Until the late 1990s, Battambang’s space housed a Japanese AYCE sushi buffet. I would know, having spent my childhood a few streets down. When my parents felt like treating us to a nice meal, they’d truck my sister and I for a seafood feast there.
However, it’s since become a mainstay on San Gabriel Blvd., home to a Teochew Chinese-Cambodian restaurant called Battambang, also the name of a Cambodian province. The restaurant offers an abundance of dishes, ranging from Teochew noodle soups to Vietnamese-inspired Cambodian dishes. An added plus, most menu items are pictured.
Battambang has a pretty big dance floor, extending to at least a third of the restaurant, as well as a stage for band performances. Looks to me like this place is popular for wedding banquets.
We were very impressed with the attentiveness of the wait staff. Very mindful and meticulous about refills, extra utensils and plates, etc. Quite a pleasant experience. Battambang serves pretty tasty iced black tea with free refills.
The first dish to arrive was the “curry fish,” minced and ground fish seasoned heavily with fermented fish paste, served with a side of uncooked greens ranging from cabbage to cucumbers. The dish reminded me of Burmese ngapi yay (watery fermented fish paste served with greens), so I found it natural to eat the dish by dipping the veggies into the plate of ground fish. The curry fish was seasoned well (heavily fermented and salted), with an interesting texture (almost nutty).
The second entree we ordered was the catfish hot pot, braised catfish flanks caramelized in soy sauce and garnished with green onions. This was my personal favorite. Catfish has a very distinct fragrance (perhaps because catfish is a freshwater fish) that was preserved in the cooking. The catfish skin absolutely melted in my mouth.
All in all, a very pleasant meal. I’ll be back.
1806 S San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776