8200 NE Siskiyou St., 265-8972, mekongbistro.com. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily.

Portland's only Cambodian-oriented restaurant since the departure of Sok Sab Bai—hidden across from a hair school, save its perpetual grand-opening sign—is as much bar as bistro, with a chili hot wing challenge, house beef jerky ($8) and sports on the TV screens. Its menu, meanwhile, is as much Thai, Lao and Vietnamese as Cambodian, situated amid the cross-hatching of neighboring river cultures. Cambodia's best-known dish, ah mok catfish in banana leaf, is a little limp in rendition here. You'll find some of the most fun instead among the soups, including a som-law maju krueng ($12) tart with tamarind and sharpened up with a healthy dose of watercress, and kui-tievv Angkor ($12), a breakfast soup that's the Cambodian ground-beef answer to pho; our bartender's professed favorite, however, was the joint's take on Laotian fave khao soi, spicy and swirling with coconut and chili.

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