They like to combine their cuisine styles out in Cabramatta. It's common to see Thai/Lao, Chinese/Vietnamese, Malaysian/Chinese and here, Cambodian/Chinese. It says more about the fluidity of food styles than it does about imposed political borders, so don't dismiss these hybrid places as inauthentic.
Battambang Restaurant has been refurbished since they had a fire a while ago, it's had a lick of paint and we miss the hand-written menus on the wall, but it is still a simple hole in the wall that oozes atmosphere. Service is fast and friendly, the boss lady has a permanent smile and between waves of customers there's laughter from the kitchen.
Complimentary tea is served along with an optional fried bread stick and a slightly sweet flat bread for soup dunking.
Next we receive a couple of bowls of clear soup each with a big meaty pork bone. A neighbouring diner is a regular and explains these come free with many rice based dishes.
Fried egg with salty fish and pork mince - $9. A mound of steam riced stopped with an omelette. Some bites of the omelette were more porky or fishy than others, we love the salty surprise when you bite into a fishy bit.
Phnom Penh egg noodle soup - $8.50. Alison goes for the dry version rather than soup, it's a wise choice. The egg noodles have a wonderful bite and flavour. The words 'Phnom Penh' in this context means your noodle soup will have some offal in it, especially bits of intestines and blood cubes.
Banh kanh fish - $8. A clear Chinese style broth with flat rice noodles and fish. If you're in the mood for a simple, refreshing, rehydrating soup then this is a winner.
Battambang chicken with steamed rice - $9 (or $14 with fried rice). Crispy skinned fried chicken paddling in sweet soy sauce that tasted like kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) with chili and shallots. This is the easiest dish to recommend, providing you don't mind a mild chili hit.
Crispy intestine with pickle - $8.50. The strong offal-y flavours are balanced by the tangy pickled veggies. The intestines are fried to a crisp but still retain that tell tale whiff of piggy innards, one for a fan of funky food.
Stir fried vegetable and tofu with rice drops - $8.50. Cut little rice noodles with tofu puffs and token veggies. Served with a light sweet chili sauce on the side. This is quite a plain dish, you can oomph it up with the excellent condiment set provided on every table of red chilli paste and tiny little pickled green bird chillis.
Cambodian lemongrass sweet and sour soup with rice (with beef) - $10. This tangy soup is like a ballsy tom yum.
nb: it's between five weeks between our second and third visits and the lovely boss lady not only remembers us, she remembered what we out on our last visit. Some folks are born restauranteers.
It's packed with veggies and a few slices of meat.
Cambodian nom banh chok - $7.50. Thin white rice noodles in yellow soup with minced fish tasting of tumeric. Somehow we managed to miss this classic dish of Khmer noodles when we went to Cambodia several eons ago. The information superhighway tells us this dish is similar to the Thai kanom jeen - here's a couple of great posts on it at Eating Asia and Travel Fish.
Outside tables also available - great for watching the world go by. Also a bit less squishy than inside.
Battambang Restaurant is at 15/73-79 John Street, in the New World Centre arcade. Ph 02 9754 2120.
View Larger Map