Of the 30-plus countries the U.S. has bombed since World War II, is any less known than Cambodia? (Perhaps Grenada or Laos?) Beyond Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields, the kingdom of the Khmer remains mostly anonymous. Let’s add a line to the dossier: It’s got good eats. For proof, head to this new cart from Bara Sushi House owner Nyno Thol, a Cambodian-born cook determined to acquaint Portlanders with the greatest hits of Khmer cuisine. The menu changes daily, so there’s no knowing what will be around when you visit. The dishes I had were very good: a pair of soft, baolike buns ($5) wrapped around little heaps of braised pork belly, marinated vegetables, jalapeño slices and cilantro sprigs; grilled chicken breast ($8), tender and smoky and a little sweet, served with rice and salad; and, best of all, khwa ko ($8), a Cambodian sausage stuffed with coarsely chopped pork, beef and rice and seasoned with garlic, galangal, salt, vinegar, sugar, lemongrass and pink food dye. A liquor license is pending, and I couldn’t be happier—that sausage could only be better with a beer.
- Order this: Whatever they’ve got.
- Best deal: Pork belly buns, two for $5.
- I’ll pass: Tiny lychee jellies are fun, but not so tasty.
EAT: Sok Sab Bai, 1114 SE Clay St., twitter.com/soksabbai. 11 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, noon-5 pm Saturday.