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How to Eat Tasty in Asia: Famous Restaurants in Cambodia

After Cambodia had experienced the economical boom in 2007, many national dining places including top-notch restaurants were opened in the most tourist-friendly cities of this Asian country, like Phnom Penh. The city has the plethora of food carts where you can buy fast food accompanied with the most famous restaurants in Cambodia. Such food “contrast” attracts thousands of tourists annually to taste diversified delicatessen Cambodian (Khmer) cuisine can offer. 

Diversity of Cambodian food

Khmer cuisine’s diversity joins few cuisines with dishes resembling traditional meals of Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. But Cambodian food is a bit milder without a heave taste of chili.

The main national food is rice, but the historic French influence made Cambodians love bread more than other Southern Asian countries. Freshwater fish and prawns are also very popular. Pork, beef, chicken, duck are also widely available. In Cambodian restaurants, a soup is obligatory served to every dish.        

In towns of any size in Cambodia tourists also can order and taste traditional Chinese meals, in the west of the country Thai cuisine is very popular. Vietnamese food is common as well. Do not get surprised with versatility of fruit used in Cambodian meals. Coconuts, mango, rambutan, durian, pineapples, watermelons and starfruit – all these fruit can be found in the specials’ menu of the most famous restaurants in Cambodia.

Dishes to try in restaurants in Cambodia

Khmer cuisine blends bold, rich, and surprisingly different Asian flavors – delicate Vietnamese, spicy Thai, sweet Chinese and traditional Indian meals. However, there are dishes that a tourist can try only in Cambodia, not in any other country of the Southern Asia. These Khmer dishes are:

  • Red curry based on coconut milk is accompanied by star anise, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander and peppercorns cooked with chicken and vegetables (potatoes, green beans, eggplants).
  • Beef Saraman curry usually served at national holidays and weddings – coriander and cardamom along with coconut milk and peanuts are accompanied by tender beef.
  • Peeper crab is served only in the southern province of Cambodia – Kampot. This is a rustic meal with stir-fried green peppercorns attached to sweet crab meat.
  • Prahok Ktis or fish paste is basically a pork-and-coconut-milk mixed curry with a savory flavor. In Cambodia, this dish is served with fresh veggies like eggplant, green mango, cucumbers.
  • Lort Cha you can buy at any Cambodian street car from a tuk-tuk driver. These late night snacks are basically stir-fried noodles with a spicy flavor, bean sprouts, scrambled eggs and green onions. Before eating this fast food, add soy sauce and a great portion of chili.

Where to go to Cambodia to get the top-notch dining experiences

Cambodian markets are the best place to grab a cheap take-away snack. But quality is not guaranteed. It is better to visit a local café where they serve seafood along with ice creams, coffee and soft drinks.  Such cafes along with the most famous restaurants in Cambodia can be found in the most popular among tourists city – Phnom Penh. The dining scene varies with Khmer cafes, French restaurants, American bars and noodle shops.

There are famous restaurants in Cambodia over town, but some regions of the city have more eateries and diners. If you want to visit a decent traditional Cambodian restaurant, go to Sisowath Quay and the Boeung Keng Kang 1 areas of Phnom Penh.

Street food and cafes

  1. Luigi’s pizzeria is always busy because of its variety of Italian pizzas and Cambodian pies. Prices range from $7 to $9;
  2. Chinese Noodle is a tiny restaurant (located basically in the wall of Monivong region). Here a tourist can taste dumplings and fried beans with mushrooms. The prices range from $1.50 (for 12 dumplings) to $2 (for a portion of beans);
  3. Katy Peris is the tuk-tuk pizza diner working late at night. The place is mobile with a bar where you can buy strong drinks. Pizzas will cost from $3 to $6.

Budget dining places in Phnom Penh

  1. Wat Langka is place where you can taste a great Indian dish. Dosa Corner is the best and cheapest diner in this area. Dosa is a traditional Indian meal;
  2. Psar Orussey is a market where you can get a piece of cake and a cup of coffee from stalls in the west side. The most popular dish is crab (or pork) wrapped in a green and crispy coating and Angry Bird kebab (basically pork balls with fried veggies);
  3. Psar Kab Koh market is a place for a family-run restaurant with meals from Khmer cuisine. Here you can try a traditional Khmer curry with chicken.

The most luxury restaurants in Phnom Penh

  1. The Duck restaurant offers a fine dining experience where all classic meals are mostly taken from French cuisine. The meals’ price is probably the highest in the city but a dining experience is definitely worth of it.
  2. Tepui at Chinese House is one of the most luxury dining places in Cambodia. Here the menu was influenced by South American and Mediterranean cuisine. All meals are served in a tapas-style. Here rich people celebrate weddings and other events. It is rather hard to book a table in the restaurant.
  3. The Lost Room is located behind iron gates. The restaurant is exclusive where guests are welcomed by the doorman. The local menu is filled with dishes made of traditional Cambodian ingredients and luxury European components.

The most famous restaurants in Cambodia offer adventurous eating that takes on a whole new meaning for any foreign to this culture tourist. Cambodia is a country of contrasts where not only food can be a great experience, but also one of the greatest comforts for any foreign traveler. All you will need to feel comfortable in this country are: enough sum of money and a couple of useful devices like a neck personal cooling fan, a good camera and a portable photo printer to be able to make and print pictures everywhere.

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