Photo: Preah Vihear and the gang.

Eat and meet

Sra’Aem is a small town with plenty of restaurants, but enquiries kept turning up the same names: Lemy Restaurant and Oeng Kong Huy.

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We really loved Lemy’s, a very typical Cambodian restaurant with a wonderful family feel, and excellent food. They are particularly noted for their seafood, though we couldn’t test this thanks to being allergic. It is 250 metres north of the town roundabout on the right-hand side. Once you pass all the woodworking shops, you’ll see a row of red-fronted restaurants, and Lemy is the last one. The service can be a little slow, as they are very popular and fill up quickly in the early evening. They offer a huge menu of typical Cambodian food, with plenty of soups, noodles, stir-fries and more. The beef claypot was so good we couldn’t get enough of it. Prices range from $1.50 to $4 per dish.

Oeng Kong Huy is slightly pricier and less homely than Lemy. If personal space is an issue for you, you’ll likely prefer this spot. You’ll find them on the western road out of Sra’Aem, part of a row of guesthouses approximately a kilometre away from the roundabout. The food here is much the same as Lemy’s, and just as tasty, though locals tended to recommend Oeng Kong Huy. This may be because they also sell some Western dishes, including burgers. A lot of locals seemed to think that foreigners wouldn’t (couldn’t) eat Cambodian food. Breakfast prices range from $2 to $2.50, including a $2 omelette. Fried noodles with chicken, beef or pork was $3.50.

If you’re pining for Western fare, and simply can’t do without, then Sra’Aem Boutique Hotel is the answer. They have an extensive menu of Khmer and Western dishes, including salads, pizza, pasta and steaks, with prices ranging from $4.50 for a beef burger, to $18.50 for a tenderloin steak. They also do a Western breakfast for $6. There is a full bar here, with a wide range of cocktails plus a pool table to help while away the evenings.

Lemy Restaurant, Sra’Aem: T: (071) 222 2198.
Oeng Kong Huy, Sra’Aem: T: (064) 636 8889; (066) 686 668.
Sra’Aem Boutique Hotel, Sra’Aem: T: (088) 862 2778.

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