Charming City Market
You'll have to pass it...
What we say:
A mighty title given to a development complex that largely sat eerily empty for several years, Charming City Market – Borei Pram Prai in Khmer — has finally started to come to life thanks to a handful of restaurants and businesses that have set up shop here.
It still certainly doesn’t exude the charm its designers may have imagined when giving it such an optimistic name. Nonetheless, every tourist unwittingly passes the square block of houses and shops as it’s the last city outpost before the ticket office to Angkor Wat.
Thanks to increasing development, it’s now worthy of mention. Leading in the style stakes is Eric Raisina’s haute couture boutique which opened in 2014. High-end creative fashion brings some much needed contemporary chic to the complex. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the other principal shopping option is the local market. Fruit and veg, pots and pans or a plate of fried rice are the staples on this small and sleepy central square, lacking the frenetic energy of larger local markets.
Following on in the food front are a few options that you might run into, especially if you’re cycling to or from the temples and in need of a quick break. Longest standing is quaint Cafe Moi Moi serving up Asian dishes and mostly welcoming small tour groups. Newer on the scene is Latte House, where food is simple and cheap — think $3 chicken sandwiches — with a wide range of smoothies and drinks available. This is also a relatively rare example of an air-con restaurant in Siem Reap, of which there are surprisingly few.
Oz Cafe, also with air conditioning, is found at the boutique hotel Nita By Vo. It serves up hearty Western-style house-made pies and delectable desserts, with a modern look that makes it feel more restaurant than cafe. Sweet treats can also be found in a Dutch pancake cafe meets computer coding club, I Teach Cafe. Yes, really. We’d recommend steering away from their savoury offerings and towards the pancakes which give just the right sugar hit before hitting the road to the temples. Frenchy Gecko is another Western restaurant if you don’t fancy the usually unspectacular, overpriced dining options at local restaurants in the central temple complex.
Further development seems very likely here. Though we wouldn’t go out of our way to make it to Charming City Market for now, it may be useful to know it’s here as you must pass it when going to the ticket office. As its convenient location is proving increasingly attractive to business owners, it will be interesting to keep an eye on what happens here next.Last updated: 20th July, 2014
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