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.
Dairy Queen on Riverside and in Aeon Mall (at the airport also) has a wide menu of wraps, burgers, sundaes, juices and smoothies in a familiar environment.
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 more delicious fried chicken – but with a Korean touch – you can also visit Bonchon in one of its two locations (corner of Sothearos and Sihanouk Blvd and inside Aeon Mall). KFC also has various locations around the city.
If you find yourself daydreaming about 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 rolling out their ice-creams.
Meanwhile, Swensen’s (Sorya Shopping Centre, Sovanna Mall and Pencil Supercenter) will also satisfy your craving for cool with ice-cream scoops and sundaes. The Earthquake Sundae is an eating challenge, while the Sticky Chewy Choc Fantasy does exactly what it says on the tin.
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!
If you are after perfectly-marinated buffalo wings then you should be paying a visit to Hooters, the latest American restaurant chain in Phnom Penh. Hot on the heels of its success in Thailand, you simply can’t go wrong with their iconic chicken wings, but their menu has plenty more to offer to keep you coming back.
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 Centre, 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.
The 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. Australian brand Gloria Jean’s Coffee (St 51 and Sisowath Quay) is a popular pitstop. The relaxed air-con interior and Wi-Fi means you can settle in for the afternoon or take in the passers-by from the outside seating area.
Another big name in town, 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.
Krispy Kreme (St. 51), 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.