Brand to mouth
Khmer cuisine is a voyage of discovery, but sometimes all you really want is the comforting taste of home. These are the international chains and restaurants that should be right up your street in Siem Reap.
There comes a time in every major holiday when all you really want is a pizza. Or fried chicken. Or a coffee that isn’t made with sweet milk and served in a plastic bag. Luckily, several famous chains are popping up all over town.
KFC (Sivatha Blvd), possibly the world’s most popular fried chicken franchise with its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, was one of Siem Reap’s first recognised international restaurant brands to open. All the firm favourites are on offer here, along with a few Asian twists to make sure there’s a winner, winner, chicken dinner for everybody.
If you find yourself daydreaming about flame-grilled beef patties, you should take solace in the fact that Burger King (Sivatha Blvd) has an outlet in Temple town, and yes, it tastes just like home! From the mighty Whopper to the Bacon Cheeseburger Doubles, it’s a burger-lovers paradise, especially if you’ve just emerged from a lengthy trip around the provinces and need that quick hit of comfort food. The ‘King Fries’ aren’t quite as we remember them, but you won’t mind as you embrace yourself in sweet, greasy goodness.
Another well-known arrival in Siem Reap is Hard Rock Cafe (King’s Road Angkor). The American restaurant and hotel chain is a global phenomenon with hundreds of locations spread around the world – the Siem Reap branch is their first and currently only location in Cambodia. Every Hard Rock outlet features live bands belting out classic covers nightly, with Rock & Roll memorabilia on display (Hard Rock Cafe Angkor has one of Madonna’s hats and a guitar owned by Gene Simmons of KISS, among other items). The menu is stuffed with hearty American and TexMex food, in massive portions, such as Hard Rock’s Original Legendary Burger, Famous Fajitas, and Rockin’ Wings. A special Cambodian addition is the “Local Legendary Burger”, made with Khmer herbs and spices, and topped with a fried egg.
The Pizza Company (Angkor Trade Center) has the standard selection of pizza, pasta, salads and appetizers which are “flavoured to excite”. Look out for Asian-inspired pizza toppings such as Tom Yum Kung (chilli paste, prawns, calamari and mushroom) and Tropical Seafood.
If you need to chill then Swensen’s (St 105), where happiness never melts, will satisfy your craving for cool with their indulgent ice cream scoops and sundaes. Founder Earle Swensen gave his customers three things: quality, quantity, and value for their money. They have a selection of more than 20 ice cream flavours and an unlimited variety of Ice Cream Sundaes that include premium quality toppings such as Mars, Oreo, and classic cookie. The Earthquake Sundae is an eating challenge, while the Sticky Chewy Choc Fantasy lives up to its dreamy title.
Sarpino’s Pizzeria (Samdech Tep Vong St) has over 80 restaurants in eight countries and aims to meet the demand for greater freshness, quality, authenticity and most of all, variety in their pizza. They take pride in knowing how to make an exceptional Italian-style pizza every time, and hand-knead their dough and allow it to proof three times to fully develop its flavor and texture. Sarpino’s is renowned for its sauce, using only the sweetest tomatoes available to guarantee perfect consistency and concentrated flavours.
After establishing five outlets in Phnom Penh, global coffee chain Starbucks has finally arrived in Siem Reap, albeit at the departures lounge of the international airport. You can expect to find their classic range of hot and cold brewed beverages, as well as some regional and promotional specials. Carefully-sourced beans, unsurpassed roasting expertise, and highly-skilled baristas enable the company’s decades of history, passion, and knowledge that goes into every cup.
And finally there’s Tous Les Jours (Sivatha Blvd), the everyday French-Asian bakery producing a selection of freshly baked goods made with the highest quality ingredients sourced from South Korea. They have locations all over Cambodia as one of the best bakeries in the Kingdom. Cuddle up to a cake or sandwich, accompanied by a fine cup of coffee or tea.