With dim sum a readily available option in the Cambodian capital, editor Marissa Carruthers and photographer Charles Fox sample what Orchidee Pasteur has to offer.
The capital is awash with dumplings and dim sum – in fact, there are so many restaurants serving up an array of delicious dishes that it can be difficult to choose between them all.
Orchidee is one eatery that has stood the test of time and proved a mainstay for both locals and foreigners, who pack out the spacious venue daily.
Catering for breakfast through to dinner, the menu is diverse and covers everything from soups, noodle and rice dishes, through to grilled seafood, beef and sautéed clams.
With dumplings on the brain, we opted for the dedicated dim sum menu, taking our time to pour over the many options: deep fried buns, steamed pearl chicken, vegetable dumplings, steamed taro brioche, deep fried wanton and deep fried shrimps.
After ordering eight dishes, our food was fast to land before us, with the dim sum delivered as they should be, stacked in wooden steaming baskets to keep them fresh warm.
The steamed pork brioche ($2.30) was divine. The fluffiness of the bun balances well with the bite of the sweet pork inside, with the perfect amount of sauce ensuring the bun doesn’t go soggy.
No dim sum dinner is complete without a helping of siew may pork duplings ($2.40), and these didn’t fail to impress. Often served with a rubbery texture, these were consistent and the stuffing was soft to the bite.
The ha kao shrimp dumplings ($2.90) were slippery and fresh, with plump prawns hidden inside. Given a fiery kick by the accompanying chili sauce, the dumplings were so good, we ordered seconds. The deep fried sesame dumplings ($2.10) didn’t look much on the plate, resembling dried out croquettes. But it seems simplicity is the key, and one bite came coupled with a flavoursome reward. Crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle, the sesame paste leaves a delicately sweet aftertaste on the tongue and a yearning for more.
Another dish that was deceptively undesirable to the eye was the meat and onion rolls ($2.10). You’d be forgiven for accusing the kitchen of serving up a stale pain au raisin because, to be honest, it looked just that. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The thin, pancake-like, patties are flecked with chive and pork, with the batter making the savoury bite taste more like a Yorkshire pudding than the aforementioned pastry.
Last up was the ravioli with roast pork dumplings ($2.30). Definitely the disappointment of the day, these are geared towards the more Asian palate, with the overpowering taste of the dried shrimp well and truly shining through. But this may well be the perfect treat for those who are well-acquainted with strong fish flavours.
With an enticing menu spanning plenty of pages, and darn good dumplings on the go, there’s every reason to to try more of their dining delights make a return visit to Orchidee Pasteur.