Ever since I moved to Long Beach, CA, home to over 50,000 Cambodian immigrants and said to be the second largest Cambodian community in the world after Phnom Penh, I've had easy access to some of the tastiest and most authentic Cambodian and Thai food in the US. In fact, some of these restaurants are so authentic that they even give you a spoon to eat with, just like in the old country.
Try Sophy's Fine Thai and Cambodian Cuisine if you live in the area, and I promise you won't be disappointed. My favorite dishes are the Chan Pu (a spicy fried noodle dish with green onions and real crab), the Thai green curry, and the Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut soup). None of these would be complete however, without the addition of some nam plah prik or fish sauce with Thai chilies, available by special request. The waitress always laughs at me when I ask for this condiment, and claims that I'm the only white guy that has ever wanted it. Personally, I think nam plah prik kee noo is to Thai food, as bitters are to a cocktail. In other words, this condiment greatly enhances the flavor of just about any Thai dish, and I can't do without it. Here is the recipe:
--Nam Plah Prik Kee Noo:
* 6 Tbs. Thai fish sauce (nam plah, น้ำปลา)
* 5 Tbs. fresh lime or orange juice
* 2 large cloves garlic chopped finely
* 1 Shallot cut lengthwise and sliced very thinly (optional)
* 8 fresh Thai bird's eye chili peppers (prik kee noo, พริกขี้หนู, literally "mouse shit chili"), stems removed and sliced into very thin rounds
1. Combine everything in a small bowl and keep refrigerated. Wash your hands with cold water after cutting the chilies, and before using the bathroom. I learned the hard way.