From rice to spice
Cambodian cooking boasts a fusion of strong and vibrant flavours, with many dishes draw inspiration from China and India, with the Chinese leaving the legacy of stir-frying and the Indians introducing a variety of dried spices.
Fish is a popular ingredient, while prahok, a fermented fish paste, is another staple that gives the cuisine its unique flavour. Khmer snacks includes a variety of insects, as you’ll discover at Bugs Café, Siem Reap’s first and only specialists in insect-based cuisine.
One restaurant that sets out to truly reflect the ethos of Cambodian cooking is Cuisine Wat Damnak, which offers a choice of two set menus (five courses for $27 or six courses for $31) that will make your taste buds dance for joy.
Managed by the talented Sreypeo Hoeun, Khmer Gourmet offers you a choice of real traditional Khmer dishes, from either their la carte or degustation menus. It’s perfectly located in the quiet pedestrian area of Alley West.
For authentic Khmer cuisine at reasonable prices, try The Sugar Palm on Street 27, whose menu ranges from curries to satays, soups to salads.
Also in the Wat Bo area, Viroth’s is an established Khmer mid market dining establishment, with well-prepared plates served in a stylish, modern setting.
Cambodian food is easy for vegetarians – Chamkar on The Passage and its newer branch on Airport Road do an excellent job of preparing veggie dishes. Champey serves up marvellous meals in a beautifully designed restaurant that evokes a gentle, old world charm.
The Kitchen offers a discovery tour of Khmer cuisine with set menus for two featuring numerous exquisite dishes to sample and share.
HUNKAAR Table & Lounge boasts some delectable contemporary Khmer fusion creations – the ideal place to discover new flavours and aromas.
Embassy‘s exclusive fine dining experience includes mouth-watering set menus from $27.
The unique Madame Butterfly offers the best of authentic Cambodian cuisine mixed with Thai and Chinese influences, while pampering guests in a cosy traditional wooden house surrounded by lush tropical gardens.
Malis provides customers a chance to experience a unique and contemporary take on traditional Khmer cuisine – we recommend their versions of Bang Kang lobster and fish amok.
On Pub Street, you’ll also find Cambodian BBQ for a little DIY dining. A special metal contraption called a “Phnom Pleung” (Fire Mountain) is placed on your table letting you grill your meat, seafood and vegetables over glowing charcoal while keeping the soup piping hot, so you can enjoy it just the way it should be!
Chi Restaurant serves innovative Khmer cuisine. Signature dishes include Braised Lamb Shank Curry Saraman and Royal Seafood Amok, comprising squid, tiger prawns, Khmer spices and coconut milk.
For contemporary Cambodian dishes inspired by traditional Khmer recipes, try Bakong Restaurant, whose dishes include Wild Banana Beef Salad and Prawn Chilli with Cucumber Relish.