[Siem Reap, Cambodia] Khmer meal at Haven Training Restaurant

As we have noticed, in Cambodia there is quite a number of training restaurants, to help to train the youth to work in restaurations, in kitchen or servers. In Haven, the training program is free for the students, they live in the free trainee house, get an allowance and their needs are provided freely, which includes food, medical care, clothes, transport… Upon graduation, the restaurant school will try to help their students to find work. I read that the Swiss couple first came to Cambodia for travelling and felt in love with the country. They decided to quit everything in their homeland and try doing something to help the Cambodian people.

It was our second night in Siem Reap, we had a whole day visit in the temples and then the lake areas for sunset. We arrived around 9pm, which was quite late for the SE Asian standard, we didn’t reserve, the servers said their kitchen would close soon (around 9:30pm), if that wouldn’t be a problem for us. We dined in the garden.

Fresh vegetable spring rolls with a ginger soy dip - very fresh herbs and vegetables, delicious.

Mixed Satays, chicken and pork skewers, with peanut satay sauce - equally wonderful

Khmer Lok Lak - a classic dish with beef / chicken with fresh Kampot pepper, tomato, onion, water celery and lettuce with a fried egg on top, with a pepper dip and steamed rice. Our version with beef

Another classic Amok with chicken, spiced coconut curry with noni leaf, served with a tamarind dip and steamed rice

Banana crumble with mango-passion sorbet - strangely, after the main dishes, it was well past 9:30pm, but they asked us if we wanted dessert, I was too full to take more food. I just tasted bits and pieces from DH’s dish.

I have to say this is my favourite meal in Siem Reap, ingredients were fresh, the dishes were well seasoned and perfectly balanced in favours. We liked the dessert too, but it wasn’t Cambodian. The Swiss owner, Paul Wallimann, came around to greet us at the end of the meal. He explained to us that good Cambodian cuisine should not be very spicy (contrast to the lunch we had that afternoon in the temples area), he said that very spicy food was probably to due to the fact that the ingredients were of inferior quality. We told him that our surprise to see western dishes on the menu, why would people came all the way to Cambodia to eat that. He said unfortunately this was the case, and the Cordon Bleu was the best selling dish. But he said it was also a good practice for the students to get to know French or European cooking and could be useful for them in the future.

Rush, if you are in Siem Reap, our meal was $32.25 USD (129,000 KHR), with a fruit juice and an Anchor draft beer.

Haven Training Restaurant
Chocolate Road,
Wat Damnak,
Krong Siem Reap
Tel: +855 78 34 24 04
email: eat@havencambodia.com (reserve several days before at high season)

Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

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