Come Sunday, one might be baffled as to where in Phnom Penh they can get their hands on cous-cous, or Moroccan chicken covered in prunes, or a slice of rich chocolate cheesecake.
Red and Casablanca, two local restaurants known for their twists on dining, are closing for good.
The European-American style Red closed on Wednesday, while Casablanca regulars have until Saturday night to grab one last bite of Moroccan food.
“We didn’t really plan the restaurant,” said Red owner Marie Claude. “It just happened here, but it’s something that was very important in my life. And it makes me very sad to leave.”
Claude and her husband Raaj Singh are sacrificing the nearly 5-year-old restaurant so that their daughter Yolthy, whom they adopted here, can be granted Canadian citizenship in Quebec. Claude and Singh are going back to college while in Quebec.
“I’ve been here eight years,” Claude said. “It feels like I’m leaving home….I came here when I was in my mid-20s and now I’m in my mid-30s.”
Her restaurant was known for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Casablanca, famous for its Moroccan dishes, is shutting down because of the recent increase in restaurants opening.
“We were making money, but it was not enough,” manager Sadana Bacha said. “On Friday and Saturday nights it was full. They would come here for something to eat and then go down the street to the nightclubs.”
Patrons counted on Casablanca, which opened its doors four years ago, for Moroccan entrees as well as tastes of Lebanese, Spanish and French food.