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Restaurants & Bars

Providence Cambodian

Providence Cambodian

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Providence Cambodian

George Kappus | Oct 31, 1999 07:55 PM

I have made frequent trips to Providence over the last six months and have been surprised and delighted with the variety and quality of Cambodian food available there. (I am speaking of traditional Cambodian cooking, not the Cambodian fusion served at Neath's, which I have not tried.)I particularly recommend Asian Paradise at 165 Angell Street. ((401) 454-0222.) Be sure to try the nam sod and the loc lac. The former is a dip made of ground meat (I prefer pork) in a curry/peanut matrix with herbal overtones. The morsels of slightly fatty meat meld with the spicy-sweet sauce to form a perfect dip. Nam sod is served with commercial, rainbow shrimp crackers and home made rice cakes for dipping. Both make perfect sponges for the sauce.Loc Lac consists of cubes of meat (traditionally beef) and onions in a savory, slightly spicy, brown sauce. What sets the dish apart is a second sauce, whose main ingredients are lime juice and black pepper. This is served separately to be poured over the beef. The combination of savory, citric and peppery is unlike any other dish that I know and satisfies a craving for that flavor combination that I frequently have but have never been able satisfy fully with non-Cambodian food. (Warning: the beef can be a little tough, but the unique flavor combination makes up for it.) Everything I have ever had at Asian Paradise has been good with the exceptiom of Plear beef, a yum-like salad that I found dull. To me Asian Paradise is at least the equal of west coast Cambodian restaurants. (Caveat: I have eaten a number of times at Angkor Wat in San Francisco and at a couple of places in Long Beach, but I am far from an expert on California Cambodian.) If you go to Asian Paradise, go for the Cambodian. The owners are Cambodian, and I can't vouch for their vietnamese/thai/chinese dishes.I also like Aspara, a short block off Elmwood Avenue (Rte.1) south of downtown Providence, for one dish - - Cambodian Fisherman's (Farmer's?) soup. This is a chicken broth with chicken, cilantro, lots of black pepper and pickled lotus root. The lotus roots are mostly crunchy and sour and look like tiny rigatoni.I anyone has other Rhode Island Cambodian favorites, I would like to hear about them before my Providence travel comes to an end.

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