Occupation: Nutritionist and Chef
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Angkor Borei
Reviewed Angkor Borei: Monday, February 11, 2013
Angkor Borei has been a hidden gem in the Mission for 26 years. For over 15 years I’ve enjoyed every single meal there, along with the gracious service, and warm ambiance. Of course, the food is the crowning glory. The dishes are imbued with fragrant spices, just the right touch of chili, and always a feast for the eyes as well. An outstanding restaurant bringing the treasures of Cambodia to San Francisco.
Occupation: Radio Host
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Farallon
Reviewed Angkor Borei: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
With Siri emphatically directing our every movement, we exited 101 and twisted toward the Outer Mission. A neighborhood where storefront martial arts studios and local shops line the streets, and even after 7:30 pm people enjoy a walk with their kids and dogs, I anticipated authenticity. We arrived to a nearly empty restaurant, ushered by a beautiful young Cambodian woman to a window table and presented with the menus. Soon people began arriving. A table of 14 in the back, a few other tables, and then the warm sweet aroma of ginger, curry, and other spices. When dining at any culturally specific restaurant I hope to find people of that region at table. I asked one of the couple next to me, “are you Cambodian”? He said “No, I am Thai”- his boyfriend perked up- “Why don’t people think I am Cambodian?” Turns out, he is. He loves the restaurant, asked about a dish his mother makes back home, the young waitress said they did not have it, but suggested something else with a similar flavor profile. He was happy, as were we.
We ordered far too much food, the young woman told us so, while suggesting something we had not thought of- a pumpkin soup. We added the soup and let her know we would be happy to take home anything we did not eat. Did we eat? OMG so good, like a dance at the table, flavors sung to us- dish after dish, with the pumpkin curry being the highlight (only slightly better than the array of flavors and textures we enjoyed). I had my own down home moment at Angkor Borei, as a child, our family functions were catered by a Thai restaurant owned by my aunt. When I tasted the curry in the pumpkin soup, waves of memory returned. Happy moments laughing about shaking presents and quail eggs, surprising that these flavors felt like family. Brightly colored scallions, soft umami warm mushrooms, crisp bean sprouts and dreamy slightly sweet peanut sauce a few moments of heat, and cool Singha Beer. This is a well-priced, neighborhood restaurant where the server out front is most likely the grandchild of the people in the kitchen. There is a pride in the menu and on the plate, and a very happy feeling throughout the restaurant. We will return. For everything- and especially the Pumpkin Soup!
Favorite Restaurant: Indigo Restaurant
Reviewed Angkor Borei: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Angkor Borei is a cozy neighborhood restaurant serving unique Cambodian food. It feels like entering a living room. It is very clean, serving sizes are ample, and spicing is subtle. The décor is warm and homey. Linen is used for tables, protected by a glass top, and linen napkins are provided. Plates and tableware are pleasant. Very important, the noise level is low and tables are not crowded together. It is easy to have a conversation. It is a place for a relaxed meal with relaxed personal service from the owner.
The best dish was the Ahmohk, a delicately flavored fish mousse, with bite-sized pieces of fish that retained a firm texture. It is beautifully presented in a bowl of banana leaves.
We also very much enjoyed a cold appetizer of spinach leaves into which the diner places small pieces of flavorful ginger, lemon, toasted coconut & peanuts. The flavors are united by dripping a small amount of sauce over the elements before popping the whole thing in your mouth.
The pumpkin curry (vegetarian) was dramatically presented in half of an edible squash bowl (I’m guessing a Calabaza squash was used). The tofu was soft and silky and the green beans retained their texture and color. The squash was firm but easy to cut and eat. We enjoyed that the sauce was less rich than some Indian and Thai preparations. We would have liked some more intense spicing.
Our omnivore enjoyed the Chili Chicken, which had a bit more spice than the other dishes. Though it looked like a common Chinese dish, the flavors were definitely different and enticing.
The Cambodian crepe was less successful. There were too many raw soy sprouts and it did not cohere, either physically or in flavors.
A glass of Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc provided a nice crisp complement to the food, as did the Anchor Steam beer.
Our dessert of black sticky rice and mango was good. A large piping hot mug of Jasmine tea was excellent.