In May 2015, the Polka Dot Restaurant closed its doors after serving eggs and flapjacks for more than a half century in White River Junction. Just across the river in Lebanon, N.H., a young Cambodian couple was working to incubate the new food business that would, nearly four years later, replace the long-standing diner at 7 Main Street. They called it Phnom Penh, after their native capital city.
By day, Tin, Yi and their family members, including Tin’s parents, sister and brother-in-law, rolled veggies into spring rolls, summer rolls and dumplings; they sliced, marinated and skewered strips of beef, pork and chicken satay; they fried rice and noodles and ladled broth into steaming bowls of pho, topped off with fresh herbs and crisp veggies.
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