Cambodia- Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
Are there any really good places to eat in these two towns? Lunch and dinner?
In Phnom Penh at the Juliana Hotel for 1-2 nights.
16 Juliana 152 Road Sangkat Veal Vong Khan 7
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
In Siem Reap at the Salina Hotel for 1-2 nights.
125 Taphul Village Rd No 6
re: The Rogue
I lived in Cambodia for 6 years (1994-2000). In 1996 we produced a food guide to Phnom Penh, with 100 restaurants representing around 20 nationalities.
In those days I had a couple of solid Khmer restaurant recommendations for first timers to Cambodia. A solid place in Phnom Penh is the 'Ponlok' - on the riverside just up from the FCCC. Reserve a table overlooking the river from the second floor balcony. Good bustle along the banks during the early evening. Not that cheap, but authentic Khmer food. Their website:
Stuff like frog's legs, venison and wild boar are very good here. 'Cambodian cheese' on the menu refers to 'prahok', the ubiquitous fermented fish paste. (Tells you what Cambodians think of cheese!
The best Khmer food is across the river at Preak Leap, in the 'restaurant city' that's sprung up since '94. I used to frequent the 'Hang Neak' with its awesome view of the Mekong. Many Khmer go there for BBQ fresh water langoustines and 'banh xiao' (Vietnamese style pancakes). The Kompong Chhnang smoked fish salad with sour mango is good here, as is the crab fried in Kampot peppercorns.
There are many smaller mom and pop thatched places along the river. Go further along and pull up a hammock in one. A feed of steamed corn on the cob and fresh coconut juice costs about a buck.
There are some amazing food opportunities in Phnom Penh, but like anywhere, you have to work a bit to find them.
Best place for happy hour most definitely the FCC.
Siem Reap has changed so I wouldn't have a clue about tourist joints. There is a string of Khmer places in town, on the right side of the road heading toward the airport. Great local food. Order 'samlaw m'choo yuan' for the sweet/sour tamarind & fish soup. Inquire if they have 'trey ro-a' (a special river fish) and ask to have it fried with ginger.
Your hotel in PP has excellent Thai food.
We were in Siem Reap a couple wknds ago and I can still highly recommend Khmer Kitchen for simple homestyle Cambodian food, in an alley near Psar Cha. All the moto drivers know it. Highlights are one of the "yam in oven" dishes and the amok, which is a very coconuty stew rather than fish custard steamed in banana leaf (as it is in other restaurants -- similar to Thai hawmok).
Though I know you're looking for Cambodian, Shinta Mani has truly excellent "fusion" (I hate that word, but for lack of a better adjective) food. Or just stop by for a drink in the pleasant bar.
If you're looking for a moto/tuk-tuk driver to tour the temples, can highly recommend a guy we've used on a few visits over the last couple yrs. His name is Thorn ("tawn") and he hangs out with the other drivers in front of the Pansea Hotel. He's a lot of fun.
I haven't been to Cambodia since 2000 so here are my two vague recollections...
- A place called (I think) Happy Pizza, or Happy [something] Pizza in Phnom Penh, where -if you asked for your pizza 'happy'- they would put marijuana on top.
- I also remember a couple of fairly high-end (for Cambodia) French-style restaurants that seemed to be patronized mainly by aid workers. I know that's not what you're looking for, but just in case it helps at all..
This is what I remember. And I call myself a chowhound. *wince*