Reverse Engineered: The Thai Chili Caipirinha at Kampuchea Noodle Bar

Seeing some cocktail recipes that included hot sauce today, I was reminded how much I liked the Kampuchea Noodle Bar in the Lower East Side. In New York, it’s hard to find the Vietnamese and Cambodian food (especially soup) that I was so used to in the Twin Cities, and Kampuchea was an expensive but tasty treat for me. The chef/owner Ratha Chaupoly, perhaps overshadowed by another Asian noodle soup chef, David Chang of Momofuku, never got the attention he deserved.

And in August, Kampuchea Noodle Bar closed. (Chaupoly told New York Magazine that he was making money, but as much as he used to. He may move it to another neighborhood, but in the meantime, Chaupoly opened a sandwich shop in the old Kampuchea space.)

Fortunately, I managed to recreate Kampuchea’s delicious chili cocktail at home:

2 oz. Cachaca
1 spoonful of Thai chili sauce
1 spoonful brown sugar
1/2 lime

Squeeze the half lime into a cocktail shaker and add the other ingredients. Shake with ice. Use a rocks glass, two cubes. Top off with seltzer to taste.

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