Phnom Penh

Grilled Bananas Skewers of grilled bananas at a street stall make delicious snacks.


Khmer cuisine and traditional Cambodian dishes

Freashwater fish, seafood and more fish...

Cambodian diet is based on seafood and freshwater fishes and crustaceans. From the founding of the Khmer civilization to present days, the fertile plain of the Tonle Sap (the Great Freshwater Lake, south of Angkor) and the sea have provided for proteins. Basically, we are fish-eaters, we love dried fish and rice, fish sauce and rice, and if we have the money we eat crabs and shrimps and rice. Have we mentioned rice? Yes, rice is essential to a good meal. Your average Cambodian wolfs down huge quantities of rice with relatively little meat. Fresh (and often) organic vegetables and fruits complement our meals. We have put up a list of traditional dishes that you have to try. Local Siem Reap culinary specialties include dried pork sausages (sach krork) and dried fish from the Great Lake (trei ngeat).


From King Monivong Boulevard to Route 6

To enjoy good food, there are mainly several areas: the Tonle Sap riverside (we call it the white man's wild west), Street 240 around the Royal Palace (local expatriates), Monivong Boulevard and Route Nationale 6 that caters to anybody else. Route 6 is an endless highway of Khmer restaurants that sprang under the UN era, just outside of Phnom Penh beyond the Japanese Friendship Bridge. The restaurants on the Mekong side tend to be trendier (and more expensive) then the ones on the Boeng (Lake) side. But like in any self-respecting Asian city, it is easy to find food around town in Phnom Penh proper. We don't usually have huge meals, rather we munch regularly throughout the day: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, before going to bed snack, driving snack, working snack etc.


The cost of a meal in Phnom Penh

With the American dollar at more than 4000 riels, Cambodia is one of the cheaper countries in this part of the world. However, Phnom Penh has its share of restaurants and hotels priced for international travelers. Of course, with average salaries at US $100 a month, Phnom Penhers cannot really afford to dine in places for bor roteh (literally for "cart drivers" as we call foreigners). You will have no problem finding tasty morsels from around the globe from noodles to pastas, fish amok to fusion sushi stuffed with foie gras and kimchi. 

Cart drivers: Above US $20.00 a meal (without the French wine)

Expensive: Between US $15.00 and US $20.00 a meal

Average: Between US $5.00 and US $15.00 a meal

Cheap: Below US $5.00 a meal (with a bottle of Angkor Beer)


Hors d'oeuvre

Nataing - Crispy rice with pork and coconut milk

Nyoam Lehong - Green papaya salad

Sach Ko Ang Kroeung - Beef skewers with lemongrass paste


Traditional Khmer main dishes

Khdam Cha - Stir fried crab (try it with Kampot pepper)

Kouy Teav - Phnom Penh noodle soup (beef, chicken, pork shrimps)

Kouyv Teav Cha - Khmer stir fried noodles (twist on a Chinese classic)

Ban Chaev - Pancakes (pork and shrimps, we took it from Vietnam)

Moan Ang - Khmer grilled chicken (organic farmed raised)

Moan Cha Khnyei - Stir fried ginger chicken

Sach Ko Loc Lac - Beef Loc Lac (marinated with lime sauce, 100% Khmer!)

Samlor Machoo Kreugn - Khmer lemongrass soup (200% Khmer!)

Samlor Machou Mouan - Khmer chicken soup with tomatoes

Saraman - Braised beef curry with peanuts (a home cooking classic)

Trey Ang - Grilled fish (more than 40 freshwater and marine fishes)


Chek Ktih - Bananas in sweet coconut milk

Nom Norsorm Chek - Glutinous rice and banana wrap

Nom Kroap Kanau - Sweet mung bean rolls

Vaoye - Golden angel hair



Chek Namva - Namva banana (excellent grilled or with caramel)

Chek Pong Moan - Egg banana (the smallest we have)

Svay - Mango

Turain - Durian

Samaev - Rambutan



Traop - Eggplant

Marech - Bitter melon

Tralach - Winter melon

Samdech Bandos - Bean sprout

Mteh - Chili

Ambel - Salt

Marich Kampot - Kampot pepper



Angkor Beer - Local brew (good stuff!)

Bayon Beer - Local brew (cheaper stuff!)

Taei - Tea

Sra Thnaot - Palm wine (your stomach won't take the raw stuff!)

Sra Sor - Rice wine (stuff strong enough to use as fuel...)

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Follow me, Gnarfgnarf the Travel Mouse, and my friends in cities around the world. See for yourself whether you like what the locals suggest: itineraries for cultural discoveries, fine cuisines or street foods, guesthouses or five-star hotels, shopping for souvenirs or handicraft, and other fun activities for insightful travel. Written by local city slickers and the natives!

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