Le Grande Cafe is located on street corner, right across from the Psar Chaa market. It’s a two-story establishment, with balcony seating upstairs. This is an attractive joint, that looks a little high-brow, particularly when compared with its neighboring establishments. Everything is all clean and shiny and Western, right down to the uniforms worn by the wait staff. It’s old-school […]
Jen and I are vegan — no meat, no fish, no milk products, no animal products of any kind. This can be a challenge in any country, particularly when you eat all your meals in restaurants. Cambodia is no exception, although it is easier than most Western countries. Perhaps it is more vegan-friendly because it is a Buddhist country, and Buddhism in its strictest form calls for a vegetarian diet. In actual practice, the average Cambodian Buddhist is not vegetarian; and Khmers consume all manner of fish, mammals, and birds. But the Buddhist background may make for a greater willingness to accommodate a vegan diet, and a greater number of dishes that can be made vegan with slight modifications. We never went hungry in Cambodia.
If you, too, are vegan or vegetarian, you will be able to eat well in Cambodia by knowing just a few Khmer phrases. They are included in the language chapter of this book. We did quite well by knowing how to say, “We eat Buddhist,” which Khmers understand as a vegetarian diet. Throw in the phrase, “No fish sauce,” and you have pretty much solved all the vegan and vegetarian challenges. The Khmer people are extremely kind, and they were almost always willing to adjust dishes to meet our requirements.
For those of you who are not vegan or vegetarian, a wide array of options will be available, with fish or meat as the centerpiece. You, too, will not go hungry. However, we still recommend that you consider a vegetarian diet during your travels in Southeast Asia, as eating local meats and fish increases your risk of contracting a food-borne illness. Both of us have had several bouts of traveler’s diarrhea, and we can only imagine how many more we would have contracted by eating meats and fish on the local economy. This may not be a great concern in an established restaurant that caters to Western tourists, but I wouldn’t touch meat from a roadside Cambodian food stand with a ten-foot pole.
All that said, we had no problems finding decent places to eat during our travels in Cambodia.
This restaurant is located near the bus station. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and the selection is wide – everything from variations on the hamburger theme; to soup and dipping pots that you cook at the table, and that can feed a small family. The standard range of typical Khmer offerings are available, in vegetarian form. The place is […]
We went to Thai Thai for lunch, having seen it several times. It’s off Airport Road, close to the intersection of that road and the main road to Angkor Wat. This intersection also has a convenience store with colors and logo that look a lot like those of the 7/11 chain. We initially ordered items vegetarian items on the menu […]
Cafe Moi Moi is located in a group of buildings on the road to the ticket booth for the Angkor temples, just a short distance from the ticket booth and park entrance. We stopped here for lunch. The only other customers were a few Japanese tourists. We ordered a mushroom dish cooked in banana leaves, an eggplant dish, fried morning […]
Le Tigre de Papier is located in the mob of other tourist-oriented restaurants, next to the Psar Chaa in the downtown area. There is a wide range of options on the menu, ranging from Khmer to Thai to Indian. We ordered two Indian thali plates – vegatarian. It was good in quantity, but not all that good in quality. The […]
We went here the first time for two reasons – we had just gotten into town and needed someplace to eat within walking distance of our hotel, and the Sugar Palm is an “Our Pick” in the Lonely Planet Guide. The main dining area is upstairs, and it’s decent enough. There’s a wooden balcony with outside seating, and the ceiling […]
Chamkar is located in the tourist restaurant block next to the Psar Chaa in the downtown area of Siem Reap. Chamkar is a vegetarian restaurant, which is what drew us there. We ate there on three occasions, having seven of their dishes. In addition to its focus on vegetarian cooking – a rarity in Cambodia – the plus of Chamkar […]
Flavors of India is located in the central business district of Battambang, on the west side of the Sangker River. It’s located on one of the half-streets – 2-1/2 street in this case – that are closer to being alleyways than streets. We have eaten here on three occasions, having the vegetarian thali plate each time. The food was good, […]
This restaurant is located on Street 3, which is one of the main drags in downtown Battambang. It’s a small place, and could easily be missed. In addition to being a restaurant, the place deals in tours, motorbike rental, and such. We went here for lunch, ordering vegetarian spring rolls and tom yam soup. The food was OK, I guess. […]
Nary’s Kitchen is located about a block west of the central market in Battambang. This is not the area in which most of the establishments catering to tourists are located, making Nary’s a bit off the track. This showed when we got there, as there were no other customers, the lights were off, and the staff was lying on the […]
Angkor Thom Restaurant is located on the same street as one of the two Smokin’ Pot restaurants and the Madison Pub. Angkor Thom has more Western selections than most places (veggie burgers, for example). It does not have as many Khmer and Thai options as most places (no spicy salads or tom yam, for example). It is definitely trying to […]
We asked Ka, the guy who runs our favorite corner store, for a recommendation on a new place to eat. He said the “Vital” restaurant across from the Chinese School. What we found there was The White Rose. I guess “vital” and “white rose” sound kinda the same, only different. This corner restaurant is a two story affair. The bottom […]
We went here for dinner, trying to expand our dining beyond our usual choices of The Smokin’ Pot and the Sanctuary Villa’s restaurant. There was a handful of Westerners sitting at some outside tables. There were no local customers. We sat inside. The menu had only three items that were vegetarian; and at US $4 a dish, they were all […]
This restaurant is located in central Battambang. The restaurant is on the second floor of a multi-service business – it also rents bicycles and motorcycles, and sells jewelry and other small items in a first-floor shop. We both had a veggie wrap sandwich, water, and a beer. Jen’s assessment of the sandwich was that, if she had gotten it in […]
This restaurant advertises itself as also being a cooking school. There are actually two Smokin’ Pots in Battambang – the original restaurant, and one called Another Smokin’ Pot about a block away. During two stays in Battambang, totaling six weeks, the two Smokin’ Pots became our dining standard. The combination of food quality, low cost, and friendly staff made it […]
This restaurant is located on the river front, next to the Monorom 2 VIP Hotel. It’s a small restaurant, contained inside the bottom floor of your standard SE Asian shophouse. The restaurant is run by the Buddhism and Society Development Association, so you have a lot of young folks running the place as they learn the trade – and doing […]
This place is located on the small river front strip of hotels and restaurants, near the Mekong Hotel. We ate breakfast and lunch here. The breakfast was OK – pretty standard stuff. For lunch, we had tofu burgers with fries (we had been looking to scratch the burger itch for quite a while). They were decent. So, the food may […]