The current leg of our trip brought us to Long Beach to visit my two sisters. After learning that Long Beach is home to the largest Cambodian population in the United States, we decided that one of our limited number of meals in Southern California would have to be Cambodian. Based on previous eating experiences here as well as from recommendations by Cambodian friends, my sister Julie took us to Sophy’s at 3240 E. Pacific Coast Highway. While Sophy’s serves both Cambodian and Thai cuisine, we tried to limit ourselves to primarily Cambodian dishes.
Julie, who has the most experience with Cambodian food (both in Cambodia and in Long Beach) ordered the Beef Lok Lak. It was marinated beef atop lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions and came with a tasty lime sauce.
Laurie, my other sister, ordered the Chah MiSuor, stir fried glass noodles with egg and various vegetables. It was especially nice topped off with a little chili sauce. I don’t think it would have been a real Cambodian meal without at least one noodle dish and this was a nice compliment to the other dishes without over-powering them.
Christine ordered the Khmer Ginger Deluxe with chicken. It was stir fried chicken with a soybean sauce (actual soybeans in the sauce) topped with crispy strands of ginger. The chicken was very tender and the crispy ginger provided a nice counter-balance of both flavor and texture.
The dish I ordered had to be my favorite: Such Chrouk Ahng, which was thin strips of barbecued pork. As the pork was sliced thin, it had a nice crisp crust with a little chewiness inside; it had been marinated in coconut milk and was accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce. We asked the server what was in the sauce and were told that it was vinegar-based and contained some sugar, garlic, and a little chili. Like the Lok Lak, it came atop lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro.
With both the Lok Lak and Such Chrouk Ahng, I found it especially tasty to take some rice, add some of the vegetables and the meat, pour the respective sauce over it, and eat it like a little lettuce wrap.
Sharing the dishes family-style, provided a nice balance and variation to the meal. The beef, chicken, and pork were high-quality meats, not at all gristly, and cooked perfectly. The server was exceptionally attentive and very helpful whenever we had questions. Sophy’s was a great choice for my first Cambodian meal; I look forward to my next.