On the far corner of the Original Giovanni’s Food truck lot in Kahuku, there is an orange and white truck with a large white surfboard sign that reads “Chinese Food”. This is Kampuchea Kitchen. Underneath this sign (on the ground) is a white and green sign that says Philly Cheese Steak. If you’re like me, you probably thought the same thing I did when I saw these two signs. How good can their Philly Cheese Steak be? These two things normally would never be made in the same kitchen, with the same cooks. If they were, it would be hard to believe they’d both be very good.
Fortunately, I have an open mind, even though I was prepared to be disappointed with the Philly Cheese Steak, I went ahead and gave it a shot. The Kampuchea Kitchen is the definition of why you should never judge a book by its cover. I would say that this has to be one of the best Philly Cheese Steaks on the island if not THE best Philly Cheese Steak on the island.
I have never been to Philly (where this sandwich was made famous) so I cannot say how this would match up with some of the best. However, Yelp reviewers who have tried Kampuchea Kitchen’s Philly Cheese Steak have said it is the best they have had outside of Philly. I have also had my fair share of Philly Cheese Steaks over the years from many different places in various cities. This may be the best one I have ever had.
I don’t normally heap this much praise on any dish but when you see a place that nails it like Kampuchea Kitchen does, how can you not? It is a shame that they only have 6 Yelp reviews (three 5 star, three 4 star); it just goes to show you how many people have never tried their food and walked right by it like I normally would have (I am so glad I didn’t). If you haven’t tried their food, you should definitely give it a go.
The main reason I tried the food at Kampuchea Kitchen was because I decided to try at least one dish at every food truck near both Giovanni’s Shrimp Trucks (Giovanni’s in Haleiwa and the original Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in Kahuku) to let people know something about each food truck and what to try there. If not for this, it is very likely I would have been like many others before me and never have tried any dish from Kampuchea Kitchen. That would have been my loss.
Overall, I could not be happier to have tried the Philly Cheese Steak at Kampuchea Kitchen. The couple that owns it is very nice. They provide good quality food at a pretty reasonable price. Of all the places I have tried and reviewed, this was one of the only places I went back to and re-ordered what I had before. Although, I did try the original Cheese Steak on my first visit, I also wanted to try their Mushroom Cheese Steak on my second visit. So yes, technically it is a slightly different dish, but it is more or less the same sandwich. The second one was just as good as the first, so it was no fluke.
The Kampuchea Kitchen may be the most overlooked food truck on the island of Oahu. Not only is it surrounded by so many other good food trucks, it is way in the corner of the lot where most people may never make it that far before picking a place to eat.
If this truck was repainted, given a little face lift and was in a better spot on the lot or a different place all together, I believe it would do a lot more business. The bright orange and white makes it almost look like a Home Depot food truck. Also, if you notice the old lettering on the center of the truck, you can see it says “American Food and Happy Burger” like it’s a food truck straight out of South Park. I really like the owners and want them to do well so don’t get me wrong with these comments. I am not trying to be mean spirited at all. It’s just when you have a great product yet so little feedback, one has to examine why this is. I would put this on location, overall aesthetics of the truck and lack of basic online marketing.
The Kampuchea Kitchen is the epitome of why I started reviewing places to eat on this island. This is a place that is often overlooked and I believe that more people would like their food if they were to give it a chance.
If you are looking to visit the Kampuchea Kitchen, they are open from 11:00am to 7:30pm, Tuesday through Friday and 11:00am to 8:00pm, Saturday through Monday. I hope you enjoy their Philly Cheese Steak as much as I did!
Here are some photos from my visit to the Kampuchea Kitchen Food Truck
Map to Kampuchea Kitchen