The Wanderlust Tarrant Guide to Siem Reap - EAT


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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap
November 1st 2019
Published: November 2nd 2019
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Siem Reap is an amazing place for a holiday. I constantly get frustrated on web forums such as Tripadvisor where ‘experts’ and others constantly advise people that all you need is 2-3 days in this amazing part of the world. Crazy! Each and every time we go, we stay a little longer.. and if life was not so committed here, I would move there tomorrow. Maybe one day when we don’t have pets and the kids have grown up!

There are frauds out there currently offering to provide customised itinerary’s for hundreds of dollars… in fact be prepared to pay upwards of $500-1000 for these ‘customised itineraries’… a ridiculous sum when you can scour that same person’s website and get everything for free from their articles..

My experience with a very high profile blogger who I paid to do an itinerary caused months of stress and the end product which I received 6 months after I paid for it and only days before we flew out was a cut and paste job of other people’s itineraries… evidenced by the wrong hotel, wrong names and recommendations for things I had clearly told her I had no interest in! BUT that is for another blog, another day!

Here is my guide to eating your way around Siem Reap.. free of charge! I promise you will love it!



Siem Reap is full of amazing restaurants, and quite a few of these are social enterprises, working with and for street children and other amazing charities. I recommend that when you are in Cambodia you eat at social enterprise restaurants as much as possible, knowing that your money will make a real difference to the beautiful people of Cambodia.



Marum

Marum is a training restaurant and part of the TREE alliance. TREE is a global alliance of training restaurants that work with partners in the NGO world. All profits from TREE restaurants are invested into the students who train in the restaurants, and the social programs which support them on their journey to become a skilled, productive and happy young person with a secure future.



Marum is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalised young people since 2005 in Siem Reap.

Set in a beautiful leafy courtyard garden that is an ideal spot for lunch or dinner (we went for dinner), this will be high on your list for another meal. A good restaurant if you want to get a little adventurous as the menu includes dishes including stir fried red ants (yummy trust us), crocodile and frog legs. They have duck, pork ribs and lots of other amazing dishes to try. We found the serves to be on the smaller side and prices average. Check out their yummy cocktail list!



Service is great and the very sweet trainee staff do everything to make you feel welcome. Highly recommend having a meal here, knowing your money is going towards helping these student’s futures. They also have an onsite gift store worth checking out too.
Their website is here: www.tree-alliance.org/our-restaurants/marum



Common Grounds



Not only is the food amazing here, but Common Grounds is owned and operated by People for Care and Learning, a non profit organisation that cares for the poor while providing training and opportunities to them working towards a brighter future. We loved this place so much that we went back several times. Their coffee is amazing and the meals, both Cambodian and Western are super good. Service is great too and its airconditioned, perfect for that cooling down lunch in between temples! Not to be missed!



Chong Phov Khmer Restaurant

Opening in July 2016, this is a very impressive newcomer on the scene of dining in Siem Reap. We ate at least 5 meals here on a 9 day trip and would have eaten more if we could have. This place is sensational.



Prices are ridiculously cheap with the average dish costing $3.75 and there are no Western dishes on the menu.

The owner/chef Eng has cooked at top restaurants Malis and Shinta Mani previously and his Aunt, who cooks alongside him has worked at Bantreay Srey Restaurant for many years (considered by many locals to be one of Siem Reap’s best restaurants).



We managed to speak with Eng on a few of our visits and he proudly told us how he was running the local Siem Reap food co-op markets and explained how he sourced the freshest ingredients from small local farms. He is truly passionate about good local produce, supporting local families and making sure all his dishes are perfect.



We were advised by others to book the day before, but on all our visits we were the only guests or there were only a couple of other tables eating. Having said that, this may well change as word gets out about this place.



We tried a lot of dishes on the menu and can highly recommend them all. Our particular favourites included the spicy sour beef soup, squid in kampot pepper sauce, the soft noodle dishes and the beef lok lak. Honestly the food is beautiful and you cannot miss this place. If you only eat one meal in Siem Reap make it here

Service was a little rusty while we were there, but they were trying hard and granted, they had only been open for 3 months!

A lot of tuktuk’s did not know where this place was, but tell them it is on Sala Lodges road and they will find it. Phone number in case you get lost: 012 462 807



Mie Cafe

Set in a traditional Khmer timber house, Mie Café is owned by Cambodian chef Pola Siv, who has trained in Switzerland. The food is Cambodian-European fusion and stunning.



We had our first wedding anniversary here and it was a memorable night. I highly recommend booking a table for this restaurant as it was full when we were there.



The menu was beautiful and we took a long time to make a decision as everything sounded exquisite. Everything we ate was lovely however when I went back over the menu to write this, I could not remember which dishes we ate. Despite this (we did eat a lot of different food over the 7 weeks!) the meal was a standout for our trip!

Slightly out of town you will need to get a tuktuk.It is located on Phum Treng Khum between Charles De Gaulle and River roads.
Their website: www.miecafe-siemreap.com



Mahob



Stunning food in a stunning location, this is a must on the to do list. Owner, Sothea Seng has a unique location for his beautiful restaurant, a traditional Khmer home just off Charles De Gaulle, an elegant property that formerly belonged to a Governor. It is beautifully decorated in Khmer style with
original features and an airy upstairs section.



The food is stunning and everything we ate was perfection. They have a hot stone grill as well as traditional Khmer cuisine. Their menu can be seen here: https://www.mahobkhmer.com/menu.html



Cuisine Wat Damnak



Cuisine Wat Damnak was named as being one of Asia’s best restaurants and the only Cambodian restaurant to make the list! Chef Joannes Riviere along with his wife Carole Salmon opened the restaurant in 2011 and focus on local produce currently in season.



The food is described as ‘new Cambodian’ and has a distinct French influence (given Joannes is French!). The menu changes every two weeks and you get to choose from either a 5 or 6 course degustation menu (with two choices – Menu A or Menu B)



I highly recommend you take the 6 courses and if dining with a partner choose a different menu each so you can try all 12 meals on offer! 5 courses is $27 and 6 courses $31. Drinks extra.



There are not too many places where you can eat a 5 star meal at these kind of prices, so do yourself a favour and book a seat here prior to leaving home.



Reservations can be made at their website: www.cuisinewatdamnak.com and you can also download directions to the restaurant for your tuktuk driver.



Viva Mexican

Viva Mexican has two locations in Siem Reap and my favourite is the big restaurant on the corner near the Old Market. They have ongoing specials including $1.50 Frozen Margaritas and $1.50 Tacos! Grab a seat on the footpath and people watch while drinking ice cold frozen Margaritas! The Fajitas and Nachos are fantastic!



New Leaf Eatery



New Leaf Eatery is another social enterprise café that is amazing. We ate here a few times as the food was cheap and the serves big. The staff were great and the coffee good too!



As a social enterprise, New Leaf have implemented environmentally friendly initiatives and adopted fair employment practices; including regular training, a savings scheme and career development opportunities for their staff.

According to their website, since July 2013 New Leaf has donated over $25,000 and 1,500 books and their vision is to support education in Siem Reap province. They say that 80%!o(MISSING)f profits go to charity and the other 20%!i(MISSING)s invested in their staff. What is not to love about that?

We highly recommend eating here. We only had lunch here a few times but I believe they have a rooftop and show movies some nights.



Everything we ate was amazing including the New leaf fries, spring rolls, banana blossom salad, spicy chicken wings, beef lok lak, smoked chilli cashew chicken, hot and sour noodles and the delicious chocolate tart!

You also get a free beer or lime juice with every main meal! A lovely bonus!

Check out their website here: www.newleafeatery.com



Sister Srey Cafe

Another social enterprise day time cafe that is run by two Australian sisters Lauren and Cassie, this is a place where you know your money is going to be put to good use.

According to their website: Srey means sister in Khmer, but besides the obvious kinship connection, there is more to the name than meets the eye. As a sign of respect, Khmer people greet each other with titles of family whether
they know them or not. Older men and women are ‘uncles and aunties, nearer your age, they are brothers and sisters. The girls named their cafe Sister Srey as a dedication to the sisterhood of Cambodia and of course, to each other.

The cafe works alongside the Hearts with Harmony charity and for a more in depth insight to all the amazing things they are doing in the community check out their website at www.sistersreycafe.com






The times we have visited, the food has been beautiful, they do a mean coffee and the location alongside the river is quite relaxing despite being right in the centre of town. Staff are wonderful.



Road 60

You want to go somewhere completely off the beaten tourist trail then make your way to Road 60 night markets just outside of town. We had read about it alot but not been, and feeling a little intimidated by the Cambodian street food scene decided to book a tour with Cooks in Tuk Tuks to do their street food tour which takes you there.

An evening at 60 Road is like going for dinner, Cambodian style, and I am told it is buzzing with local families every single night. A long road lined with mats for hire, street food sellers and a small fun fair, it’s an evening picnic and barbecue haven – the perfect place to relax and spend quality time with family and friends. Plus you won’t find hoardes of tourists walking through it like it’s a tourist attraction; this is exclusively local!



We had an amazing night eating bugs, frogs, quails, tropical fruits and other bits n bobs! I highly recommend going here… there are a stack of various seafood hot pot restaurants alongside the small fun fair and if you have small children, its the perfect place to interact with local families!



The hot pot restaurant our Chef Saroun recommended was Ming Ming Seafood and if you are adventurous head out to Road 60 alone… otherwise ask for Saroun here: www.therivergarden.info/cooks-in-tuk-tuks.html




Saroun was amazing and really enhanced our experience of Road 60. We cant wait to take our best friends there in our upcoming trip!



Sugar Palm

Sugar Palm has been around since we first visited Siem Reap in 2006
and it still gets great reviews. They still get busy so its best to try get a reservation. Sugar Palm is renowned for its home cooked Cambodian food and each time we have eaten there, the food has been superb!



Owned by Cambodian chef Kethana Dunnett and her Kiwi husband Bruce, it serves tasty hearty traditional cambodian dishes. They are said to have one of the best Fish Amok in town!

Prices are midrange with most meals averaging $5-$8 so fantastic value for the quality. Set in a beautiful Khmer timber house, it is ideal for a romantic dinner or special occasion.

Check out their website for further information – www.sugarpalm.com



Miss Wong Cocktail Bar

While Miss Wong’s will feature on my ‘Where to Drink’ blog, it deserves a mention here on the eat blog! The food is sensational, made all the more special by the stunning setting of “Old Shanghai” and the delicious cheap cocktails.

My favourite cocktails include the Rose and Lemongrass Martini, Passionfruit Cosmo and the China White…. Drunk along side some of the best Dim Sum and dishes such as barbequed duck pancakes, barbeque pork sliders and aromatic braised duck thigh and you are on a complete winner… tucked away in a quite alley parrallel to Pub Street you will feel miles away from the chaos!

You can view their menu here: www.misswong.net



ARTillery

While we are not huge vegetarian fans, we stumbled across this place and it looked cute… once we were seated we realised it was mainly vegetarian (much to my husbands disgust) but decided to stay and give it a go.

Advertised as a health food restaurant it is full of beautiful salads, smoothie bowls, cold pressed juices, bagels, wraps, and some of the most amazing coconut icecream we have ever eaten (and we have eaten alot!!)

If you feel as you have overindulged and need a ‘health fix’ head here:

https://m.facebook.com/artillerysiemreap



Embassy Restaurant



Embassy restaurant is not to be missed if you like fine dining and want to splurge.



Embassy Restaurant, located in King’s Road Angkor Village, promises to wow guests with a gastronomy dining experience that’s unmatched in Siem Reap. They’re not “just another restaurant” in what is already a fairly packed Siem Reap market. Embassy is truly unique, offering a five-star gastronomic experience within a multiple-course set menu crafted by Executive Chef team, the “Kimsan Twins,” that showcases modern Khmer cuisine and its flavours. The “Active Menu” is regularly changed, on a monthly basis, to continue to always make guests discover more about the Khmer gastronomy during dinner with them. This is then paired with matching wines to produce an end result that is a meticulously crafted taste sensation.

Embassy Restaurant is a Cambodian restaurant experience you won’t forget! When we visited we were given beautiful macarons to take home at the end and a menu of what we had eaten. Our only criticism was it was pretty squeezy on the top balcony and our 'neighbours' were annoying eaters, so it was hard to ignore... but would we go back? Absolutely!



Pou Bar and Restaurant

Chef Mengly has developed a unique culinary view that great food should be fun yet sophisticated, innovate yet familiar and expressive. His approach is a menu of simplicity with an injection of freshness and adventure. We loved our meal here and you will too! Very Cambodian and very modern! Small and intimate. Make sure you have a meal here... and they have cooking classes to boot!



Il Forno Italian Restaurant



Tucked away in a small pretty alleyway off Pub Street, Il Forno gets rave reviews. We enjoyed our cheese platter, drinks and service but feel we chose the wrong main meals. I had a pizza and Todd chose a Carbonara Pasta – my pizza was soggy and despite ordering the ‘4 cheese’ pizza it had TOO much cheese… in contrast Todd’s pasta was dry.. I think that it was more our choice of dish rather than the restaurant as it does have great reviews and other peoples dishes nearby looked nice.

If you are craving something other than Cambodian it is worth trying out!


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3rd November 2019

Looks delicious!
I made the mistake of reading this before lunch and I was practically drooling on the keyboard! :) Thanks for the useful information. Cheers, Ren

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