There are only very few 100% vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh, but many of the international restaurants with an expat/tourist clientele have a good selection of vegetarian food on the menu. Here are some of my favorites:
Phnom Penh Blog
If you want an authentic, very local experience in Phnom Penh, you should try a homestay with Kanary (the founder and manager of CWSG) and her sweet family. I think Kanary’s homestay is in fact one of the only real homestays in Phnom Penh, because if you look online, most of the advertised homestays are more like guesthouses with many guest rooms and external staff to take care of the guests.
Instagram is becoming more and more popular in Cambodia, and it shows at the Phnom Penh cafes, where photogenic food and beverages are competing for the attention from Phnom Penh teenagers with new smartphones and short attention spans.
In my previous blog post I talk to Chantha from Angkor Bullet Jewellery about his life and what inspired him to start his social business, and in this blog post, we are visiting the workshop to see how the bullet casings are melted and transformed into jewelry.
Angkor Bullet Jewellery is a social enterprise founded by Chantha Thoenun. Chantha’s mother passed away when he was 4 years old and his father was killed by Khmer Rouge when he was 8, so Chantha went to live with his grandparents.
I had noticed the giant potatoes which were sitting around in a basket in Kanary’s kitchen, and I was wondering what they were used for. I found out the other day when The Grandma invited me for potatoes with palm syrup.
No, it is not a typo. The name of the vegetarian restaurant I want to tell you about is in fact Vegetarian Restaurant. I stumbled upon the restaurant as I was looking for a place to have lunch after my meeting with Alan and Mr. Pheap at A.N.D.
Naga World is a huge casino resort/entertainment complex near the river and Diamond Island in Phnom Penh. Compared to other 5-star accommodation in the city, Naga World is usually only around half the price, so when I was in Phnom Penh last time, I decided to give Naga a try. I had a lot of work to do, so when I checked in I told the receptionist that I needed a quiet room with good wifi, and that was what I got. My room was on the 13th floor and far from the escalator (which can be noisy) with a beautiful view of the city.
I am back in Cambodia, but until the day for my flight, I was not sure whether it would be a good idea, considering the political situation in the country. The opposition leader Sam Rainsy had announced that he would return to Cambodia on November 9th, Cambodia’s Independence Day, and people were worried that it might be causing disturbances and even riots.
Weavers Project was started by the social enterprise Sonas World with the purpose of creating sustainable economic growth in rural communities in Cambodia. Cambodia has a strong tradition of weaving, but it is a dying craft due to the competition from cheaper, factory-made fabric as well as the declining interest among the young generation of learning the skills of weaving.
Samai is Cambodia’s very own rum brand, and every Thursday night, the distillery in Tonle Bassac transforms into the city’s coolest rum bar. The distillery is only open on Thursdays which gives the venue a sense of exclusivity, like a hidden club for the initiated only. The people who find their way to Samai are mostly expats and locals of the more well-heeled, well-dressed kind.
Farm to Table is one of my favorite restaurants in Phnom Penh. The vegetables used in their cooking are either homegrown or sourced locally, and the menu reflects what is in season. They also have a very good selection of vegan and vegetarian food, which can otherwise be hard to find in Phnom Penh.
Yesterday, a friend of a friend introduced me to Dr. Midori Kotani. She is an extraordinary woman who, in addition to being a leading researcher within her field in Japan, has also just opened a Japanese bakery in Phnom Penh.
In Phnom Penh I am staying with Kanary from CWSG and her family, including The Grandma, who will always let me know if I have put on weight. She is the sweetest old lady, and she is spoiling me with fresh fruit and delicious food. I do not speak Khmer and she does not speak English, but none of us care, so you will often find us having long conversations without understanding a word of what the other person says.
A couple of weeks ago I was joining Thida from Backstreet Bar and some other friends for a day trip to Kien Svay. Kien Svay is located right by the water, and it is a popular picnic spot among the Phnom Penh people.
Compared to other big cities in Asia, the nightlife in Phnom Penh might seem less wild and crazy, but the selection of bars is decent with something for everyone.
Khmer Num Krok are little round cakes made from rice flour and coconut. It is a popular street food snack that you will find throughout Phnom Penh. The cakes have a fine crunchy surface surrounding the inner, just set, coconut batter, and they come in a sweet and a savory version.
Lok Lak is really a wonderful dish. Slices of meat (usually beef) is marinated in a delicious tomato-based marinade and then stir-fried very gently, so it retains its juiciness. It is then served on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and onions, so you can make your own lettuce wraps with the beef, that you then dip in a delicious sauce made from lime, black pepper and salt. Most places in Phnom Penh serve the Lok Lak with a fried egg on top, and some places also offer you a serving of fries on the side.
Cheese tea just sounds too weird, so I had actually decided that it was one of those things that I could live happily without, but then I got a voucher through Grab for a free cheese tea at Heekcaa, and I can’t say no to free stuff so I went to give it a try.
There’s a bubble tea shop, T&T Taiwan Bubble Tea, a few steps from my hotel, so boba (another word for bubble tea) has become an integrated part of my daily routine. I usually order the old school version with black tea with milk and tapioca bubbles and no sugar, but sometimes they are out of bubbles and I have to decide on something else to order.