Top Ten Khmer Foods: #4 Kway Tieov Beef Noodles
4) Kway Tieov beef noodles
Rice noodle soup’s a staple in many Asian cuisines — the Vietnamese have their Pho, the Malay have Assam Laksa, there’s Burmese Mohinga and Indonesian Soto Ayam. But there’s something special going on with the beef Kway Tieov at a small roadside restaurant across from the Tbong Khmum district hospital 30 km outside of Kampong Cham Town. Unlike traditional Khmer Kway Tieov broth, which is generally a clear broth with a pork or beef + fish base, this broth is a dark red, rich soya beef bonanza, very similar to Taiwanese hong shao style beef noodle soup. The noodles come seeped in this miracle broth, topped with greens and falling-apart-tender chunks of beef and are served with a side of bean sprouts and fresh limes. The shameless Cambodians like to add MSG, but I skip that and go for some crunchy dried onions. I’ll also daintily dip my beef chunks in chili before placing them gently on my tongue to melt. These are for early-rises only because people come for miles and the noodles run out by 8am or so.