As this day came closer I became more and more apathetic about my birthday. On top of the fact I had to work all day and that I couldn’t drink at lunch was that I was turning 34. 34 is the most unexciting age since I turned 33. Bridget knew exactly what would make me happy however, a trip to a exotic country for their cuisine while staying in DC.
A concept opened by the famed owners of Toki Underground on H Street in DC called Maketto (maketto1351.com). Maketto is a large, 3 story communal marketplace that includes retail, restaurant and cafe experiences. You enter into a retail store where you can purchase a mix of international footwear, clothing, and accessories. On the same floor is a bar and dining area. There is a gorgeous outside seating area as well one up stairs under umbrellas. On the 2nd floor is a coffee bar area with more retail to purchase.
Maketto has a variety of small and large plates for dinner but has 2 things I really wanted were severed for lunch: a Cambodian soup and a Cambodian sandwich. With Cambodia being sandwiched (pun for Bridget) between Laos and Vietnam I had a gut feeling I would enjoy these meals. To make ordering easy I ordered one of each for us to split.
The Cambodian sandwich , which is called a Num Pang, is closely related to a Banh mi from Vietnam. Pickled veggies make everything better and there was a crunch on the bottom which tasted like potato chips. The pork was tender and the bread made it very tasty.
After going for ramen recently I have become a big fan of this dish. The Cambodian pork noodle soup was of a close relative of ramen, without the egg. The pork noodle soup was perfectly spicy and the broth was delicious. Between us we couldn’t finish the soup thanks to the filling sandwich. However, there was something else we ordered we saved room for.
When you put “doughnuts” on your menu, of course I am going to order these, especially on my birthday. As stated before Cambodian cuisine has many traits from its surrounding countries due to a long history of immigration and wars. This dish is called Chinese doughnuts or Youtiao, served with a bowl of warm soy milk. The doughnuts were long like bread sticks but had a cake like taste. When dipped in the warm soy milk it gave the dish an interesting flavor.
Cambodia is such a small country but their dishes have such huge flavors. Knowing how close this country is to Thailand and Vietnam I thought it would be no different than those cuisines. Cambodian is somewhat similar but has its own twist to make it unique to themselves and I will never confuse it again.