Cambodia is well known in the region for its Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes. Fresh serve bottled drinking water and tap water should never be drunk. Similarly, salad and fruit served at these establishments are safe. All Tours are based on full board arrangements. For full-day excursions, picnic lunch can be provided if no adequate restaurants are available.
Phnom Penh is far and away the best place to try inexpensive Khmer cuisine, though Siem Reap also has some good restaurants. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to acquaint yourself with Khmer cooking is to wander into the food stalls found in markets all over the country and simply sample each dish before deciding what to eat. In Phnom Penh you also have the choice of excellent Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, French and Mediterranean cooking.
Rice is the principal staple in Cambodia and the Battambang region is the country's rice bowl. Most Cambodian dishes are cooked in a wok, known locally as a chhnang khteak.
Traditional Khmer Food
is one of Cambodian national dishes. It uses an incredible range of ingredients to achieve its complex range of flavors, including the famous prahok or fermented fish cheese, which is unique to Khmer cuisine.
A bowl of fresh Khmer sour soup helps the body feel refreshed and clean, leaving just enough room for dessert. Sour soup is among the most popular Khmer foods. For years, this vegetable stew has fed hardworking Cambodians, particularly in the countryside where ingredients are easily found in neighboring pastures and ponds. Today, city dwellers enjoy this dish as a healthy alternative to fried bananas and fish. Expatriates living in Cambodia also are realizing the healthy benefits of eating a diet of fresh fish and water green, the base of Khmer sour soup.
The local bee is Angkor, which is produced by an Australian joint venture in Sihanoukwille. Other brands include Heineken, Tiger, San Miguel, Carlsberg, VB, Foster's and Grolsch. Beer sells for around US$1 to US$1.50 a can in restaurants. In Phnom Penh, foreign wines and spirits are sold at reasonable prices. The local spirits are best avoided, though some expats say that Sra Special, a local whisky-like concoction, is not bad. At around 1000r a bottle it's a cheap route to oblivion.
Where to eat in Siem reap
There is no shortage of restaurants in Siem Reap. They have been opening steadily over the past couple of years. Siem Reap offers an excellent variety of restaurants. Shinta Mani and Hotel Grand D'Angkor lead the fine dining category though there are several places offering excellent cuisine in a stylish, refined atmosphere. There are also plenty of moderately priced Cambodian and international restaurants. Almost every restaurant offers Cambodian food. For the budget minded, check out the inexpensive Chinese places at the south end of Sivatha Blvd. or the local food stalls and noodle cookshops next to Phsar Char (Old Market).
Attending a traditional dance performance is a must when visiting Cambodia. Several restaurants offer dinner performances. Nightly performances: Grand Hotel D’Angkor, Apsara Theater, Angkor Mondial, Chao Pra Ya, Tonle Mekong, and Tonle Sap. Some restaurants, such as the Dead Fish Tower, offer traditional music during the dinner hour. Shadow puppetry can be seen at Bayon 1 and La Noria Hotel.
Pubs, Bars & After Dark:
A traditional dance performance at one of the dinner theatres is a perfect place to begin the evening. If you’re looking for something a bit more conventional, there are a variety of places from which to choose. The piano bar at Grand D’Angkor, and the live traditional music at Dead Fish Tower make for pleasant venues to begin the evening. Buddha Lounge, Ivy Bar, The Red Piano, Temple Bar, Linga Bar, Molly Malone’s, Angkor What and not to forget the bars of the ‘Pub Street’ where you can find popular early evening pubs, drawing tourists and expats alike, and getting more crowded as the evening progresses. ‘Pub Street’ in the Old Market area is the happening place to be in the evening these days offering several bars and restaurants, not only on ‘Pub Street’, but on nearby streets and allies. Things get going in the late afternoon and some places stay open quite late.
For detailed information on restaurants: www.canbypublications.com/siemreap/srrestaurants.htm
Where to eat in Phnompenh
Phnom Penh has a vast range of restaurants to suit all pockets and tastes, from noodle shops and market stalls to sophisticated, pricey Western places; even guesthouses often have small restaurants offering Western style fare, including American breakfasts, and Khmer and Chinese dishes.
Many of the restaurants catering to tourists and visitors line the riverfront dining and shopping area near the Royal Palace. Street 278 (near Independence Monument) and Boeng Keng Kang 1 is dotted with local and foreign restaurants. Budget restaurants and relaxing bars can be found along Street 93 next to the Boeung Kak Lake, an area popular with backpackers.
Foreign Correspondents Club of Cambodia:
This famous international bar and restaurant is still as much a journalist’s meeting. It is located on the second floor of a beautiful old Colonial era building with open balcony providing a spectacular, sweeping view of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. The FCC kitchen offers a good selection of nicely prepared contemporary, modern, and mainstream western dishes as well as some of the best wood-fired oven pizza in town. Also displaying photo shows and exhibitions. Fresco Delicatessen on the ground floor. Upper price limit. St. 363 on the riverside.
Garden Center Café 2:
This international restaurant is the Street 278 area annex of the very popular Garden Center Café, offering the same excellent western meals like steaks, baked ham, baked salmon, burgers, sloppy joes, Asian dishes and a great selection of salads and vegetarian dishes. All home cooking and generous portions. Relaxed, clean, green and family atmosphere. Conveniently located on Street 57 just around the corner from the Boeng Keng Kang 1 Street 278 hotel area.
Java Café and Gallery
: (tel: 023/987420)
This international café and restaurant is genially set in a nice gallery ambiance. They offer a brilliant selection of coffees, teas and muffins. Nice selections of salads, sandwiches made to order on homemade bread, fajitas, lots of veggie dishes and all-day breakfasts including omelettes, pancakes, French toast, muesli and more. Indoor gallery seating and airy balcony seating overlooking the green park and the Independence Monument. Changing art and photo exhibitions. WiFi Hotspot. St. 56, Sihanouk Blvd. (Near to the Independence Monument).
This is an authentic classical Thai and Khmer food restaurant with dishes at reasonable prices. Shop house sized restaurant with pleasant indoor seating. Fairly large selection of dishes. Very good preparation. Good selection of vegetarian offerings. Good reviews from patrons. Located on Street 130 just off the riverfront.