Mar 23 2013

Where to eat on Koh Rong

Published by at 8:13 am under Islands

Most visitors to Koh Rong make the trip because they’ve heard about the diving, the ridiculously long white beaches and the treehouses. Haute cuisine may not be in the top three reasons to visit, but there’s a surprising amount of choice for a tropical island. Most of the best eats are to be found on Koh Touch beach, the main accommodation centre of Koh Rong.

Simple. Delicious.

Simple. Delicious.

Paradise Bungalows‘ restaurant lounge, on an elevated teak platform looking over the beach to Koh Rong Saloem, is the choice of the island. Romantically lit at night, they supply games such as karam and chess to keep you entertained if lounging on the Thai cushions listening to frogs isn’t enough for you. It has the best menu selection, ranging from Khmer favourites such as amok to welcome European tastes with wraps and bacon-wrapped chicken. There’s vegetarian and vegan options and a commitment to preparing your food according to your preferences and allergies. The service is impeccable, and food is delivered with uncommon speed to where you recline at your table. You’d expect seafood to feature prominently, and won’t be disappointed with Kampot pepper squid, stir-fried shrimp and holy basil, barracuda steaks and fried grouper.

Start the day the Khmer way.

Start the day the Khmer way.

Pancakes seem to be on every Koh Rong menu, but for an alternative breakfast treat, visit Happy Khmer Noodle in Koh Touch village just after the shop. Hunker down on a bench to eat with the islanders, with dogs, chickens and children underfoot. The wooden table is covered in red vinyl flooring, nailed down with bamboo strips to stop it escaping in the sea breeze. There’s a choice of noodle soups and bor bor rice porridge at $1 a bowl with plenty of condiments on the side. Iced coffee comes at 2000 riel (50 cents) for a satisfying and cheap start to your day.

Get noodles. Get happy.

Get noodles. Get happy.

If that’s a little exotic for first thing in the morning, may we introduce you to Koh Lanta bakery, opposite the Dive Shop pier. Run by two Italians and a Frenchman, they start early to get freshly baked bread, cakes and pizzas out of their professional ovens and into your grateful mouth. The mango, apple and pineapple pastries are affordable, filling and hit the spot with a cup of European coffee. The pizzas make great takeaways for a boat trip or hike to a deserted beach.

Got to love Italian men. Especially when they make these.

Got to love Italian men. Especially when they make these.

If you have a predilection for pizza, Treehouse Bungalows at the very end of Koh Touch beach has a wood-fired oven which produces very tasty pies in the evening. Their private beach is quiet and cosy at night, and you can eat sand-side or in the wooden deck restaurant. The menu is predominantly Western with a leaning towards Italian — pasta, bruchetta, salads and wine by the glass or the bottle.

Let's hope the sign writer doesn't get paid by the letter.

Let’s hope the sign writer doesn’t get paid by the letter.

No trip to a beach would be complete without the pleasure of the day’s catch cooking over an open fire. Kim and Frank’s Corner Bar is hands down the best barbecue on the island — those South Africans know a thing or two about brii. You may have to wait a while for your feast tray (truly, this is far to large to be called a plate) but it’s worth it. And we’re guessing you won’t have an important business meeting to attend and can probably cope with wiggling your toes in the sand and sipping a beer by candlelight while it’s cooking. Your choice of a huge fish steak or a pork chop the size of half a pig is served with toasted bread, a baked potato, roasted sweet potato, green beans in garlic, roasted carrots and salad. Warning: you may find buoyancy a bit more of a problem the following day!

Paradise Bungalows
Koh Touch beach, Koh Rong
T: (092) 548 883

Happy Khmer Noodle
Koh Touch village, Koh Rong

Koh Lanta
Koh Touch beach, Koh Rong

Corner Bar
Koh Touch beach, Koh Rong
T: (081) 227 353

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