First opened in 1987, the Phnom Penh Noodle House of the International District continues to be the top provider of quality Cambodian cuisine in the Seattle area. Owner and main chef Sam Ung brings his culinary upbringing from his native Cambodia and integrates new flavors to a variety of traditional Cambodian dishes. Growing up in the restaurant business, Sam first began in the industry at the age of 10 by working as a dishwasher in his parents’ restaurant in Cambodia. Admiring the skill and trade of the chefs, he first began cooking when he was 16. It was here that he found his lifelong passion of cooking. During the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Sam was relocated to Seattle as a refugee and slowly began settling into the community. One day while at a friend’s record shop, he stumbled upon a small abandoned sushi bar and from there the Phnom Penh Noodle House was born. Today the restaurant boasts an overwhelmingly positive approval rating from numerous online reviews and local eating guides, including Zagat, Yelp and earned the “Favorite Restaurants from the Seattle Weekly” award in 2006. Esteemed guests such as the CEO of Starbucks, the Ambassador and Secretary of State of Cambodia, Mimi Jung of King 5 News and former Washington State Governor Gary Locke, have all dined in this locally renowned eatery. Sam hopes to pass on the business to his daughters and transition into teaching his craft to the next generation of chefs, first by releasing his own cookbook and eventually some hands on classes. For Sam, you can learn from anyone.
“Even though I have a lot of experience in working, I’m still open-minded. Everyone has their move, their specialty, and I combine all their experiences. I’m good with what I know, but I’m always learning. Everyone has something special you can learn from.”