For this year’s CNY escape, my brother & I brought mom to Siem Reap for some Angkor Wat sight seeing. So naturally, we got to try some of the local foods.

I always thought it was a little strange that we can find many representations of South East Asian food in Malaysia – Thai being most popular, but you can also find Indonesian, Vietnamese, and to a lesser extend, Filipino food. However, I haven’t seen a single Cambodian hawker stall or restaurants in all of Klang Valley, and now I think I know why..

Old Market at Siem Reap
Old Market at Siem Reap

The short answer is – Cambodian food is just not very good.. or rather, they don’t appeal to the Malaysian taste at all. The biggest problem being that most everything ended up to sweet, even dishes that you never expect to have any sugar at all, they will add some just for kicks in Siem Reap.

So, if you order food there and specifically tell them not to put any sugar, things usually will turn out OK-ish.

Even though it’s the second biggest city in Cambodia, Siem Reap is really quite a small place, with population of only around 200 thousands. You can use local currency, but US dollar is accepted anywhere with a rate of around 1000 Cambodian Riel to 1 USD,¬† I’d suggest using US dollar for your travel here.

Our first meal was at the Old Market at the heart of the city, walking distance from our hotel (there are many around the area at varying price range).

Instinctively, we went for the busiest noodle/rice stall in the market.

brunch for three, rice or noodle for you?
brunch for three, rice or noodle for you?

We ended up ordering 3 different dishes – vermicelli with pork, “instant” noodle with beef, and a plate of chicken rice. Ordering wasn’t too difficult since they do have English menu, and each dish cost US $2. Probably cheaper for the locals? Not sure.

Taste wise they were pretty decent, I particularly love the pork blood and vege in the soup. The soup base however, was a tad too sweet, though still quite acceptable, unlike some of the other stalls we tried at later meals.

I’d not shy away from eating at this stall again.

the dessert stall is right next to noodle stall
the dessert stall is right next to noodle stall

Right next to the noodle stall is this very popular dessert stall operated by a lady who doesn’t really speak any English.

Since Siem Reap food is already too sweet, it follows the logic that they would be pretty good at dishes that should be sweet, right? And after having been convinced by some instagram friends who urged me to try it out, we did, and it was awesome!

desserts for three
desserts for three

We had no idea what these desserts were called, or what they really were other than knowing grass jelly, coconut milk, sago, banana, condensed milk and the likes were involved. These 3 bowls cost us 5,500 Riel, they were sweet, tasty, and absolutely satisfying.

If you’re at Old Market, check it out.

siem reap old market map

Address:
Old Market (Psar Chas)
2 Thnou St,
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
GPS: 13.353874, 103.855226

KY eats – Local Khmer Dishes and Dessert at Siem Reap Old Market, Cambodia
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27 thoughts on “KY eats – Local Khmer Dishes and Dessert at Siem Reap Old Market, Cambodia

  • February 8, 2020 at 7:58 pm
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    I thought you just said Cambodian food is not very good (hope you have no Cambodian readers or fans here!) but you would not shy away from eating at the stall again…and the desserts were awesome…*scratch head*! P/S: Hope you didn’t bump into any Chinese nationals on board.

    Reply
    • February 9, 2020 at 7:27 am
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      eatwhateatwhere: well if this was “OK” compared to the other stalls, and yes so far healthy lagi. haha.

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      • February 10, 2020 at 5:49 am
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        Cambodian local delicacy Bat Soup is da best….. did you try? #lol

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        • February 10, 2020 at 8:52 am
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          kekeke: you can try that.

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          • February 11, 2020 at 5:27 am
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            None available on uBerEats #lol

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            • February 12, 2020 at 8:49 am
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              kekeke: How about grabfood? haha

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              • February 12, 2020 at 12:31 pm
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                Thank you for your enquiry. Your meal is unavailable at the moment due to Covid-19. Please use code BATMAN for 44% off your next order for the inconvenience.

  • February 9, 2020 at 7:21 am
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    I didn’t really like the Vietnamese I had in Miri but I loved the one in Kuching. Gotta try more. I guess Cambodian is more or less that same.

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    • February 9, 2020 at 7:27 am
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      suituapui: in my experience Vietnamese food was quite a lot better!

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  • February 10, 2020 at 5:55 am
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    So what you are trying to tell your readers is …….
    only eat sweet dessert when in Cambodia #realtravelnews

    And yes you paid too much. Paid tourist rates #lol

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    • February 10, 2020 at 8:53 am
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      kekeke: something like that. lol.

      Reply
  • February 10, 2020 at 10:27 am
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    i agree about cambodian food being a bit funky for the malaysian palate. i didn’t encounter the sweet stuff, but there are a lot of herbs and seasonings that taste … unusual. it’d still be nice to see some cambodian dishes in kl though, besides amok trey ūüėČ

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    • February 10, 2020 at 11:20 am
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      Sean: it’d be nice, I haven’t tried those from Phnom Penh, should be better?

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    • February 12, 2020 at 8:49 am
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      taufulou: too many backlogs. lol

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  • February 11, 2020 at 11:00 am
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    Wahhhhh everything sweet ah…. very ewww leh. But I still wanna visit Cambodia for the Angkor Wat la haha

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    • February 12, 2020 at 8:53 am
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      Charmaine: haha ya, it’s nice to visit, just ask them to not put sugar lo.

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    • February 15, 2020 at 2:12 pm
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      Choi Yen: ya la completely wrong d.

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    • February 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm
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      Monica: you only live once ūüėÄ

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  • February 18, 2020 at 10:29 pm
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    I have to disagree; I went to Siem Reap and was bowled over by the food and did not find anything overly sweet. And I am a sugarphobe. Maybe you were just unlucky?

    What I liked about food in Cambodia :

    – the taste profile is similar to Thai food but it’s not spicy. This is good for those wimps like me who find authentic Thai level of spice too spicy
    – Khmer curry. It’s mild and aromatic and yummy.
    – French-influenced fine dining at very affordable prices (for those who earn in hard currency)

    The reason for there not being that many Cambodian restaurants is probably more to do with the lower levels of immigration and the lack of brand recognition.

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    • February 20, 2020 at 9:22 am
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      Tabea: Ooo, our experience were very different then! I guess will need to go there again during rainy season and try more places ūüėÄ

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      • February 23, 2020 at 12:45 am
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        I ate at Embassy and Malis and can highly recommend both. Modern Khmer cuisine. Embassy serves a creative and delicious tasting menu. And Malis has many interesting dishes including fried rice with red ants.

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        • February 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm
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          Tabea: thanks for sharing! Fried rice with red ants sound interesting for sure!

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  • March 4, 2020 at 3:14 pm
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    Since I cannot eat pork my options there was only the Muslim Champa food, it was a hit and miss but there were some local dish like the bbq beef our driver brought us was especially delicious and one home restaurant who cooked the most delicious prawn soup I ever tasted . But last I heard the owner /chef of the restaurant died last year and I am sad about it.

    Reply
    • March 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm
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      dils: That sounds like an awesome experience, shame about the chef passed away tho..

      Reply

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