[Cambodia] Where and what to eat, recommendations needed

Finally, we have decided that this year vacation will be 2 weeks in Cambodia. We will be in Siem Reap, Phnom Pehn, Battambang and the south west coast, including maybe the islands, any restaurants recommendation will be appreciated.

Also, any dishes you strongly recommended? Thx.

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I’ll be in Cambodia in November so will be interested in the responses you get.

This isn’t a first hand rec and you may well be aware of it already. But I was reading an account of a journalist who gave it up to become a chef and travelled extensively in Cambodia and was going to open a restaurant there. He enthused about the cooking of Joannès Rivière at Cuisine Wat Damnak. It focuses on very traditional Cambodian cooking. It’s definitely on my list.

The author writes a lot about different Cambodian dishes and it might be worth a look. It’s also a jolly good read anyway. The book is Down and Out in South East Asia by Alex Watts ( a follw up to Down and Out in Padstow and London)


Thanks for the article. Already booked! Actually we advanced our trip because the restaurant will be closing on 25 June. I heard about Cuisine Wat Damnak many years ago, but each time when I wanted to plan a trip in that part of south east Asia, the restaurant was always closed, and we have postponed our visit since 2013! I hope the cuisine lives up to its reputation!

Which part of Asia are you now?

I’m in Kuching, Sarawak Malaysian Borneo. The food is really good, not so much in Bako National park where I’ve just come back from but I wasn’t there for the food. Off to Kota Kunabalu in Sabah in a couple of days.

Pity Cuisine Wat Damnak is closing. I won’t be able to go but I hope you enjoy it. Look forward to your report and also where else you go to in Cambodia.

It will reopen in mid August after his summer vacation, you know the chef is French, he needs vacation! November will be the dry season, but there will be more tourists, so book ahead. They accept reservation 90 days in advance.

I have been in Kuching last September, I will try to post the food we ate. I only started to post the MY trip these few days…

I’ve been very bad at posting. I have Melaka, KL, Java and Kuching to do. Will try over the next week.


No recs. I went there in 2004, just ate where we saw Cambodians ate. Didn’t really do any research. The food was OK, I prefer Vietnamese. Ask the moto drivers to take you to local places where they also eat. Yes, you pay for them.

It was also the first trip I started making photos of food. The photos were crap! I’ve learnt a lot since.

Angkor is insanely touristy, as is Siem Reap the city. Not fun anymore with this amount of people around. Was in Battambang for only a day. Do not take the boat there from Siem Reap. We didn’t listen and did it anyway. It took a long time and was a horrible journey, and without a toilet. I got [sun stroke] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_stroke) on the way to Battambang and nearly died! (I’m highly susceptible to sun stroke)

Also went to Kep for a couple of days. Eerie small town. No electricity after sun down. Hardly any tourists. Bullet riddled buildings everywhere. I ate Kep crabs. Remember to buy the peppercorns to take home. There are many pepper farms there. Do also visit Kampot (where the name of the peppercorns come from).

I do have some nice memories of Cambodia but have no photos of them. I think these are the kind of memories that are more soul-fulfilling for those who love to travel, like many of us on here.

Look forward to hearing about your trip!

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We are thinking of taking the ferry from Siem Reap to Battambang, we aren’t worry with the sun but reading the information said the ride varies from 4 hours to 10 hours depending on the water level. Too much time, it seems.

I just watched Anthony Bourdain’s Cambodia 2010 No Reservation episode tonight, he was there in 2000 for the first time, things has changed a lot, he said food has changed for the better.

After Cambodia, we will be visiting Vietnam for 4 days. This will be our 3rd time to Vietnam, I like a lot Vietnamese cooking.

Any dishes that you have fond memories in Cambodia?

The best meals for me are often the simplest ones, nearly anywhere. I also had this dish with deep fried whole fish. The fish and mango sauce go exceptionally well together no wonder it’s my favourite.

I have just gone through photos from this trip (also together with Vietnam)… it still hits me how fortunate I am to be living this beautiful life of mine and how.the.fuck. did I get this lucky! Also, my first 2 digital cameras were the simplest cameras but they made so many brilliant photos! Only 3.2 mega pixels and 5x zoom!

Spotted my Honda driver from the boat as we were approaching the “jetty” in Siem Reap. The “jetty” is just a rickety old thing wide enough for 1 person to pass through at a time. The river bank is just mud and rubbish strewn everywhere. I’m sure it’s very different now. When I got to Vietnam it was clear Vietnam was already far more “advanced”.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo