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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Battambang, Cabramatta

intestines chitterlings offal battambang cabramatta

The whole nose-to-tail philosophy is something I really do feel strongly about. Eating meat is a luxury that comes with responsibilities. Sustainability, humane treatment of animals, minimising environmental impact and using our natural resources efficiently are all issues that should be considered with every food choice we make.

What we must also acknowledge with every mouthful of meat we eat, is an animal's life was extinguished for fleeting gustatory pleasure. If we are going to eat meat, we should eat every last bit of it - not just nibble at the best parts like pampered royalty.

I find offal fascinating. Cultures all around the world have transformed internal organs and entrails into mouthwatering deliciousness. Let's not forget that pate is pan-fried liver blended with butter and cream. And if cream doesn't make something more enticing, then deep-frying certainly will! What's a little intestine between friends when its been plunged into a bubbling cauldron of oil and fried until crisp?

I headed to Battambang in Cabramatta for my column in the February edition of Time Out Sydney. If you've always turned your nose up at offal, wait until you try their crispy intestines...

battambang cabramatta

Eat This...
Deep fried pork intestines

You read that right. Pork intestines, also known as chitterlings, aren’t just a triumph of nose-to-tail eating, but a prized delicacy eaten all around the world. After the intestines are thoroughly cleaned and dried, Cambodians slice and deep-fry them until they’re all kinds of crispy deliciousness.

There are two Battambang restaurants in Cabramatta, but the one on John Street has a buzzier atmosphere, hidden down one of the multiple arcades that run off the main strip. It’s small and brightly-lit, with a constant flow of couples and families stopping in for a quick feed. The menus on the wall are a little daunting at first, written in Chinese, Khmer and Vietnamese but friendly staff will provide you an English menu (with photos!) if you ask. On offer you’ll find a good range of Khmer, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.

intestines chitterlings offal battambang cabramatta
Crispy large intestines with rice noodles Phnom Penh-style $9

You can order the 'Crispy Large Intestines' with rice, fried noodles or noodle soup, but the best way to have it is Phnom Penh style ($9), scattered over a bowl of thin fresh rice noodles moistened with garlic oil. The noodles are the right level of chewiness, and the intestines have an external crunch that gives way to a pleasing juicy fattiness in the middle. Be warned. This stuff is addictive.

If you’re still craving more intestines like we were, you can order a whole plate of them for $10 [pictured at top] and just dig on in.

prahoc cambodian gouramy yellow fish noodle soup battambang cabramatta
Cambodian yellow fish noodle soup $6.50

Cambodian yellow fish noodle soup ($6.50) is a mellow, creamy dish that uses the Khmer kitchen staple, prahoc. This much-loved paste is made by fermenting gouramy fish in ground rice and salt until it breaks down to a creamy consistency that looks like cheese. “It’s Cambodian cheese!” our server says. “The more the better!”

fried dry rice drop noodles battambang cabramatta
Fried rice drop noodles with fried egg $8

Fried rice drop noodles ($8) are best eaten in the traditional Khmer style, cooked with beef, bean sprouts, garlic chives and topped with a fried egg. And it’s hard to resist chomping down a plate of deep-fried quail ($10), marinated and fried to a bone-crunching brown.

quail battambang cabramatta
Deep-fried quail $10

congee porridge pigs blood battambang cabramatta
Congee rice porridge with pigs blood jelly $6.50

If you’ve still got game, order the congee ($6.50) with pig's blood -- rust-coloured cubes that are guaranteed to give you an iron boost.

battambang cabramatta
Inside Battambang, Cabramatta

battambang cabramatta

View Larger Map
Battambang Cambodian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

15/73-79 John Street 
4/156-158 Cabramatta Road East, Cabramatta
Tel: +61 (02) 9724 7307

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 7am-5pm

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [read online]


Don't forget that entries close this Sunday for the Noritake Freebie Friday competition. Simply add your comment and you could win a 20-piece Marc Newson by Noritake dinner set worth $595. Enter now!


More Time Out Sydney reviews:
Akash Pacific Cuisine, Liverpool (Fiji Indian cuisine) 
ATL Marantha, Kensington (Indonesian fried chicken with edible bones)
Balkan Oven, Rockdale (Macedonian burek)
Cyprus Community Club Aphrodite Restaurant (roast baby goat) 
Dos Senoritas, Gladesville (Mexican street-style tacos) 
Durban Dish, Baulkham Hills (South African cuisine)
Everest Kitchen, Marrickville (Nepali cuisine)
Good Kitchen, Hurstville (Hong Kong cafe)
Hijazi's Falafel, Arncliffe (Lebanese breakfast)
Island Dreams Cafe, Lakemba (Christmas Islands cuisine)
Kambozza, Parramatta (Burmese cuisine)
La Paula, Fairfield (Chilean empanadas, lomitos and sweets)
Mario Tokyo Pizza, Strathfield  (Bulgogi Korean pizza)
Misky Cravings, Fairfield  (Peruvian cuisine)
Olka Polka Bakery & Deli, Campbelltown (Polish cheesecake and rye bread)
Sea Sweet, Parramatta (Lebanese sweet kashta cheese burger)

Sizzling Fillo, Lidcombe (Filipino pork hock crackling)
Tehran, Granville (Persian cuisine)
Tuong Lai, Cabramatta (Vietnamese sugar cane prawns)
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/01/2012 02:17:00 am


  • At 3/01/2012 8:05 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    For all the things I eat, which accounts for just about anything, I'm yet to be convinced about the intestine thing. My one & only experience was at that Taiwanese place on Dixon St (Mother Chu's) when the intestine still tasted of shit. Not nice. Deep-fried and crunchy? I reckon I'd give that a go. Looks like someone got a little carried away with frying those quails to a crisp!

  • At 3/01/2012 9:23 am, Blogger Maya M Wilson said…

    fried pork...southerngirl love

  • At 3/01/2012 9:26 am, Anonymous Mellemoo said…

    Most people are quite happy to eat sausages which if you are buying from a butcher are still using intestines as casings! It's funny what we will knowingly eat vs just eating out of habit. I'm a big fan of pâté but still struggle if people just plate up liver!

  • At 3/01/2012 12:35 pm, Anonymous Eha said…

    Fully agree with the nose-to-tail philosophy. Besides, leaving the wretched cholesterol issue aside, I personally love the taste of liver, kidneys and sweetbreads especially and could truly eat them almost every day :) ! Must admit to mostly Western recipes: your blog today will make me pick up my Eastern cookery books and go in search . . .

  • At 3/01/2012 2:25 pm, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I'd eat fried anything! Maybe not crickets or bugs but intestines are fine. :-)

  • At 3/01/2012 8:01 pm, Blogger anna chan said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 3/01/2012 8:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    have you tried the dry hu tieu/ Phnom Penh dry noodle soup? it's only 6.50 so cheap! it was really good. i ate here for lunch yesterday! what a coincidence, also tried the crispy large intestines. and i agree they were very addictive HAHAHAHA


  • At 3/01/2012 8:39 pm, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories said…

    Wow this does look really fantastic and I agree we must think ,more about sustainability. Doesnt always happen in Western society , oh so much affluece. I really want to go here, thanks

  • At 3/01/2012 10:46 pm, Blogger Shirataki Noodles said…

    All looking very delicious..Superb is the Deep-fried quail..

  • At 3/02/2012 10:42 pm, Blogger Brenda said…

    I remember growing up eating deep fried intestines, but they use to be that neon red colour *shudders* What was the fascination with dying meats red??? Sweet and sour pork, fried intestines, bbq pork (all from the local Chinese restaurant)

  • At 3/02/2012 11:35 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    It's the chewiness or strange textures of offal that puts me off - so the crispy intestine might just do the trick.
    Love Cambodian cuisine. Thanks for sharing.

  • At 3/03/2012 4:41 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I totally agree with you Helen. If you are going to be a meat eater then you have to be prepared to eat as much as the animal as possible (I draw the line at eyeballs but am happy with most offal). Looks really delicious and another great find for Time Out.

  • At 3/04/2012 7:53 am, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    Great intro Helen. So well said.

  • At 3/04/2012 10:56 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Totally agree with what you've said about the responsibilities of being a meat eat - I've yet to try offal, but am trying to be a more ethical eater. I'd give the deep-fried innards a go - you're right that everything tastes good deep-fried.

  • At 3/05/2012 12:27 am, Anonymous Lyf said…

    I love this hidden gem of a place. It is a real find for genuine Cambodian food and such great value. The food is delicious and not as scary as people might initially think!

  • At 3/05/2012 3:57 am, Anonymous Flick Your Food said…

    I think most people would enjoy the pig blood jelly in the congee if they dont know what it is, as it looks quite appitising.
    I too agree about the responsibilities of eating meat, although havent given offal a try.

  • At 4/11/2012 8:35 am, Blogger shuggy said…

    can someone pleeeease tell me how to make the khmer chitlins? there's like no cambodian restaurants in texas. ;(

  • At 4/22/2013 6:08 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Sorry to dig up a really old post. I felt the need to contribute, as i grew up in the area.

    I also love food and have an open mind to try new things.

    I must say, i came here when i was young (15 years ago) and still come here to this day. The food is consistent, the menu is customisable, the intestines (chitlins for those in the u.s) are fantastic.
    If you're not game for offal, be sure to try the rice noodles with beef, dry- separate soup.

    There is also another Battambang, over in Cabramatta East (over the railway). Amazingly consistent and speak english well. The same/similar menu layout with pictures can be provided to help with your selection.


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