Chews Wisely: Phnom Penh Sandwich Station

By Sam Forstner | 9/30/15 5:29am

For the less observant among us, the Phnom Penh Sandwich Station is a new addition to campus. The food truck sets up shop across the street from the Hop and serves lunch and dinner.
The wait was long, but surprisingly enjoyable. There were a few people in front of me in line, and I ended up with about a half-hour wait. Despite not having entered a physical structure of any kind, I felt like I was on another planet — right there on East Wheelock St. I ended up connecting with a fellow bystander over the fact that he had fished in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, this past winter. I realized that it was the first time in a while I’d experienced two things. First, I interacted with someone not affiliated with the College in any way. Second, someone was genuinely excited that I was from Michigan. This is the rose-tinted world of the food truck.
When it came time to order, I went right to the featured menu item, #1—the Phnom Penh Sandwich. The offering features fresh-baked bread with cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, chili mayo and your choice of meat. I opted for coconut jumbo shrimp, and washed it all down with a sweet lemon mint iced tea.
After power walking back to my room, eager to dig in, I finally tasted my meal. One word: Phnomenal (that one was all teed up, it had to happen). In all seriousness, the sandwich met my expectations and proceeded to soar further past them with each bite. The bread was warm and crisp, the vegetables tasted incredibly refreshing and the chili mayo added the perfect mild kick. The jumbo shrimp, once I got past their blatantly oxymoronic title, were fantastic. These were not the battered coconut shrimp you might find at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet — though I have nothing against those. These were sizeable, juicy shrimp slathered in a delicious sweet and tangy sauce.
The sandwich is by no means a feast. I’ll admit to following up my meal with a trip to Collis—though to be fair, this move was only half motivated by hunger and half by the futile, perpetual war I wage to try and get my money’s worth from DDS. But an entrée is only $7 — $8 with shrimp — so this more than nullifies any possible complaint from me.
The iced tea was a rare treat as well. Served with a lemon wedge and mint leaf garnish, it was the perfect complement to my meal.
If you’re on the hunt for a great and exotic meal without having to venture outside the friendly confines of campus, look no further than the Cambodian cuisine of the Phnom Penh Sandwich Station.
4 out of 5 stars.

Sam Forstner