Sovana Restaurant has something for everyone – From the basic fried rice, veggies and grilled meat dishes to more exotic dishes such as roasted bees, ant larvae and raw crab salads. And you know its good because it is packed every night of the week with hungry expats and locals alike. It is considered a decent restaurant to bring even the fussiest eater who will enjoy the succulent grilled beef, the stuffed squid with pork, the fresh herb salads and of course the jugs of beer.
Mick and I arrived early on a weeknight to a heaving restaurant and got shoved into a weird back corner table to wait for our friends. A cooling jug of beer with ice was of course ordered – Angkor I believe – and then we ordered a couple of grilled dishes (beef, pork & chicken) plus some fried veggies while we waited. This restaurant has a sister restaurant down the road – Sovanna 2 which is bigger, and has more tables outside but seems to lack the good, quick service that Sovanna 1 does. Its def Our first dishes arrived just before our friends did and we got stuck into the meats. The chicken was succulent and full flavoured, the beef was juicy and cooked to perfection and the pork ribs were chewy nuggets of awesome. All of these were served with the distinctive Khmer condiment – Kampot pepper & lime!
Once our buddies arrived, we got to ordering more dishes – raw prawn herb salad, raw crab salad, grilled prawns and stuffed squid. My favourites were the raw prawn salad and the stuffed squid. The salad was made up predominantly of sawtooth coriander which is a very popular Vietnamese and Cambodian herb from what I can tell. It doesn’t taste like normal coriander but is very fresh tasting…hard to describe! Maybe like a cross between Vietnamese mint and regular coriander? I have found it at Asian grocery stores in Australia before and it is amazing in Tom Yum soup! But I digress…back to Sovanna.
The salad was a touch spicy, but not that spicy, and the stuffed squid was out of this world. The last time I had stuffed squid this good was in Vietnam when Mick and I went in 2008! It was perfectly cooked, not chewy or rubbery, the minced pork filling was perfectly seasoned and so yummy that we ended up ordering more! I would go back again and again for that squid….I’m even drooling now thinking about it.
The total bill for many jugs of beer and many dishes of food for 4 people came to ~$35. That’s right, <$9 each! Will we go back? Yes. Yes indeed.
Sovanna Location – St.21, Tonle Bassac (Between Sihanouk & St. 294)