After moving from Cambodia to Australia more than a decade ago, Ivanra Hun noticed a distinct gap in the market for real-deal Cambodian food. Working in hospitality across Melbourne, he saw that the small number of restaurants offering food from his homeland were mostly popular with fellow Cambodians. And most of those restaurants were in the outer suburbs.

So, when he joined forces with his sister (and self-taught chef) Linna Hun to open their first restaurant, Cambodia’s Kitchen, Ivanra’s goal was to make their cooking more accessible to Melburnians, by putting it front and centre in the CBD.

In a snug shopfront on Russell Street, the siblings serve a menu of tried-and-tested family recipes and ingredients imported from Cambodia. They’ve kept the menu short in order to focus on the kinds of dishes that could help make Cambodian food a staple – and more “trendy and popular” – in Melbourne.

The speciality, kuy teav, is a traditional rice-noodle soup often served for breakfast by street vendors in Phnom Penh, with a fragrant pork bone broth and toppings such as sliced beef, minced pork and housemade fish cakes. Other popular dishes include lort cha (or “pin” noodles), stir-fried short noodles with sizzling beef and homemade fish sauce, and nom ka chai (deep-fried chive rice cakes).

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Updated: August 4th, 2023

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