An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jan 21, 2014
08:50 AMThe Connecticut Table
CTbites: Cuisine of Cambodia at New Royal House in Fairfield
Food is a never-ending exploration, and the latest before us is the food of Cambodia. Fairfield has a new restaurant, Royal House Cambodia Cuisine. Chef-owner Minh and his wife Mandy Truong have come to Fairfield after owning Siam Thai in Chelsea, New York City for 20 years. Siam Thai was written up in the New York Times and Bon Appétit.
Cambodia is a land of rivers and lakes, bordered by the Gulf of Thailand, and nestled between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The cuisine is lighter and features more vegetables and fish than Thai or Vietnamese, says Mandy. “The curries are more watery and delicate, less sticky and strong than in Thailand.” Cambodian cooks use the familiar flavors of basil, ginger, cilantro and lemongrass, and a far wider range of herbs, vegetables and fruits unavailable in New York and Connecticut.
Here’s what we tried:
Springy textured Khmer fish cakes (below), aromatic with lemongrass and hot with red curry. Dipped into sweet plum sauce, studded with chopped cucumbers and onions and dusted with peanuts. The raw carrots and cucumbers on the plate? Eat them. Dip them in the sauce, put them on a bite of fish cake.
Green mango salad is new to us, and it’s got much more flavor than green papaya salad. There’s an unexpected floral sweetness in the green, crunchy strips of mango tossed in lime dressing. Toasted coconut adds a pleasing chewy texture, diced avocado lends creamy richness, and toasted peanuts add crunch. I’m going to have to order this every time.