City: Phnom Penh (BKK1)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Seating: Indoor and outdoor
Being of Korean descent I am a huge fan of the cuisine. And having grown up in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to dine in some of the best Korean restaurants in the world. Coming from such a high standard it can be difficult to find satisfying Korean fare here in Cambodia and even if one does it can often be very expensive. One restaurant here in Phnom Penh that serves authentic fare at inexpensive prices is Jaru in the BKK1 neighborhood. The best part of a Korean meal at a restaurant is all the free side dishes that come with the meal called "banchan." And Jaru does not disappoint here as they have all the variations, including the classic kimchi. Don't be shy in trying everything because if you finish one plate they will bring out another.
The highlight of any Korean meal is the BBQ and Jaru offers some of the best grilled meat dishes in town. My personal favorite is the BBQ pork ribs which are not only tender and fall right off the bone, but have that sweet and salty taste of the classic Korean marinade.
There are many other great dishes such as the Korean take on Tonkatsu, a breaded and fried pork cutlet that is served with a rich Korean gravy. The Korean version comes out thinner as the meat is pounded to give it a very crispy texture when fried.
I also love the hae-mul-pa-jun which is a Korean pancake loaded with seafood and fried with crispy edges and a salty and spicy dipping sauce. All this and none of the dishes I have mentioned thus far are over $10!
Jaru has indoor and outdoor seating with air conditioning inside and a very modern decor. There is plenty of seating so no need for reservations even though they are busy on most days. The staff is very attentive and well trained as the manager is well versed in the menu and can answer any question about their array of dishes. Jaru opens daily at 10:30 AM and closes at 10:00 PM. For fans of Korean food and novices alike, Jaru is a must visit for all food lovers while in Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Food Scene
Cambodia is surprisingly filled with many great restaurants, from inexpensive to those closer to Western prices. These are just a collection of my favorite places to eat throughout the country.