My Cambodia (Springvale, AUS) Review

6,910 kilometres / 4,239 miles from Phnom Penh.

There's a little slice of Cambodia in Melbourne, Australia's southeast suburbs. Springvale is the town where my husband and many other Southeast Asian immigrants grew up. When you're missing Cambodia, it's the place to go. Just driving near the shopping centre makes it easy to spot jewelry stores, medical clinics, travel agents, and more that advertise their businesses with Khmer script and English text.

My Cambodia is a Springvale restaurant that has been operating for at least ten years. One of our Cambodian friends swears by it when she's craving a taste of home! Like many Khmer restaurants in western countries, it offers a menu large enough to include a touch of Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes in addition to Khmer food.

Why do so many Cambodian people feel that they cannot offer their food on its own? Some have told me that they worry their menu won't be accepted by westerners. The most beloved Khmer dishes can be strongly flavored and look different than the type of Asian food that most "foreigners" are familiar with. At My Cambodia, though, their reason is family. To survive during and after the genocide of the 1970s the Cambodian diaspora ended up in Thailand, France, Vietnam, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. When we chatted to the owner of My Cambodia, she told us that the range of cuisines reflect her own family's experience in some of these countries.

It's not a fancy place but My Cambodia is clean and bright with plenty of seating. They do fill up quickly during the lunch rush - I saw two strangers asked to sit together. Neither seemed to mind, though; they tucked into the noodle soups in front of them and each watched something on their own phone. Paintings of the Cambodian countryside and dancers hang above the mirrors lining the walls. The condiments, cutlery, and thermos of hot tea that every reliable Asian restaurant keeps on hand were present.

One downside to My Cambodia's menu is that people who are new to Khmer cuisine may not be able to tell which dishes are Cambodian and which are Thai or Vietnamese. Some of the more typically Cambodian items are also more expensive, because their key ingredients are imported and not always easy to find. We ordered prahok tuk trei kroeung, samlor majeu kroeung sach koh, and nyoam sadao. (See below for photos and descriptions.) Served with rice, we fed four adults and had some leftovers, too.


One great thing about Cambodians is their love of dips and My Cambodia offers a handful of different ones. In Cambodian cuisine, a dip can easily become an entire meal when served with heaps of raw veggies and some steamd rice. This particular dip is a little watery in texture but big on flavour. Prahok, Khmer fermented fish, is used in an uber-salty, uber-umami paste form. That makes it a great match for kroeung. Kroeung is a must-have Cambodian paste that highlights lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, and more. My Cambodia serves their prahok tuk trei kroeung with a bit of minced pork and Asian basil on top.

Prahok tuk trei kroueung is one of many Cambodian dip with raw veggies.


Wow. My Cambodia's take on this classic was incredible. Sour and savoury with perfect textures of crunchy morning glory, small eggplant that's soft but not mushy, and soft slices of fatty beef, it was a comfort. The turmeric in the kroeung gives it a bright yellow colour and the lemongrass gives it a bright scent. Besides all the flavor, there are so many health benefits in this single bowl of soup. We ate it with bowls of steamed rice and I was thrilled to have leftovers for my dinner that night.

Samlor majeu kroeung neng sach koh - Cambodian sour soup with lemongrass paste & beef.
Samlor majeu kroeung neng sach koh - Cambodian sour soup with lemongrass paste & beef.


When you hear the word "nyoam," you can expect mouthwatering salads that with ingredients that have been delightfully smushed together. My Cambodia makes nyoam sadao with tomatoes, shredded cucumbers, smoked fish, small ribbons of pork belly, bean sprouts, and of course sadao. Sadao is a very bitter herb that can be a challenge for foreigners. My mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law praise it as a remedy for cooling them off. After I had a few run-ins with it, my tolerance has definitely risen! My Cambodia's nyoam sadao is tasty because of the variety of veg. There are heaps of textures that come together with the tangy sauce and get a little saltiness from the fish. It's a great summer dish.

Nyom sadao - Cambodian bitter herb & smoked fish salad.
Nyom sadao - Cambodian bitter herb & smoked fish salad.

Have you been to My Cambodia? Let us know what you think!

28 Buckingham Avenue
Springvale, VIC 3171

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