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 on your radar.
There comes a time in every 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. The good news is that international chains are popping up all over Phnom Penh.
One of the world’s biggest fast food brands, KFC, is now well and truly established with a total of nine outlets across the capital rolling out “finger lickin’ good” deep-fried chicken pieces coated in Colonel Sanders’ patented recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Combo meals here also come with steamed rice and pickled veg to appease the Asian clientele. Locations include Monivong, Norodom and Russian Boulevards, Aeon and Sovanna Malls, Kampuchea Krom, Sisowath Quay, St. 155 and St. 51.
BBQ Chicken (St. 51) is South Korea’s answer to McDonald’s with a bit of KFC thrown in. Menu choices range from sandwiches, burgers and salads to soups, steak and fish, plus grill and barbeque specialities.
For yet more delicious fried chicken, but with a Korean touch, you can visit Bonchon in one of its two locations (corner of Sothearos and Sihanouk Blvd and inside Aeon Mall).
If you find yourself daydreaming about flame-grilled burgers, take solace in the fact that Burger King has three outlets in the capital: in the airport, on St. 51, and on the Riverside.
One of its main competitors, Carl’s Jr. (St. 51), recently entered the Cambodian market with a menu stacked with iconic hamburgers. They share their BKK1 premises with Cold Stone Creamery, which has another outlet in Toul Kork selling their irresistible ice creams.
For a much healthier but equally delicious option, Tutti Frutti (Sisowath Quay) provides a selection of their best-selling frozen yoghurt flavours (15c per 10g), with a choice of toppings from fruit and nuts to chocolates and sweeties. Simply serve yourself, weigh and pay!
Hard Rock Cafe has finally arrived in Phnom Penh (there’s been one up in Siem Reap since 2014), so you can savour authentic American cuisine such as their Original Legendary Burger, fresh salads, and flavourful sandwiches, while marvelling at the numerous rock memorabilia that adorns the walls.
An international chain renowned for its great tasting Italian food is Pastamania, with affordable dishes that can now be enjoyed at their convenient Riverside location. While you are visiting the restaurant, enjoy a delicious Italian artisanal gelato at Gelatofix located in the same venue. A second outlet containing both of these great brands is expected to open in BKK1 in the near future.
The Pizza Company (Sorya Shopping Center, St. 105, St. 261) has the standard selection of pasta, pizzas, salads and appetizers which are ‘flavoured to excite’. Look out for special Asian tastebud treats such as Tom Yum Kung pizza topping (chilli paste, prawns, calamari and mushroom) and Tropical Seafood.
A brand new addition to Sorya Shopping Center is Auntie Anne’s, the classic US franchise that sells hand-rolled pretzels and freshly-squeezed lemonade. Customer favourites like the Original Pretzel, Cinnamon Sugar and Sweet Almond are a must try.
Well-known American pizza chain, Domino’s Pizza (St. 51) has has quickly become a firm favourite among Khmers to grab a slice. All your favourite pies are here with their signature base.
For a coffee fix there’s an abundance of places in the capital. Costa Coffee is part of the UK’s most popular coffee chain, which was founded in London in 1971. Here you can sip the ultimate handcrafted cappuccino and enjoy a blueberry muffin on the side. Since opening its doors in December 2012 in BKK1, a string of other branches have followed suit with more outlets expected to open in the future.
Global coffee giant Starbucks has also a presence in the Kingdom. At the time of writing, there are three outlets of this massively successful cafe: in the airport, inside Aeon Mall, and in BKK1.
For those really hot days, of which there are plenty in Cambodia, you’ll likely want to grab a crisp, smooth. refreshing Pepsi from any of the mutlitude of outlets and stores that sell it in the capital.
Krispy Kreme (St. 51), meanwhile, is ready to satisfy sugar addicts’ cravings for real American doughnuts and quality coffee. Come here for what seems like a never-ending selection of irresistible sweet treats.