Craving some Cambodian

Photo By illustration by Mark stivers

My Cambodian-American fiancée and I have been together for nearly eight years now. After developing an early fondness for her mother’s cooking, a recent monthlong visit to Cambodia solidified my love of Cambodian food. After returning from that trip, I discovered that a Sacramento grocery store called Chhun’s Supermarket (6701 Franklin Boulevard) offers Cambodian hot-food items, along with produce and Asian groceries. But I still craved a hot, sit-down Cambodian meal. Thankfully, my prayers were answered when a cigarette-and-alcohol-scented karaoke hot spot called Bamboo Noodle House (6070 Stockton Boulevard) changed ownership a few months ago. Bamboo now serves quality home-style Cambodian fare including Phnom Penh-style noodles (often dubbed “Cambodian pho”), lok cha (a stir-fry noodle dish) and lok lak (a peppered beef stir-fry). And no, Cambodian food isn’t just a botched parody of Thai or Vietnamese food: It’s a centuries-old cuisine that packs bolder flavors than both of them.