It is easy to eat well in Cambodia with choices available from a vendor’s basket, street stall, a family-run kitchen to upmarket, trendy restaurants.
Inexpensive Khmer cuisine is found in the markets or psar and in cheap restaurants across the country. The street stall is such an integral part of Khmer life that you can always get a snack at anytime. Zip into the psar for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and pick up some vegetables and meat for home. In Phnom Penh, there are 3 places to go, one of which is Psar Thmei, the Central Market. In Siem Reap, locals are converging on the Psar Loeu. The Sorya Shopping Centre in Phnom Penh offers an air-conditioned food court.
Khmer and International Cuisines
For more refined Khmer cuisine, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap offer excellent restaurants. Phnom Penh showcases the best of Khmer cuisine as well as Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian French, Italian, Spanish, Mexican. For a good cause, dine at restaurants run by aid organizations in which money earned goes towards Cambodia’s rehab and local workers get valuable training.
Up country, your choice is limited to Cambodian food or the French influenced baguette sandwich. Chinese food is easily found in any sized towns. In the outlying areas, the influence of the neighboring country seeps into the food. In western Cambodia, Thai food is common, and in the east, the Vietnamese influence is noticeable. Sihanoukville boasts excellent seafood.
Avoid drinking tap water, especially outside the major urban areas; bottled water is readily available. Ice is considered safe as it is made in ice factories out of treated water.
Local and foreign beer are readily available. Chinese tea is served at almost all local restaurants and the French left behind a legacy of strong expressos. Alternatively, opt for kaa fey, which is served black or very sweet with spoonfuls of condensed milk.