If you have a hankering for Cambodian noodles, starting next week, Bella Vista will be the area to head to in Philadelphia.
Mawn, a new BYOB restaurant in the South Philly neighborhood comes from Chef Phila Lorn and his wife Rachel, and is set to open at 764 S. 9th Street on Thursday, March 2.
According to a release, the 28-seat restaurant is positioned as a “no rules noodle house,” according to Phila (pronounced “Pee-la,” who is named after the city). The chef plans to go beyond Cambodia in his menu while including flavors from all over Southeast Asia, featuring dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos after doors open.
“We were both born and raised in Philadelphia and are so excited to bring our dream of owning our own restaurant to life,” said Phila in a statement. “As a first-generation Cambodian American, I want to share my culture through food, and Mawn will provide me with that opportunity. I’m also very excited to incorporate ingredients from Rachel’s Jewish lineage on our menu.”
Some may think the name Mawn closely resembles the quintessential Philly term “jawn”, but more meaningfully, it means “chicken” in Khmer, the official Cambodian language. For Chef Phila, chicken meant peace for a period of time, specifically when his parents survived the Cambodian genocide. As Phila’s mother said: “If there was chicken to eat, it means there was no war.”
The couple behind the new concept have both been veterans in the food scene for two decades—from Stephen Starr’s Pod in University City, to the likes of Zama, Will BYOB, Stock Fishtown and more.
For Mawn specifically, Philadelphians can expect an open noodle and papaya station, plus an assortment of grilled items from the kitchen such as skewers, small and large plates, and desserts. The release also states that the Lorns will be serving a variety of noodles from different cultures, including Cambodian beef bone noodle soup; Laotian khao poon; Northern Thai khao soi; a vegan three-mushroom noodle soup; and a Vietnamese chicken pho with chicken schmaltz to pay homage to Rachel’s upbringing.
Coming soon after opening, different lunch items will also be added, such as Cambodian-style sandwiches called num pang that will be served on fresh, warm rolls from Sarcone’s Bakery.
“We are opening this restaurant as a place for people to come share a bunch of different dishes from many cultures,” explained Rachel in a statement. “We’ll be more of a quick noodle shop during the day, but at night, we are looking to feature more traditional Cambodian dishes while also offering a full dining experience featuring foods from throughout Southeast Asia. We are so excited to finally open the doors to Mawn and take the next step in achieving our dream, while bringing Philly some more noods, which we think the city needs.”
To learn more about Mawn, visit at mawnphilly.com