Seattle’s first Cambodian restaurant, Phnom Penh Noodle House, served its last meal after more than 30 years in the community.
It's not just the food that kept people coming back for the last three decades, but also a sense of family.
Owner Dawn Ung is Aunty Dawn to many of the kids who have grown up eating at Phnom Penh Noodle House, including JoJo Eng-Aquino 's family.
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“It's like missing family now,” Eng-Aquino said. “We are going to be really sad they're going to be gone.”
Eng-Aquino, like many eating here for the last time, has been coming for so long he watched Dawn grow up and eventually take the restaurant over when her dad retired. Her father, Sam Ung, opened the restaurant in 1987 after he arrived in the U-S as a refugee escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
It was the city's first Cambodian restaurant.
“I'm very proud,” Ung said.
But just as her father opened the place to support his family so many years ago, Dawn is making the tough decision to close because of family. Her son, Devin, has a severe brain injury after being hit by a car last September. Just Monday, he was readmitted into the intensive care unit for unmanageable seizures. She was hoping he could make the closing party.
“Devin's prognosis is unknown and our time is limited and it's important for me to have that time with him.” Ung added.
Diners packed the restaurant and the line snaked outside as people queued up for one last taste.
”(I may) decide to order some more to go home. I was thinking about deep freezing it,” Samphy Chen explained.
They're also supporting a beloved family that has contributed so much to the Cambodian community, “To have this out of the area it's like where do we go?” Sameth Mell asked.
Ung thanks everyone for their love and support.
She’s also keeping open the possibility of reopening in the future.
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