Eat and meet
BattambangA decent variety of both Western and Asian eateries can be found scattered around Battambang city. The majority of restaurants geared towards foreigners are located in the downtown area, west of the Sangkar River.
For an authentic local culinary experience, consider sampling some of the local favourites offered at the Battambang night market. Stillborn chicken eggs, a favorite snack among the locals, are widely available. If crunchy chicken fetus isn't your thing, delicious and less exotic fare is obtainable, such as skewered barbecued chicken bits, Khmer-style vegetable/mystery meat sandwiches in crispy French baguettes as well as some of the best fruit shakes you'll ever have. If you plan on having a few cold ones, be sure to choose a vendor with a cooler, unless of course, you enjoy drinking warm beer with ice.
Located in the heart of Battambang, Khmer Delight offers a wide range of typical Khmer cuisine and fine Western favourites such as burgers, fish and chips and Aussie-style meat pies. For breakfast, a gluttonous $5 big breakfast is available if you're starving; otherwise, more sensible (and cheaper) options are offered. The New Guinea coffee, served in a European-style coffee press, is excellent for those in need of a strong brew. The free WiFi is fast and reliable. 50 cent drafts from 17:00-20:00. Delightful indeed.
American owned with a staff of friendly though often cheeky Khmer waitresses, Gecko café offers top quality food in a quiet and charming atmosphere. Unlike the typical alcove-style setting found in most nearby restaurants, Gecko Café is located on a second floor, offering a cool breeze to patrons enjoying delicious entrees such as authentic spaghetti, fresh salads, and mouthwatering burgers. The prices are slightly higher than other nearby options but the atmosphere is unbeatable. The parmesan pasta with garlic bread was fantastic. Free delivery.
Hidden gem Nary Kitchen opened in 2009, is tucked away in a very obscure section of town, and offers by far the best fish amok in town. The atmosphere is very simple; it's just the owner's house with four tables under an awning. The cook, Nary, prepares your meal in her own kitchen using only fresh ingredients. Expect to wait 40 minutes for your meal to be prepared as everything is made from scratch. In addition, cooking classes are offered for $7 per person for a three-course meal. Highly recommended.
Located in the heart of Battambang, Smokin' Pot is an established Asian eatery that offers a highly regarded cooking class. Popular Thai and Khmer dishes, such as flavourful Thai soups and savoury amok are their specialties with a few Western comfort food options available. Mains are offered from $1.50 to $3.00 but portion sizes won't leave you stuffed. If it's Asian you're craving, this is your place; for Western food consider nearby Khmer Delight or Gecko Café. The owner speaks excellent English courtesy of growing up in the refugee camps on the Thai border. A great place to meet fellow travellers. Note: The Smokin' Pot has two locations in Battambang with identical menus and the same cooking class. For a meal or a few cold ones, we suggest the newer One More Smokin' Pot because of its spacious and cosier atmosphere.
With a large menu consisting of hundreds of items, The White Rose is the most popular restaurant in town. You'll find a diverse crowd of patrons including Khmer tourists, military generals, expats and backpackers. The noodle soup (with beef, chicken or pork) is a steal at $1.25. The $0.75 fruit shakes are extremely popular here and a wide variety of fruit is available to choose from. Plenty of options for vegetarians. Great value, mediocre service.
With a great downtown location and proximity to The White Rose, you would expect Madison Corner to be a bustling restaurant. However, with the majority of the menu consisting of a make your own crepe scheme, it doesn't appear that too many of Battambang's tourists are interested. Opting for the burger located under the sandwich section of the menu's miniscule Western food besides crepes section, I was heartbroken to receive a nugget of meat without a bun. The espresso was fantastic, and the establishment does get a late rush of drinkers as it's usually the last the close. Good for a nightcap. A pool table and WiFi are available.
Located a few food stalls east of Madison Corner, every evening Fried barbecued chicken truck (you guessed it, a truck equipped with a deep fryer) sells fried chicken wings. The artery clogging, crispy and saucy wings are a fantastic snack for those not on a diet. Served with spicy Khmer dipping sauce, the wings are available for take away or you can dine with the locals on one of the provided stools and tiny plastic tables.
About a 15-minute walk from downtown, Bamboo Train Café is a fantastic option for delicious Western food, a cup of coffee or cold beer. Its cosy atmosphere would be a great place to chill out after an evening wandering around nearby night market stalls. Enjoy a game of pool with the friendly, English-speaking staff while listening to a fine selection of music. The menu is diverse and reasonably priced with mains $2-$5. Worth the walk.
The Riverside Bar is where we find ourselves way too often whenever in Battambang. Its setting is in an old wooden house by the river with a spacious veranda offering lush views. The pool table and the very good Western food all keep drawing us back. Recommended. Note it's a good walk from the centre of Battambang, so taking a moto is a good idea.
Bamboo Train Café and Bar: Romchek 4, Rattanak (Next to Park hotel). Open 07:00-22:00 everyday
Battambang night market: Along the river (food stalls are on the west side) Open 17:00-late
Fried barbecued chicken truck: A block east of Madison Corner; in front of the "Association of Cambodian Chinese" building. Opens around 17:00 everyday
Gecko Café: 3rd street, one block south of Psar Nath Market. T: (017) 712 428. http://www.geckocafecambodia.com
Khmer Delight: Downtown between road two and two &a half, one block south of Psar Nath Market. T: (012) 778 666. Open 07:00-late
Madison Corner: On the corner of 3rd street, one block west of The White Rose. T: (053) 731 486
Nary Kitchen: 650 Group 21, Prekmohatep, Svaypor (across from Holiday Guesthouse). T: (012) 763 950
Riverside Balcony Bar: Street 1, on the west bank of the river south of town. Open 16:00-late
Smokin' Pot: Between 1st and 2nd street; from the White Rose head towards the river. T: (012) 821 400
Smokin' Pot: 3rd street, one block south of Psar Nath Market, next to Khmer Delight
The White Rose: On the corner of 2nd street, two blocks south of Psar Nath Market. T: (012) 964 091
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