The search for Cambodian food in New York City continues. After some short but basically exhaustive internet research on the Cambodian community in New York, I made a guess that if there was Cambodian food to be had, it would be in the Bronx along Fordham Road. You can see my earlier post and the map showing how much time I had on my hands here.
I took a trip up there after work on Tuesday. As I walked along Fordham Road near the D train I quickly saw that the stores were all pretty high-rent places - national chain stores, fast food joints, and local powerhouses like Jimmy Jazz. A mom and pop restaurant isn't likely to be able to pay that rent. On the west side of the Grand Concourse, the stores get a little more local - cell phones stores, pizza joints, and bodegas. But still no Cambodian food. I couldn't find anything but Goya in the bodegas.
I must have looked lost, as I was soon greeted with "hey guy - whatcha lookin' for?" When I said Cambodian, my good samaritan just looked bewildered. But then I started getting some interesting leads. First I stopped in at St. Rita's youth program, which does a lot of work in the Cambodian community. The staff there told me that there was a Cambodian grocery a few blocks away, above the park on University. Very excited, I walked there, but it turned out to be a Vietnamese grocery. The owner pointed me towards Jerome Ave just south of Kingsbridge, where he said there was a larger Asian grocery that was owned by someone who is Cambodian. Once at Phnom Penh Market (2639 Jerome), the owner confirmed that she was Cambodian but said that they didn't sell any Cambodian food, just Thai and Vietnamese. This is the point in my fantasy where I would get invited to their house for some home cooking, but alas, that didn't happen. I also went and peeked into Phung Hung across the street (2614 Jerome), but their food appeared to be just Vietnamese. They were closed, so I couldn't investigate further, but this place might deserve a return trip.
Sadly, it seems that there is no Cambodian food to be had in the five boroughs. It almost (almost) makes me sad that the place in Fort Greene has shut down. It seems that I'm going to have to content myself with driving a few hours to Apsara's in Providence for their nime chow. Translation: heaven.