlet on Sisowath Quay, open all day and until around 9:00 PM, and another outlet on Street 51, across the street from the Heart of the Darkness, that opens around 9:30 and closes at - sometime really, really late, as I've seen them still putting shawarmas together in the vicnity of 5:00 am. (Admitting freely I have spent time wandering the skeezy environs of Street 51 at unholy hours of night here, but I think that's a rite of passage for new Phnom Penh expats....right?

1 comment:

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