Chez Sauvon Express
|Chez Sauvon Express
Restaurant Row (opposite Sunset Grill)
N.A., HI 96814
Phone: 808 599 8812
When Baun Thuy Sauvon left Cambodia with her five children during
the reign of despot Pol Pot and his communist guerrilla group, Khmer
Rouge, she could never have imagined she would one day be the owner of
several successful restaurants in America. “My mom was sent to Long
Beach, CA,” says daughter Kelly. “She spoke no English, knew no one and
was a widow, caring for all of us.” After years of working for various
groups as a translator, she moved the family to San Jose and motivated
by the need to earn more money decide to buy a truck stop hamburger
joint. “One day, friends of hers asked her to cook some Cambodian food
instead of the usual hamburgers,” says Kelly “ and the result was
amazing.” TToday Chez Sauvon in San Jose and sister restaurant in
nearby Campbell are amongst the most popular restaurants in the area.
And those with a palate for a great plate have already descended on Chez Sauvon in Restaurant Row.
If you enjoy the flavors of Thai food, then you’ll
immediately recognize most of the ingredients used in Cambodian
cooking. “The flavors and the ingredients are the same,” says Sauvon,
“we just use them differently.”
Amok, a Cambodian specialty gives perhaps the clearest indication of
the difference in the two cooking styles. In this hearty dish, fish is
marinated in a blend of lemongrass, paprika, green onion, galangal, and
egg. The substantial mixture is then shaped and frozen for a few hours
to maintain its shape. Once set, the fish is wrapped in a banana leaf
and steamed. Thai ingredients, but a different cooking method entirely.
Salads resemble those you would find in most Thai restaurants –
although they seem larger and packed with healthy ingredients- and the
ubiquitous BBQ chicken sticks with peanut sauce are here too, only
chunkier and juicer than most.
The location (formerly Boomerangs) opposite Sunset Grill is attracting an enthusiastic lunchtime crowd.
Try the Chicken and Green Papaya Soup if you can. A house special
(not served every day) this is a gloriously fragrant bowl of clear
chicken broth with generous portions of papaya and chicken. A hearty
dose of black pepper gives the soup some heat. At $1.50 it is one of
the best dishes under $2 in town. Lor’d –Lumpia (Cambodian style egg
rolls) are crisp, deep fried spring rolls filled with chicken, taro
hickama, cilantro and shallots ($1.99) and Bie Ling (Sauvon’s fried
rice) is familiar, but like most of the dishes, just a little
different. Plates range in price from $1.99 - $5.99 depending on size
and combination plates offer two three or four items with rice for
between $4.99 and $6.99.
“We’re open for dinner too, “ says Kelly who is trying to keep pace
with the hectic schedule of being open 6 days a week,” and we do family
packs for people who want to pick up dinner and go.” Dinner includes
three menu items and rice – enough for four to five people for just