An old backpacker favourite
43 Street 172, Phnom Penh
T: 012 765 591
A short ramble from the riverside on Street 172 in Phnom Penh, Laughing Fatman is an old backpacker favourite in an upcoming tourist hotspot. Formerly Oh My Buddha at Lakeside, moving close to Wat Ounalom required a name change that wouldn’t upset the monks. Seems they have no problem with self-deprecation, then.
Mr Fatman, aka Rith Sreng, has provided the first Khmer lesson for many new arrivals, including yours truly a few years ago. His ear to ear smile and belly laugh quickly work their magic. His staff are just as friendly — likely to call you ‘my dear’ and enjoy a chat in their excellent English.
The premium seats are outside on the street, but competition can be fierce. The inside tables give you the chance to scope the work of local photographer and regular customer Conor Wall. Look out for a very big snake, as well as portraits of the Fatman himself with his girth on display. In the evening, fairy lights in silk hangings add a touch of twinkle.
LFM is a good choice any time of day – the breakfasts are popular with hungover expats in need of a plate of home comfort, washed down with a glass of Royal D. Lunch and dinner is catered for with a standard mix of generously portioned Western and Khmer food. The chef will happily modify the chilli count for those with less than asbestos palates.
Prices are reasonable, with a plate of crunchy spring rolls and pungent dipping sauce for US$2 and main meals starting at around US$3.50. Even the thriftiest diner won’t go thirsty on 75c draft beer or an indulgent US$2.75 cocktail.
Laughing Fatman is a reliable pit-stop easily accessible from the riverside and Royal Palace. It’s ideal for a leisurely lunch when the sun is too hot for sightseeing, and the fun atmosphere makes for a pleasant evening out in a group. It’s not fine dining, but it’s good value grub and lubrication courtesy of the jolly chubby fellow.
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 19th September, 2014.