>> Monorom Cambodian Restaurant | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 31 March 2019

Monorom Cambodian Restaurant


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (08 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
One of the best reasons to fly to Long Beach rather than LAX, other than the ease of entry and exit unknown at the latter, is the chance to pop into one of the area restaurants. After dropping off my mother at the end of a recent visit, and an obligatory walk on the beach, we settled into a Saturday lunch before noon and found ourselves amongst a busy dining room dominated with a big group of eight.

Around 60 years ago, and well before the mass exodus from the country that resulted from the reign of the Khmer Rouge, students from wealthy families started showing up in Southern California as part of exchange program with California State University, Long Beach. The ones that stayed and settled in the area were the origins of wider settlement in the 1970's and 80's when many families came to escape conditions back home. Nowadays Cambodia Town is generations old and has everything that goes along with that.

Senmonorom is the capital of the eastern Mondulkiri Province, which borders Vietnam and is home to the indigenous Pnong people and was my first guess about the origin of the name. Upon further inquiry, the owner tells me this word means "delightful," and conjures up a feeling of peaceful simplicity. I think this works well and the menu sticks to a Khmer hit list which is very popular with the community here in Long Beach.

Despite having tried boat noodles all over Thailand and in many places throughout the United States, this was my first bowl of Cambodian-style boat noodles ($7.50 medium, above and below). Despite coming out a glowing red, the dish needed some work with the condiment caddy to fill out the flavors.

The noodles themselves are very nice, springy and chewy and giving the feel of being made in house.

After having the life-changing bowl of loat cha at Phnom Penh Noodle Shack, a few blocks north on Cherry Avenue, it is very difficult to resist a plate of it at any Cambodian restaurant. While the version here may not have the same effects, lot cha ($7.50, below) with chicken still was easily finished and enjoyed.

By the time the food came it was noon and that of course was good enough reason to enjoy a cold Angkor Beer. You can find a lot of reasons to relax in Long Beach, but good Cambodian food and drink is at the top of any list.


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