The Phnom Penh family at the former location on King Street. Photo by Michelle Chung Chou.

Phnom Penh Noodle House in the Chinatown International District had been serving up authentic Khmer food to the community and greater Seattle for more than 30 years, until it had to close its doors earlier this year. Recently, the family-run business announced it will be re-opening in the neighborhood in 2020.

If you are new to the area or simply never had the chance to try the restaurant’s iconic Cambodian cuisine, you must know that Phnom Penh Noodle House wasn’t just a restaurant. It was a cultural hub for the Cambodian community in the greater Seattle area and over the three decades it was open, became a popular food destination for people throughout the region. In 1987, Sam Ung and his wife, Kim, opened the business. When they retired in 2007, Dawn Ung and her sisters, Diane and Darlene, took over the business and committed themselves to carrying on their family’s legacy. But they were struck with a family tragedy in May, 2018, which forced them to close the restaurant.

The sisters said their parents are pleased that they are working toward reopening the restaurant. “They are excited that we are continuing their legacy and brand. They have been by our side throughout the process to provide guidance,” said Diane Ung. “And yes, our father will be back from Cambodia to help with the opening and greeting the customers, so his involvement is from a consulting standpoint.”

Now onto the most important factor of any restaurant, the food. There will be little twists here and there to integrate the older generation’s cultural experiences with that of the younger generation Cambodian Americans experiences. The sisters expressed that it is important for them to keep the original menu of seven items and the same family-oriented ambience. You will be able to experience this integration and/or crossroads between different generations in their new modern venue right inside the Thai Binh building on Jackson Street. Once they are up and running, they also thought of doing weekend specials where the restaurant will be serving traditional items that are not in the set menu.

They have started a fundraiser with Indiegogo to help with the costs.

“We are about two and a half weeks in, and we have 44 percent to go before we reach our goal. Seeing this many people believe in us is amazing,” the sisters said.

In addition, the fundraiser has perks. Aside from being able to make monetary donations, donors can purchase packages that vary from $50 to $5,000, each donation level coming with various perks. The donations will help fill in funding gaps. “It’s just an innovative avenues to generate funds,” Dawn said.

Phnom Penh Noodle House is looking to reopen sometime in January 2020, once again the iconic establishment that has been serving the Cambodian community and legions of fans around the Seattle region for more than 30 years will be back in business.

Visit the Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/phnom-penh-noodle-house-is-re-opening#/

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