The Khmer cuisine
The Khmer cuisine is one of the oldest surviving Asian gastronomy. It is characterized by regional produce, simplicity and freshness. The arrival of the French added European flare to the Cambodian cuisine, but it still bears a strong similarity with the Thai cuisine. Chinese influence is also very evident, coupled by the prominence of chilli and peanuts which are thought to have been introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century. As a result, the country has an array of flavors that meets the eastern and western worlds. Here are some of the best eateries in Phnom Penh that are worth indulging in.
The Central Market
The Central Market is a Phnom Penh landmark with a new French-built structure. Aside from clothing, antique, souvenirs and knick-knacks, the biggest market in the world also has a food court. Long lines of stalls selling authentic Cambodian delights can be found at the western side of the market. It features native dishes such as curries, spiced vegetables, local desserts and drinks. The stalls are very clean and the food is very affordable. The food court is quite busy as it caters to Phnom Pehn’s workers who flock the market for some cheap and satisfying meal. But the service is quite quick as the food is already cooked and will simply need to be plated.
Norodum Moniyong Boulevard
For some street food and a gastronomic adventure, head down to Street 178 and Norodum Moniyong Boulevard. There, one can taste some of the strangest kinds of edibles such as the duck embryo eggs, skewered grilled insides of a pig, chicken gizzard and claws, pig ears, frogs and many others that are sold for under $1. If you can still stomach it, you can try munching on fried grasshoppers, locust, tarantula and pupa at Sothearos Boulevard. But you can also have some normal food like cut up fruits, lobsters, prawns and crabs.
Elephant Bar/ Blue Cat/ Comme a la Maison
For a decent, sit-down meal with good ambience, Comme a la Maison will serve up some pizza, salad and dessert. C’est Wat Restaurant and Guesthouse has an eatery that will offer some roast meat with a glass of wine for $7.50. Baitong Restaurant features Khmer, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. When craving for some kebabs, The Mediterranean Zone is at Golden Sorya Mall Food Court which also features Japanese, Filipino and Korean dishes. And for a night hub, tourists and locals dance the night away at the 69 Bar, drink ‘til they drop at Barbados, have cheap cocktails at the Blue Cat and just relax at the Elephant Bar.