Okay, I’ve been holding out. Galleymom and I have been having a late lunch at Mittapheap when she goes to the hearing aid, ooh, excuse me, hearing equipment, office. I finally got her to get said equipment, so I don’t have to yell in restaurants. One of the caveats in going with her was Cambodian food, 5 minutes away..
Now, Mom is a true hound. She has loved ever single place I’ve ever taken her to, and, more important, lets me order. But Cambodian even had her skeeved. She said, “If I don’t like the way the place looks, I’m not going. You better find a Vietnamese place (safe, in her eyes) for backup”. Well, she approved of Mittapheap, and was even willing to chance their restrooms (“So clean!”) after I tried them.
The first visit, we ordered conservatively. She actually got egg rolls(“In case I don’t like anything else!”) and we got Chow Foon (dry) with seafood, because I introduced her to the delights of this dish at Su Chang, in Peabody. But then, I got a Papaya salad, with dried shrimp, and one of the Cambodian soups, either N11, or N12, one of the ones with tamarind, eggplant and string beans, and coconut milk….The crowds went wild! The egg rolls were left uneaten, the salad was scarfed down, the soup, which may have contained pahok, was enthusiastically slurped up. It IS in the genes; she craved the Cambodian flavors as much as I do…
So much so, that when the “hearing equipment” was ready, the lure to bring me back was “Lunch at the Cambodian Place, if you want..”…HA!
We went, but no egg rolls were needed this time. I went with the chow foon, because dry fried Cambodian chow foon are delightful…I had to offer her a sop. But I suggested we try a different soup. She was putty in my hands. We did the Cambodian “Kor Ko’, or something like that, soup. Pahok, lemongrass, greens, papaya, pumpkin, roasted ground rice, chicken, and pork. Except, I asked them to leave out the land animals, and only do it with seafood. Fab! Galleymom said, as much as she liked the other soup, this one was even better. Now, this one is way more challenging, the Cambodian national soup. I was so proud. Really, I was verklempt! My mom!
But the real test was one of my favorite dishes, not listed on the take-out menu, so I don’t know the name, but it’s the bottom one on the Cambodian Specialties page…A cooked fish, pahok, and lime juice dip that you scoop up with raw veggies (including raw eggplant). I told GM that she might not like this…I was a little wary. Not bloody likely! She adored it! She was scooping up that pakok-heavy dip with the best of them She liked these more traditional Cambodian dishes even more than the Vietnamese influenced ones I got last time.
To her credit, the waitress remembered us from our last visit, and greeted us enthusiastically (She must have been thinking, “The two white women who order enough for a family!” Well, we ARE hounds….) She even remembered what we ordered. And she did not flinch, or even demur, when we ordered all the stuff with pahok. I loved this.
Mom would have been a little uncomfortable at Floating Rock. And, I have to say, there are more Cambodian choices here, accessible to English-only speakers, IMHO. We pushed the envelope, and were really rewarded.
The Pahok/fish/vegetable dip was basically the hard-to order long bean salad that you can get at FR, but mixed together. Here, the items are deconstructed, and you make it yourself. And they serve it warm, here…
We love Mittapheap. We will forge on thru the menu…My Mom is a credit to the hounds…