May 23 2011

Ordering an iced coffee in Phnom Penh

Published by at 8:48 pm under Cafes & brunch


One of the great pleasures of enduring the weather in Cambodia — those 35 degree afternoons one after the other — is sitting down in the shade with an enormous, sickly-sweet iced coffee.

A brewed awakening: Cambodian coffee may contain pork fat.

Here’s how they roast coffee in Phnom Penh: until it’s black, and usually with a big scoop of rendered pork fat or butter. (Sorry, vegans.)

Here’s how they drink coffee in Phnom Penh: similar to Vietnamese iced coffee, over ice and with large quantity of sweetened condensed milk.

Most places in central Phnom Penh charge 2,000 riel for an iced coffee with condensed milk (you’ll pay 1,500 elsewhere) or 1,500 for an iced coffee without milk. You will usually be served your iced coffee in a large plastic cup with a lid and a straw and a plastic bag contraption for the cup so your hand doesn’t get too cold carrying it.

Although iced coffee is usually served very sweet, and as such, this is the easiest way to order it, you can have your drink tailored to your personal preference.

Iced coffee vocabulary:

pleasesoam
coffeega-fay
icetoek gok
milk toek doh koh
little milktoek doh koh tech
fresh milktoek doh koh chao
black - kmao
sugar - s’gor
without sugar - aut s’gor
little sugar - s’gor tech
without - aut or gomb
but - te
don’t - goam
little - tech or tech tech
takeaway - k’chop

iced coffee with condensed milk - ga-fay toek doh koh toek gok
iced coffee with fresh milk - ga-fay toek dog koh chao toek gok
iced coffee black (this will still contain a lot of sugar) - ga-fay kmao toek gok
iced coffee with just a little condensed milk - ga-fay toek doh koh toek gok te toek doh koh tech

Another good one is ga-fay chas toek gok. Chas means “old” and will get you an iced coffee the way an old person likes it, strong on the coffee and light on the condensed milk.

However you decide to order it, be warned, the stuff is like rocket-fuel and is highly addictive.

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Ordering an iced coffee in Phnom Penh”

  1. Khmericanon 03 Jun 2011 at 2:30 pm

    This is helpful. Now if only I can master the tones on the iced coffee vocabulary

  2. AbigailatPenhandInkon 18 Jul 2011 at 3:43 pm

    ‘Chas’ means old, but it can also mean ‘dark’ when referring to colour. A new, fresh colour is light and bright, an old colour is dark.

    I love mine strong and sweet with a top up of free tea afterwards!

  3. Arnulfon 01 Aug 2011 at 6:59 pm

    My favourite is still the notorious stand in the Russian market food stall. With coffee so good that we even made a facebook fanpage for it (http://www.facebook.com/BestIcedCoffeePhnomPenh) ;-)
    Guess I’ll have to make myself one at home tonight, as they just don’t sell that stuff here in Berlin…

  4. Linaon 01 Aug 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Arnulf, I haven’t tried this place before. I’ve seen the sign and thought it was suspicious. Guess it was just truth in advertising! I’ll be sure to try it next time I’m at the market.

  5. Arnulfon 02 Aug 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Oh, you should really give it a try. It’s a bit rough on the caffein-metabolism with the automatic refill and all, but well worth it ;-)

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