Battambang town – Barbeque pork spareribs can inspire the same kind of irrational, chest-puffing worship as football teams, so choosing one recipe as the best in Cambodia could run the risk of inciting violence.
But all equivocation aside, there’s a restaurant tucked away in Battambang town that could hold its own against any grill chef in the land.
Cold Night restaurant, which sits just off National Road 5 on the outskirts of the town, has been drawing in more and more customers since it opened its doors in 1996, according to its owner.
Seng Somaleng, a 35-year-old mother of two, said the inspiration for her succulent spareribs came from some friendly foreigners who had worked for Untac several years before the restaurant opened.
“They helped us by giving us ideas and recipes,” she said.
Although steak and pizza are the restaurant’s most popular dishes, the spareribs attract their fair share of customers.
“When tourists come in groups they order the ribs,” Seng Somaleng said. “Many people have told us that the ribs are good.”
The menu has a wide range of tasty dishes including Western, Khmer and Thai food, all of which are reasonably priced. But the Cold Night experience is really about the ribs, and at $2.50 per half kg, they’re a steal.
The golden brown ribs are served without any side dishes, eliminating the need for utensils.
US national Vinh Dao, 34, visiting from California, said that he first discovered Cold Night’s spareribs in October 2003 and has been back two times since.
“I’ve eaten many ribs in Asia and they’re the best,” he said, adding that he considers himself somewhat of a “ribs connoisseur.”
“Every time I eat in Battambang I go for the ribs. They’re good and they’re cheap,” Vinh Dao said. One time he even stopped in Battambang on the way to Thailand just to eat at Cold Night, he added.
Vinh Dao said that he will definitely be back and encouraged any skeptics who happen to be in Battambang to pit Cold Night’s ribs against their own favorite.
“Words cannot describe how good the ribs are,” he said. “You have to experience them yourself.”