I was stuffing myself silly with my first taste of Khmer food on Insta-story Live when one of my viewers sent me this – ‘Where are the bugs and scorpions?’
I never realised but Cambodia had a reputation of unusual ‘snacks’. Don’t judge… It has always been one of my life goals to (dare myself) taste creatures with more than 4 legs. In fact, the more the merrier! I was honestly excited. But Cambodia is really more than just it’s famous tarantulas, millipedes and scorpions. In this country of mysterious tombs also lies savoury barbecued dishes and delicious cultural soups that rivals those served in 5 stars restaurants, all at a quarter of the price.
Here’s a list of restaurants and food we tried during our 5 days trip! Did we try any creepy crawlies? Read to find out!
Siem Reap, King’s Road
Rohatt Café, Dinner
Right after our flight, our first stop is to Rohatt Café at King Road. It’s situated in an Art Market where cafes, restaurants, pubs and pushcart stalls selling art-wares abound. The cost of transport from the airport to King’s Road was USD$7 by taxi and USD$5 by tuk tuk. We needed this wifi pit stop as we came in on a late afternoon flight and will be transiting to Sihanoukville on a overnight coach.
Rohatt Café serves delicious traditional Khmer cuisine at a reasonable price; with friendly and helpful service who didn’t seemed to mind this odd Asian couple pounding furiously on their laptops. We ordered a hazelnut latte, hot chocolate and a sticky rice desert to tide till dinner time, all of which were seriously good! A cup of hot chocolate here costs USD$2.20, which is considered OK for food around the vicinity. Next up we had Grilled Beef on Skewers, which was absolutely wonderful and a must-try when you visit. The skewered meat is unexpectedly tender and chewy. So good we finished it before we could snap a picture >.< They serve rice with this USD$5.60 dish, so it’s good for a full meal. Wifi was good and in case the afternoon gets hot, the waiters will happily set up dedicated electric fans for you at your request.
With good food and a nice alfresco view, we developed an inertia to move and decided to explore further into their menu. Dinner ended up at Rohatt Café again. This time, we ordered Wok Fried Chicken with Cashew Nut and Khmer Traditional Fish Amok. The Work Fried Chicken with Cashew Nut were disappointing as we could not find much meat in the dish. The Fish Amok was highly recommended by the waitress as it’s a traditional Khmer dish. It’s somewhat like a wetter and fresher version of fish otak we have in Singapore. It tastes pretty good. Still, we both agree that our favourite dish was the beef skewers and hot drinks.
Siem Reap, King’s Road
The Grey, Dinner
Introducing another restaurant in the area – The Grey. We came back to King’s Road on the last night of our trip simply because Shawn was attracted by a banner that proclaimed ‘free flow meat, USD9.90 only’. There are 4 types of meat served free flow – chicken, pork, crocodile and fish (that’s 4 different animal kingdoms there), along with sides of potato and eggplant. Unfortunately, the meat served was somewhat stale and tough to chew. The pork which started out as the saving grace quickly got sickening. I enjoyed the vegetable sides a lot more than the meat while Shawn only aimed to consume in exchange for the amount paid. The Grey looks like a place where you’ll want to come by with friends for a drink. Stay away from the free-flow BBQ though, it’s not worth it.
Siem Reap, Road No. 6, Salakanseng Village Svay Dangkum Commnune
Cambana D’Angkor, Breakfast and Lunch
Located in the very same boutique hotel we stayed in is a hidden gem. Priced affordably and with one of the best food we have tried in Siem Reap, we sincerely recommend non-guests to drop by the hotel’s restaurant for your meals.
Breakfast is ala carte style, with options from American and Asian food and free-flow drinks/bread. Somehow, we both prefer international cuisine instead of Asian for breakfast. I loved the eggs so much that I ordered more than 1 portion!
We only made the decision to have a go at their local menu at the restaurant on the last day of our trip. We ordered the beef lok lok and Khmer Soup. The beef is tender and chewy, with generous servings of meat. The Khmer Soup is both spicy and tangy, with huge portions of ingredients in a large bowl. Both are equally delicious, affordable (USD7 each) and definitely worth a try. We slurp everything up to the last drop and regretted trying out the restaurant only on our last day! The restaurant is open from 10.30am to 9.30pm.
Watdomnak Road, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Khmer Grill Restuarant, Dinner
Many of Siem Reap’s best restaurants are littered in hidden corners of the city, providing foodies a thrill of the hunt. One such restaurant was Khmer Grill Restaurant, a short (and FOC) ride from our hotel Cambana D’Angkor Suites.
Located at Wadomnak Road, this restaurant has gain popularity with locals and tourists alike over the years, even earning itself a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.
Shawn got a western Grilled Beef Steak (USD$3) while I went for a more local Fried Frog with Ginger Rice (USD$3). It was great food at great prices! I totally enjoyed my frog legs rice which came in with generous portions of frog legs and veggies. The beef steak was pretty juicy and good for it’s price as well. The mains are totally worth the dollars and calories so we recommend trying the Khmer Restaurant at least once. We also shared a plate grilled chicken wings (USD$3). It came with a sweet and sour homemade lime sauce which perfectly complemented the wings. While delicious, we felt that it was a too expensive compared to the mains.
Besides the mains, Khmer Restaurant sells fresh fruit shakes at USD$1-2 each! We had a total of 2 watermelon shakes and 2 banana shakes on top of the mains and sides, which made us very pregnant that evening. Thankfully, Khmer Grill Restaurant is walking distance from the main night attractions of Siem Reap – perfect for an entertaining digestive walk.
Siem Reap, Pub Street
Angkor Wat by day, Pub Street at night – this is the go-to plan for any tourist in Siem Reap. It’s not hard to see why Pub Street as earned its reputation as the place to be every night in Siem Reap. It’s bustling with shops, pubs and street stalls hawking everything from alcohol to insects.
Pub Street is lined with numerous pop-up bars selling hard liquor. Majority of these stalls play loud music, similar to what you’ll find in clubs. Some of these even have karaoke options. With cheap alcohol and dance music, you’ll naturally find many of their patrons dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
Alcohol isn’t really our thing, so we stuffed ourselves with the abundant street food available. Popup stall selling fried ice cream are everywhere. You’ll get to choose your own flavours and they’ll make it for you on the spot. Coconut pastries are also common here, similar to Singapore’s tutu cakes, but stuffed with corn and flour instead. It’s really delicious and we had 3 servings during our trip! Make sure you ask for freshly made ones as they only taste good while hot.
I have always wanted to do a taste test on spiders and scorpions and there were fried critters EVERYWHERE on pub street! To boost my courage, I had crickets and a snake as appetizers before moving on to the potentially deadlier ones. Of all 4 bugs, my favourite were the crickets! Sweetly fried and crispy, I finished the whole lot. Eaten like how we eat fries, I can totally see why these critters were a local favourite. The snake was pretty much inedible, because it was simply too tough. We had trouble biting off a piece and even when we manage to, chewing was a chore. Threw it away. The spider and scorpion tasted ok though I wished I could taste more of the critter and less of the oil. The best part were the legs – sweet and crispy. The worst? The spider’s abdomen. Slightly bitter, chewy and definitely not something I’ll eat for a meal.
Can’t get enough of our Cambodia trip? Read our previous related post about the luxurious boutique hotel Cambana D’Angkor. Coming up next in the same series – Temple Hopping and Tips to travelling around Cambodia