Fancy Cambodian food

Fancy Cambodian food

Upmarket local fare

More on Siem Reap

Cambodian food does get a bit of a bad rap compared to its neighbours, for numerous reasons of varying soundness, and it can seem incongruous therefore to even associate the words “posh”, “Khmer” and “nosh” (a bit like trying to think of snazzy Welsh food), but associate them you can, and the rewards for doing so in Siem Reap are rich indeed.

Travelfish says:
Cafe Moi Moi

Cafe Moi Moi.

There’s no point in beating around the bush: there’s no longer anywhere else to launch an upscale culinary voyage anywhere in Cambodia than at Cuisine Wat Damnak. It is such a monumental leap into another realm of flavours that you will never have experienced before, and are deeply unlikely to forget, that you can’t afford the risk of missing it in case the planet is invaded by aliens and you have to cut your holiday short. Cuisine Wat Damnak focuses on Cambodian ingredients and recipes but executes them with French know-how and flair and the result is magical. Diners choose between two set menus (five courses for $17 and six different courses for $24), which may unsettle the control freaks among you, myself included, but trust me, you’re in good hands. The chef, Joannes Riviere, knows exactly what he is doing, and the journey from amuse-bouche to dessert is perfectly conceived and balanced. In keeping with Cambodin traditions, where fish is a staple food thanks to the abundance of the Tonle Sap, this is moreover a must-go destination for fish-lovers especially. If you have specific dietary requirements, it helps if you advise the restaurant in advance.

Fans of the creative can make their next booking for A-HA, a contemporary and stylish wine bar and restaurant in the centre of town that offers a delicious selection of tapas trios that feature some of the best elements of Cambodian cuisine. Most of the other dishes lean towards the international, but A-HA is still worth a visit for those with an interest in Cambodian food that goes beyond a fish amok.

A relatively recent opener is Square 24 on Street 24 in the Wat Bo area. This very contemporary open-sided restaurant allows you to select your combination of meats, vegetables and sauces yourself in a twist that I thought wouldn’t work at first, but actually does extremely well. The results are really delicious, the service is lovely, and the setting romantic in the evenings. Definitely worth a trip if you’re looking for a cut above the Pub Street scene, but your wallet isn’t too stretchy.

I wouldn’t exactly call it posh, but the setting at Cafe Moi Moi off Charles De Gaulle Avenue is so special that it elevates the whole dining experience. An open-fronted wooden pavilion looks out onto a small court-garden that is green and lush and bursting with birds and butterflies and beautiful darting lizards and skinks. It’s the kind of place you could sink into for an entire afternoon if you have the time — and then come back again the next day for more. The food is a mixture of Cambodian and Japanese and while it may not, on the Cambodian side, offer much that is wildly beyond what you’ll find elsewhere in town it is nonetheless extremely good and generously portioned. Their fresh lime juice is a great big glass of gorgeous refreshment, and not one of the mean-pours you find in too many places in Siem Reap — the subject of a future post I think…

Pan fried kay fish with eggplant - Cuisine Wat Damnak

Pan-fried kay fish with eggplant at Cuisine Wat Damnak.

Cuisine Wat Damnak
Wat Damnak Area
T:
(063) 965 491 / (077) 347 762
www.cuisinewatdamnak.com

A-HA
The Alley
T: (063) 965 501

Square 24
Street 24, Wat Bo Area
T: (063) 5555 492

Cafe Moi Moi
General Oung Oeng Park
Off Charles De Gaulle Avenue (Road to Angkor Wat)

T: (092) 255 563 / (012) 627 277

Contact details for Fancy Cambodian food

Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

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Our top 10 places to eat and drink around Siem Reap

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Abacus

A real treat

 

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Angkor Cafe

Flash Angkor option

 

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Angkor What?

The original bar

 

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Best coffee joints

Go for hot and steamy

 

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Best happy hours

Sip in affordable style

 

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Breakfasts

Start the day like a king

 

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Cafe Central

Classy for a meal or chill-out

 

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Cafe Indochine

Romance and great food

 

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Cambodian food basics

A primer

 

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Chamkar

Cosy and friendly

 

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Champey

Fine Khmer food

 

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Cuisine Wat Damnak

Amazing

 

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FCC Angkor

Refreshing escape

 

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French restaurants

Wine, cheese and more

 

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Garden restaurants

Food with a view of sorts

 

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Gelato Lab

Can't beat it

 

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Haven Training Restaurant

An outstanding meal for a good cause

 

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Hawaii Pizza House

More than pizza

 

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Il Forno

Superstar Italiano

 

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International food

A wrap

 

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Italian restaurants

Fantastic

 

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Ivy 2

Vegetarians and tapas lovers' delight

 

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Joe to Go

Generous proportions, reasonable prices

 

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Khmer Kitchen

Always tasty

 

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La Boulangerie

Great breakfasts and salads

 

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La Cabane La Cuisine des Filles

Honest French food

 

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Laundry Bar

Get all washed up

 

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Le Triskell d'Angkor

For a little Gallic twist

 

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Linga Bar

Classy and gay-friendly

 

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Maharajah

Typical Indian fare

 

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Marum

A worthy splurge

 

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Mexican food

You're a long way from Matzalan

 

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Miss Wong

Funky

 

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Mr Grill

Sizzling

 

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NGO restaurants

Fill up and help out

 

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Peace Cafe

Vegetarian hit

 

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Picasso

Tapas

 

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Pub quiz mania

Exercise your noodle

 

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Rooftop bars

Plenty to see

 

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Sister Srey Cafe

Superb coffee

 

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Street food

Great value eats

 

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Supermarkets

The practical stuff

 

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Tapas

Finger-lickin' good

 

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The Hive

Cool respite, Western food

 

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The Indian

Cracking Indian food

 

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The Old House

Good value Khmer food with class

 

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The Sugar Palm

Best amok in town

 

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Vegetarian food

A bit of a challenge

 

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Wine

The bucket is for the ice

 

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X-Bar

Great rooftop