Eons have passed since Phnom Penh House opened its doors, and the interior of this funky little restaurant south of Chinatown looks its age. But that doesn’t stop lunch from being a standing-room-only event. Cambodian food is a direct cross between its neighboring cuisines — milder than Thai, more curried than Vietnamese. People come to PPH to bask in its lemongrass chicken soup and gnaw on the barbecued chicken, and vegetarians get a whole section (just of the menu, sorry) to themselves. Start with a crisp mung-bean-flour Cambodian crepe filled with bean sprouts, shredded vegetables, and tofu or your choice of meat, and don’t let the description of the harmok scare you away: This lemongrass-perfumed fish mousse, steamed in a banana-leaf packet, is one of the country’s signature dishes.
1007 Clay St., Oakland, 510-763-8957