A Foodie’s Guide to Siem Reap

Photo Credit: Geoff of  Exposure Siem Reap

Photo Credit: Geoff of Exposure Siem Reap

Trying the local food is always one of the things at the top of my to-do list whenever I go traveling and my recent trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia was no different. Beyond the tourist-facing restaurants offering international cuisine, I found loads of places dishing up amazing traditional Khmer dishes, as well as more modern Cambodian options. No matter what type of place I visited, everywhere from roadside food stalls to family-run restaurants had excellent service and really made me feel at home.

 Although I’m not vegetarian or vegan, I’m crazy about plant-based food and Siem Reap left me absolutely spoilt for choice. What’s more, a lot of restaurants focused on using locally-sourced sustainable produce and worked hard training up young locals to get them into work, so I always felt good about eating out.

If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, here are 6 places in Siem Reap you’ve just got to call into.

Top 6 Places to Eat in Siem Reap

Sister Srey Café

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Set in the heart of downtown Siem Reap, Sister Srey Café is the perfect place to grab a spot of lunch and do some shopping. It’s adjacent to an adorable little lane brimming with wonderful places to pick up gifts for friends and family back home, as well as the Old Market/Psar Chas.

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The café is really easy to spot — it’s just across the street from the Siem Reap river. There’s outside seating as well as a large street-facing window, inviting you to relax and people watch or just absorb the sights and sounds of the peaceful river while waiting for your food to arrive. If you can’t get a seat downstairs (this place can get pretty busy) there’s extra seating upstairs.

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My bestie and I visited this place just after we ran the Angkor Wat Half Marathon. Needless to say, we were starving! And Sister Srey Café turned out to be an amazing choice because they had so much good stuff on their menu. From soups, salads, and burgers to stir-fries, buddha bowls and desserts — there was more than we could ever need to choose from. They even serve breakfast all day. So if you’re in the mood for some avocado on toast or eggs benedict, they’ve got you covered — whatever time of day you show up.

The drinks menus are a really sweet added touch. They’re hidden inside classic children’s books!

My favorite dishes

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●      Loaded Fruit Pancakes: light and fluffy pancakes topped with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream.

●      Potato Hash: a homemade thick potato rosti topped with crispy bacon and fresh greens.

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●      Snickers Bar: a homemade vegan take on a traditional Snickers chocolate bar

Vibe Café

Photo Credit: Geoff of  Exposure Siem Reap

Photo Credit: Geoff of Exposure Siem Reap

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The very first 100% vegan café in Siem Reap, Vibe Cafe is nestled into Kandal Village, a charming neighborhood just a short walk away from Pub Street. The area is full of chic boutiques, home interior shops, cafés and spas, all with bright colourful fronts facing the street and tempting you inside.

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The café is set out over 2 levels with a little bit of shaded outside seating. There’s a small choice of tables and chairs downstairs, but my favorite place was on the 2nd level. This part of the café was beautiful, with high ceilings, lots of natural light and beautiful paintings adorning the walls.

I visited this place on several occasions, sometimes to meet up with friends and other times on my own to sip a coffee of freshly-pressed juice. Their menu is incredible and focuses on healthy plant-based dishes made from ethically-sourced ingredients. As well as great coffee and juices, there are smoothies, smoothie bowls, quinoa bowls, pancakes, veggie burgers and homemade desserts, plus loads of raw and gluten-free options.

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The people who eat here love the food so much that Vibe Café had to set up its own takeaway store. Brimming with cold-pressed juices, jams, nut butters, vegan cheeses, desserts and healthy treats, their store is like a treasure trove that I dove into more than once during my visit to Siem Reap.

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My favorite dishes

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●      The Ritual Bowl: a nurturing bowl loaded with GMO tempeh, organic quinoa, organic brown rice, roasted pumpkin, beetroot hummus, cashew ricotta cheese, fermented pickled ginger and beetroot, sauerkraut, salad and living sprouts, topped with a few activated almonds.

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●      Native Bowl: a smoothie bowl filled with blended up local mangoes, pineapple and banana, topped with loads of fresh fruit and granola. My bowl looked like a real piece of art — I loved the way they used pink dragon fruit to spell out the word ‘Love’!

●      Good Vibe Smoothie: a wholesome smoothie made from coconut meat, coconut water and vanilla beans. The best part is, all the proceeds from this smoothie go straight to The Good Vibe Foundation, which supports healthy projects for the people who need them the most.

WILD

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A wild cocktail bar located down a cute little street in Siem Reap where you can eat and drink delicious things, all in a lush garden under the stars, WILD is wonderful for so many reasons. The ideal location, the natural greenery, the gorgeous lighting, the great playlists...there’s just so much to love about WILD. It’s more of an apps and drinks kind of place than a café or restaurant, but if you’re in the mood for a light meal, their spring rolls are perfect.

 Being just a 2-minute walk from our hotel, the Rambutan Hotel, WILD was super convenient for us. We were lucky enough to meet the owners on one of our visits. They’re a lovely French couple called Renaud and Lorraine, who gave us one of the warmest, friendliest welcomes we’ve ever received! Although the outdoor seating area is super wide and open, it’s got a really cosy atmosphere.

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The menu is pretty small but delicious. For drinks there’s a great mix of traditional and creative cocktails, mocktails, wine, beer, juice and homemade soda. Then for food, there’s a variety of rolls filled with poultry and veggies. They even do a few sweet rolls for dessert.

There are so many little touches here that make WILD truly unique. One of them is their selection of DIY cocktails! Order one of these and all the ingredients and equipment you need to make your cocktail will be delivered to your table, along with a set of instructions. I made a Mojito Mule and it was a blast being my own bartender! Another thing I loved is that they’ve got their own tree house. You can sit in it and they’ll send your food and drinks up in a little basket. It’s such a magical place!

My favorite dishes

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●      Mojito Mule: two cocktails merged together, made out of rum, ginger syrup, mint leaves, lime and ginger ale.

●      Greek Getaway Spring Roll: filled with salad, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese in a Mediterranean dressing.

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●      Dolce Vita Spring Roll: loaded with tomatoes, pepperoni, mozzarella and Italian basil.

●      Ave Caesar! Spring Roll: full of salad, chicken, parmesan cheese in Caesar salad dressing.

Marum

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A hospitality school training restaurant in Siem Reap, Marum is set inside a delightful wooden house with a wonderfully spacious garden. The food is a bit like a Cambodian version of tapas, with a great choice of small plates designed for sharing.

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My Bestie and I went here for dinner on the evenings after we completed the half marathon and full marathon. We were so hungry that we ordered loads of dishes! But every single thing we ordered was beyond delicious, so we’re really glad we did. The service was great, too. The trainers and the trainees wear different uniforms, so you can tell who is just learning and cut them a bit of slack but we never had to — everything was just perfect.

There’s a great selection of meat, seafood and veggie options on the menu, as well as some out-there dishes (like red tree ants) and more traditional Khmer options (like fish soup with tamarind, galangal and morning glory). There are loads of drinks to choose from — milkshakes, frozen drinks, fresh juices, soft drinks, tea, coffee, liquors and beers — but the cocktails are what stick out in my mind. They’re loaded up with fresh fruit and taste amazing! 

My favorite dishes

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●      Dumplings: crispy vegetarian dumplings stuffed with taro, chives and  shiitake mushrooms, served with a citrus ginger soy sauce for dipping.

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●      Pork Ribs: slow-cooked Khmer-style pork ribs, alongside an apple and radish salad.

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●      Khmer Pork Salad: spiced ground pork with fresh salad leaves, mint and red onions with a chili-lime vinaigrette.

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●      Zucchini Corn Fritters: light and crunchy fritters served with a cool cumin and mint yogurt.

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●      Mango Pineapple Cheesecake: a creamy, fluffy slice of cheesecake drizzled with a lemon-basil syrup.

●      Sandan’s Banana Fritters: small sweet bananas fried and served with lemongrass galangal ice cream and a palm sugar caramel.

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●      Pineapple Chili Margarita: a sweet and spicy take on a classic margarita.

Haven

Just like Marum, Haven is also a training restaurant that teaches disadvantaged young adults valuable work skills, while at the same time treating guests to honest, delicious food that loves you right back. The restaurant was first set up in 2011 close to the Old Market in the town center. But due to the increasing demand for training, they moved to a beautiful new space in Wat Damnak back in December 2015, where they can train more students and create more jobs. Even though Haven is staffed by people in training, they do an amazing job. Our service was superb and all our servers were very, very attentive to our needs.

This place is one of the most beautiful restaurants we ate in. They’ve got stunning outdoor gardens, but we decided to sit in the upstairs dining room which was charming. The menu is dedicated to the health and pleasure of diners. The head chef personally goes to the market each morning to buy the ingredients and then prepares all the dishes with his team in an open kitchen where you can see everything being made right in front of your very eyes.

 The owners are from Switzerland and the menu is loaded with enticing Cambodian-Swiss fusion dishes, some Swiss classics and a fantastic choice of vegetarian and vegan options. With everything from spring rolls, soups and salads to burgers, sandwiches and traditional Khmer and European courses on the menu, there’s no way you’ll go hungry. I’m so sad I never got around to taking any pictures. But if I had, I assure you — you’d be drooling right now!

ARTillery

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A combination of an art gallery and creative café, ARTillery breaks out of the traditional eatery limitations by hosting food classes, community art projects, detox programs and wellness events. They’ve got one location in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and one in Siem Reap, down a little street next to the Maison 557 B&B.

The café promotes healthy living through their plant-based wholesome menu which turns veggie, vegan and raw ingredients into quirky, tasty dishes. Their recipes make the most of nutrient-dense superfoods while also staying true to their roots and using local, organic and chemical-free ingredients as much as they can. Not only that, but ARTillery also works really hard to reduce the amount of plastic they use and boost their recycling efforts to keep Cambodia and the planet clean.

The menu includes a huge number of options, covering everything from gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options to raw, paleo, AIP and nut-free choices. So it really doesn’t matter what kind of diet you’re following — you’ll definitely find something to eat. We had brunch and dinner here and it was incredible.

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My favorite dishes

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  • Mexican Mango Bowl, which was a brown rice bowl topped with chicken breast, grilled corn, roasted veggies, avocado, black bean salads and fresh mango with a turmeric tahini dressing. Sadly, this wasn’t great — it was just okay — which is why it’s not on my favorite dishes list. But the mediocre bowl didn’t put me off ARTillery. I still want to go back and try one of their breakfast dishes in the future.

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  • The Green Fa-Waffle Benedict is a falafel waffle topped with poached eggs, sautéed greens, smashed avocado and a homemade hollandaise sauce. This dish is gluten free and vegetarian.

  • The Ultimate Green Detox cold pressed juice is a must. It’s filled with apple, celery, cucumber, kale, lemon, ginger, and mint.

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  • The classic Avocado Toast with olive oil, dukkak spice mix, on sourdough bread topped with cherry tomatoes and black olive crumb.

If you have just a short visit planned to Siem Reap, but want to try a variety of places I highly recommend A Taste of Siem Reap for a food tour. The founder Evi-Elli La Valle will be sure to take care of you.

So Lovelies I would love to know???

  1. Have you been to Siem Reap, Cambodia?

  2. Have you eaten at any of these spots? If yes, which place?

  3. Which restaurant would you love to try?

xoxo-Lisa
Your SoulTravelFitnessCoach