#17, Street 278
I realized recently that the restaurants I eat at the most here in Phnom Penh are rarely the ones I review. Something about incredible familiarity makes me less likely to go ahead and haul the camera with me and do the review – so I’m glad I finally got around to Happa, a great little Japanese/Khmer teppanyaki joint on backpacker-beloved street 278. I happen to frequent the place at least once a week, as do many other long-term expats, who appreciate the reasonable prices and quiet, civilized atmosphere.
Happa’s pork stir-fried with sesame.
The menu focuses on Japanese small plates, prepared in front of you on the restaurant’s big iron griddle, which makes for some rather interesting visuals and assurance that you’re getting pretty fresh food. There’s sauteed small plates of meats and vegetables, main-course dishes with steak, pork, and lamb, salads and fried specialities, and even Japanese pizza or “okonamayaki,” a cabbage and flour pancake topped with bacon and cheese.
The teriyaki chicken here is excellent, nice and tender and not too salty, with some dark meat bits thrown in, which I infinitely prefer. I like to eat this with the oyster mushrooms sauteed in butter.
I’m also a big fan of the fresh tofu salad, which has soft tofu, seaweed, sesame and lettuce tossed in a vinegary-heavy dressing. A nice light stomach-friendly meal. My only complaint with Happa is that the cooks sometimes take too heavy a hand with the salt-shaker, but the issue seems to have been weeded out in the last month or two.