Cambodian Nachos, Pt. II

Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC), Phnom Penh. This historic establishment overlooking the convergence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers served as an unofficial HQ for journalists who were let into Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. These days, it has been taken over by a lively crowd of ex-pats and tourists, but it remains a well-known institution throughout Phnom Penh. Like most of the bustling restaurants lining Sisowath Quay, the FCC offers an extensive menu covering local Khmer cooking, assorted Thai and Chinese dishes, and a hodge podge of “Western” specialties. However, it distinguishes itself by offering nachos amid the latter category. Needless to say, we ordered them.

At first glance, these had all the trappings of a decent to good plate of nachos: solid corn chips, diced tomatoes, fair cheese covering, and a guacamole whose thin consistency was compensated for by its full flavor. However, like the delicious nachos in Siem Reap, the FCC nachos distinguished themselves through the unique flavoring of the primary topping. At Ivy Bar it was an Asian-spiced concoction of ground chicken, but these meatless nachos advertised “refried beans” that turned out to have a consistency and flavor more akin to lentils. It was a bit like emptying the contents of several Ethiopian sambusas onto a pile of tortilla chips. The result? In a word, rather delicious.

August 12, 2006