“Nyam bai” directly translates to “eat rice” and means “let’s eat!”. You’ll hear this a lot during your time in Cambodia! Food is central to Cambodian culture, and meals are best enjoyed ‘family style’, which means sharing several dishes with loved ones or new friends. We’re fortunate to have some of the country’s best restaurants in Siem Reap, and visitors are often spoiled for choice. Here is a list of some of our favourites to get you started… All places listed are tried and tested, and celebrate Khmer produce, flavours, and recipes.
Our top picks
Pou Restaurant ($) – This perfect little place is a must visit for foodies. Come here if you want to explore haute cuisine at humble prices. Chef Mork Mengly has designed a fantastic menu and every dish is made with love. Find Pou in a restored wooden house opposite Wat Damank pagoda. Our favourite dish is the grilled mackerel, and the pretty Nam Trey Sbaek Jrouk (pictured above).
Cuisine Wat Damnak ($$$) – For those with a bit of a budget, we think the set menu at Cuisine Wat Damnak is a steal. At $27 for 5 courses and $31 for 6, with a new menu every fortnight, diners can expect the freshest of seasonal produce and a celebration of Khmer flavours. Set in a beautiful yet simple wooden house and garden, this peaceful oasis is the perfect spot for special occasions. Make sure you book well ahead to avoid disappointment! Begin your culinary journey by locating the restaurant in the Wat Damnak neighbourhood, and enjoy basically everything!
Cheap & cheerful
Little Kroma ($) – Run by a lovely family, this cute locally-owned jaunt serves up an array of delicious Cambodian food at great prices. Find this simple but charming little restaurant near Wat Damnak… look out for the gingham!
Mie Cafe ($$$) – What’s not to love about gourmet food, a tranquil garden setting, and excellent service? Chef Tola, who received his training overseas, has returned to his home-country and is serving up fusion cuisine to perfection. Mie Cafe is located near Kantha Bopha Hospital, and we’d recommend not missing out on the ribs!
Malis ($$$) – This fine-dining experience in the heart of the city, is a passion project of celebrity chef Luu Meng. Luu Meng is Cambodia’s only Master Chef, and with years of research and exploration, is bringing old Cambodian recipes back to life. We particularly love the scallops and the Royal Mak Mee! Malis is located along the river, just outside of the bohemian neighbourhood of Kandal Village.
Chamkar (House) ($$) – This pure-vegetarian restaurant has a menu that could turn meat-eaters. Delicious Cambodian dishes in simple surroundings. Chamkar has two venues, one is in Alley West near Pub Street, and the other is in a secret garden (our favourite) 5 minutes from the town centre in Svay Dangkum commune. Don’t miss out on the Wedding Day Dip!
Vitking (House) ($) – Vitking is really popular with locals and offers meat-free meals at really great prices. The original Vitking is an open-air garden on High School Road, and their newer (and much flashier) air-conditioned venue is located in the Svay Dangkum area. The mushroom ‘straws’ are great as an appetiser, and the noodle hot plates are a great value meal-in-one.
Banner image credit to Pou Restaurant