I had driven past Con Gà Trống a number of times, and decided it was time to try it out. As we entered the courtyard, a 7-foot cockerelstatue greeted us with a baleful eye. We sat besidea small pond scanning the menu. Con Ga Trong mainly serves Khmer food, as well as a few Laotian and Vietnamese dishes. Red lanterns swung overhead, and children ran whooping amongst the tables. Whitney Houston wafted through the warm night air, mingling with the honking horns from the nearby street. However, the verdure which surrounded the courtyard lent a sense of tranquillity to the dining experience, in spite of the typically garrulous atmosphere.
The food arrived surprisingly quickly. ‘Duck legs on Fire’were served with pickled cucumber and a tangy spicy chao sauce, mixing peanuts, lime, ginger and garlic with a sweet fish sauce. The duckarrived lukewarm, but paired deliciously with the sauce. Next was a soup with mushrooms with squid stuffed with mincemeat. The soup was slightly sweet, though the flavours of ginger and lemongrass perhaps overwhelmed the stuffed squid,which seemed tolack flavour. Served with bun noodles, the soup seemed to lack a little pizazz, despite the strength of the flavours. Our dinner was rounded off with a new experience: burnt rice with chicken salad. The cake of rice is cooked until crispy, and then piece by piece is dipped in sweet fish sauce with chilli, which pairs well with its crunchy texture. The accompanying salad of shredded chicken mixed with onions and green leaves was light and fragrant, with a pleasant underlying sweetness.
The bill for two of us came to a reasonable 450,000đ. We left with full bellies to walk in the nearby park. The cockerel looked on impassively, awaiting our return.