Siem Reap Food Guide - Where and what to eat in Siem Reap
To locate the best food in Siem Reap, you might need to do some digging with so many gems waiting to be found. Whether you wish to eat in air-conditioned comfort or wish to delve straight into local delights, there are plenty of eateries waiting for you here. Indeed, Cambodians and Khmer culture wish to make visitors feel welcome. Through their food, they also want to express Khmer heritage.
There are nice western places to enjoy a meal, and we always enjoy a meal at Raffles Hotel D'Angkor. Many local restaurants serve delicious food at really affordable prices as well. In the places we visited for a meal, we really liked how good the food tasted, and how reasonable the prices were for such delicious meals. Make sure you check out these restaurants to have a great time feasting in Siem Reap!
Enjoy your stay in Siem Reap!
For your convenience, refer to this list of places you should head to for a meal while in Siem Reap!
1. Champey Restaurant
2. FCC Angkor
4. The Sugar Palm
5. Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor
1. Champey Restaurant
Located just opposite Old Market, this local restaurant is easy to locate. Its old-style charm doesn’t do itself harm either. Its menu also offers no pretensions, where this restaurant is clearly targeted at tourists. Yet, there is nothing wrong with this. Tourists want to eat authentic local food, and at this place, local is what they get. Nothing more, nothing less. Its location also provides convenience to tourists, where the majority of them would likely be at Old Market at one point of their trip to Siem Reap. If you intend to head down, you should really try this place out!
For starters, you can try a refreshing mango salad, where there is a spicy tanginess to it. With just enough punch, the spicy touch rather opens up one’s appetite for more!
For mains, do try Cambodia’s signature dish, Fish Amok. Note that each restaurant offers a different take on this dish, and rarely are two Fish Amoks identical! Nicely stir-fried with a generous amount of gravy, the sauce goes well with steamed rice. Really, this dish can be cleaned in a minute!
For sure, you can also try a soup! The Khmer Seafood Sour Soup is delicious. For those who are afraid of trying the tom yam soup (which they offer as well) for fear of its well-known spiciness, this is the soup to try. Served with a bowl of steamed rice, this dish is good for a simple meal. There is just enough kick to allow the diner to taste the spice, yet not enough to force him to rush for a glass of water. Certainly, this soup can be considered a beginner’s dish for a real spicy dish. However, do not be fooled, for this dish deserves praise on its own. The different types of seafood in it are fresh and goes really well with the soup. Mixed with the steamed rice and eaten together, it leaves the diner satisfied!
When it comes to dessert, it doesn’t get any more local than at Champey. You have got to try the chef’s special: Banana. Apparently created by the chef of Champey, this is a seemingly simple dish, that is just bananas (pun intended)! Coated with a special sweet sauce, the additional passion fruit dressing just works out well with the banana. One word: Yummy!
2. FCC Angkor
Like its sister back in Phnom Penh, FCC Angkor located in Siem Reap is worth at least one visit.
Situated in downtown Siem Reap, it stands alone, which comes together with its own hotel. You won’t be able to miss it as you drive past it, with its two-storey white colonial-style building standing out against its surroundings. It also comes complete with a courtyard and a bar, ensuring you have a pleasant time chilling out at FCC.
Food-wise, it offers the same menu between the two cities.
We first chose some vegetarian spring rolls to get started for our dinner. It was tasty, with a crunchy exterior. Biting into it, the filling was moist with strong flavours. The sauce provided was also excellent. It consisted of an oriental-style chilli lime sauce, which was perfect for dipping. Really, this dish is good in two ways. Have it on its own, or go with the dipping sauce for a kick!
Next up, we decided on two mains to share among us. First, we went for the signature FCC Pad Thai noodles. The picture says it all. Simple and tasty. It brings back memories of Bangkok and Phuket. Yum! On the second main, we went for another signature dish of theirs: Crying Tiger! In layman terms, it basically grilled beef. Now, the dipping sauce is what makes this dish unique again. It is a sourish/spicy chilli palm sugar sauce. What exactly it contains besides those we mentioned, we honestly do not have any idea. Not that we are complaining though. It creates a whole new flavour and taste for this dish. It is something we have not tasted before, and it seems unique to this town. Awesome.
Of course, being in Siem Reap, we had to try a truly Cambodian dish. We looked at the menu and decided on the Steamed Sea Bass. What makes this dish different from any other fish fares, is the ingredients used to cook this superb dish. It actually contains some water lily and Khmer basil oil. Certainly, we are no Khmer experts, and hence, are unable to tell you precisely how the dish is supposed to taste. All we can tell you is the reaction we have after eating the fish. One word: delicious. Verdict? You have to try it when you are at FCC Siem Reap.
Lastly, time for some desserts. Granted, we are already quite full from arguably three mains and one starter. Yet, as they say, there is always room for dessert. We ordered one of our favourites again, the humble Mango Sticky Rice. It tastes just like how it was in Phnom Penh. A fresh mango, cut into slices, with sticky rice with some sweet sauce.
All we can say is that we enjoyed a really tasty meal. In fact, we were so full by this point that we can no longer order anything else, such as some of their classic cocktails. If you are here, remember to save some space for one (or two) of their cocktails! They offer a unique FCC Transfusion (consisting of vodka, lime, cranberry juice topped with ginger ale), as well as other classic drinks including mojitos and martinis. Grab one and chill out by the courtyard as the sun sets!
When you wish to enjoy some local Cambodian cuisine in comfort, there really is no better place to do so than at Malis. Thankfully for visitors, Malis has a restaurant in two major cities in Cambodia: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Here in Siem Reap for the first time, we knew we had to head over to Malis for a meal. In fact, we headed to Malis twice during our trip to Siem Reap. We went for breakfast and headed down for lunch as well since we always enjoyed our meals at this restaurant! Upon entering, we realise how different the décor is from the branch in Phnom Penh. The feeling one gets at Malis Siem Reap is more resort-like, and you immediately feel at ease.
Breakfast at this restaurant offers visitors the best of both worlds. Whether you wish to have a Western breakfast that comprises the usual eggs and croissants, or a local Cambodian fare, Malis has got it covered.
For a local breakfast at Malis, we highly recommend trying their signature pork and prawn noodle soup, also known as Kuy Teav Malis. The broth is amazingly rich, with the pork tearing off the bones easily. The minced meat and prawns work well together, and with the noodles, make a great combination. For the more adventurous, have the noodles together with their chilli sauce and lard (both provided together with this dish), to have a really sinfully awesome breakfast!
For those yearning for home and some eggs, we suggest going for their Sout Krorlok, or scrambled eggs. Do not underestimate this seemingly ordinary dish, as Malis being Malis, they always have ways to turn a simple dish into something unique. Served with hash brown and grilled tomato, the attention goes to the scrambled eggs. It is cooked to a creamy and runny perfection. After which, it is then placed into a rice cracker bowl. Please enjoy!
If you are still not full from your breakfast, feel free to get their pain au chocolat or other pastries. They are good! Not yet satisfied? Go for their drinks, which are aplenty! Frappes, smoothies, juices, and shakes, they’ve got it covered!
Knowing that we are both small eaters, we decided to order a few dishes to share between us.
First up, was the Scallops with Green Peppercorns. Verdict: fresh, tasty, and perfectly chewy. Mixed with peppercorns and other greens, you get a uniquely Khmer taste of fresh scallops. A great appetiser to start the meal!
Next up, were the Fish Amok and Wok-fried Zucchini served together.
Verdict: The Fish Amok is done differently from other eateries and restaurants. Marinated in a curry paste and steamed in a banana leaf, the result is an ‘otah-like’ texture. Yet, the unmistakable fish amok taste is there. Coupled with fresh Goby fish, and it becomes a wonderful dish
Verdict: The greens were simply done, and is one for those who simply want to enjoy a plate of vegetables. If you were to eat it with a bowl of steaming white rice, you get the feeling of being at home. It is warm and comforting.
A short while later, the Baked Goby Fish with Young Mango Dip arrived. This dish took some time before arriving, and it is good that we had quite a few dishes before this. Of course, there was a reason why this dish took so long. The fish is first marinated with lemongrass and garlic, with both ingredients stuffed into the fish. Next, it is covered in a crust of salt and left to bake. This process requires some time and hence, the longer than usual wait.
Verdict: For sure, the wait was worth it. As you cut open the fish, you can smell the fragrant smell of lemongrass and garlic. The fish is really fresh and tender. The two of us finished up the entire fish in no time!
As expected, we realised we still had room for desserts. From four options, we went for the Kampot Pepper Brulee. Far from being an ordinary, standard-fare Creme Brulee, this dessert comes with a plate of three small bowls.
Verdict: The star is evidently the Kampot Pepper Brulee, with the Brulee infused with Kampot Pepper instead. For some reason, this works very well, as there is just sufficient flavour to taste the Kampot Pepper, but not too much to turn the dessert into a spice. Along with the Brulee, is the Borbor Amok in Coconut Milk. Tasty, milky, delicious! Finally, we finished the dessert up with the final bowl: jasmine-infused ice cream. Not too sweet, you can taste the jasmine in the ice cream, and you get a refreshed aftertaste. This works perfectly, as it does not undo all the great food that we consumed earlier!
Please, please, please, head over to this wonderful restaurant if you have a chance to be in Siem Reap!
4. The Sugar Palm
We heard great things about this restaurant, with its name always one of the places to visit when one is in Siem Reap. Naturally, we decided we had to try it when we arrive here.
The Sugar Palm offers a selection of dishes that they feel best represent Cambodian cuisine, with mostly comfort food, characterised by the head chef’s vision to celebrate her grandmother’s food, which inspired her to open The Sugar Palm in the first place. The restaurant also has a belief that it is a joy to share dishes, believing it helps to bond better and build closer ties. We definitely like the sound of all these, and we headed to The Sugar Palm one fine day.
First up, to share, of course, is their Shrimp Cakes. Quite often we heard of crab cakes, but more rarely, do we hear of shrimp cakes. Deep-fried to perfection, it is crunchy, filled with shrimps, and juicy. For sure, it is not the healthiest dish one can eat. And yet, this is what makes it a delicious, home-cooked style, dish. Mixed with a unique Khmer dipping sauce and you are on your way to ordering one more!
Fish is a big thing in Cambodia, with most locals depending on fishes for their source of protein. This is mainly because they have a huge water source in Tonle Sap, and there are plenty of fishes for their needs. Meat is also expensive to have, and it can be considered a delicacy for the locals. As such, many of their signature dishes come in the form of fish. We went for their Steamed Freshwater Fish. Light and not packed with too many ingredients, this dish offers an uncomplicated and light taste. It comes with a special fish sauce filled with garlic. It is a home run, with memories of home flooding back. At that instance, we wanted to head back home to have a meal with our grandmother. Granted, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get an idea of this dish.
Next up, we went for their curry. We have not had any curry yet in Siem Reap, and what better place to try it than at The Sugar Palm. They offer a few choices in terms of their Khmer Curry. Between a vegetable option, pork, chicken, or fish, we decided on the last option. We just enjoy fish! Packed with all sorts of vegetables, including potatoes, long beans, carrots, and eggplants, it is a pot of goodness. Among those vegetables are chunks of fishes. When you mix those ingredients in your bowl of rice and add a generous amount of curry into it, you can almost drink up your bowl of rice at one go. Simply fantastic! Very quickly, we finished up the entire bowl of curry and were in fact contemplating ordering one more. Thankfully, we chose the wise decision and note that it is better to eat everything in moderation.
At the end of these three dishes, all to share, we were entirely satisfied customers of The Sugar Palm. Definitely, it tasted like home-cooked food and is unlike other restaurants, which are usually packed with MSG and less healthy ingredients. If we are back in Siem Reap, we are fairly certain we will be back!
5. Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor
When in Siem Reap, one should definitely head over to Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor for their afternoon tea set. Who doesn’t like to enjoy a quiet afternoon sipping some tea, nibbling some local snacks, while reading a book?
Over at this hotel, guests can choose between the classic afternoon tea set, or go for the Khmer afternoon tea set. As there were the two of us, we decided to try both sets!
The Khmer Afternoon Tea came with traditional Khmer pastries, such as the pumpkin cake and a layered rice flour cake. For savouries, spicy fried prawns and chicken satays are just two examples that will be given. Fruits are quite a part of Khmer tradition, and this is provided for in their afternoon tea set.
For the evergreen Classic Afternoon Tea, you cannot go wrong, as the standard fare of freshly baked scones is served. Madeleines are also part of the set, with butter, homemade jams, and fresh cream provided. Besides these, the savoury sandwiches are also light and tasty, while the sweets are an array of colourful pastries.
While we had it with coffee and tea, those feeling particularly thirsty can opt to have a glass of champagne to go with their classic afternoon tea set!
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