Owner Pk Yi, his wife Morkath Hach and her brother Sopheak operate Mekong Asian Take-Out. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A new Asian takeout restaurant offers a variety of homemade sauces and more at their location behind the 76 station in north Keizer. [MAP: 1]

The owner is Pk Yi, who moved with his family from Cambodia when he was a child, arriving in Springfield and graduating high school in Alaska.

His wife, Morkath Hach, is the inspiration behind the food. She had worked in the restaurant industry in Cambodia, so it seemed a natural fit to open their own business here in Keizer.

One of the restaurant’s specialties is its barbecue pork bao, a variation on the traditional bao. It’s a steamed roll with a barbecued pork filling.

“The egg rolls we make ourselves,” Yi added. “A lot of other restaurants buy those from vendors.”

The menu also has Pad thai with chicken, beef or shrimp. Other options include a variety of fried or steamed rice dishes. The steamed rice is available with pineapple chicken, spicy Penang chicken, basil chicken, beef or chicken with a spicy lemongrass flavor, flaming wok chicken and veggie stir fry, available with chicken, beef or pork.

Other house-made specialties include the teriyaki pork over rice, which includes a sweet and sour sauce made at the restaurant. Their peanut sauce is homemade.

Yi said favorites so far among customers are the chow mein and the beef pad thai.

Plus, he said, “our prices are definitely competitive.”

Yi’s backstory is almost as interesting as the food. Having emigrated with his family from Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, his family was sponsored by a Presbyterian church here in the states, and they lived in Springfield, Ore. upon his arrival in the United States.

Yi moved with his father when he got a job in Alaska, attending high school in Petersurg, Ak., a small town in the southeast portion of the state.

He returned to Oregon after graduation, he said, “because I like Oregon. The weather is definitely a lot nicer here than in Alaska.”

He attended Oregon State University “until I ran out of money” and later became a cook there. In fact, he still works there while the restaurant is getting off the ground.

He met his wife through his mother in what was more or less an arranged marriage.

Yi described traveling to Cambodia to meet Morkath Hach – spending about four hours with her, then they wed the next day in an elaborate Cambodian ceremony.

He said arranged marriage is fairly common in Cambodia, but having lived in the States for most of his life he was a bit skeptical at first.

“But I decided to take a chance – and I’m pretty happy,”  he said with a smile.

And with the recipes from their homeland, they started a restaurant.

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Mekong Asian Take-Out
Location: 5151 River Road N.
Phone: (503) 991-5503
Hours: Mon. through Sat. 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Closed Sunday.