Food in Phnom Penh, what you should and shouldn’t eat

Central Market treats

Sampling the food in Phnom Penh is a great as there is literally something for everyone. For those wanting to eat in a more Westernised restaurant setting there are plenty down on the riverside, and for those who want authentic local food there are street stalls everywhere and great options at the Phsar Thmey market.

Here are a few of the places we ate at and can highly recommend:

Warung Bali

#25E st 178, Riverside Area

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang with rice

The first night in Phnom Penh we were after something a little different than the usual Pho or chicken with rice we had been eating in Vietnam. So after reading a few recommendations online we headed off in search of Warung Bali and it’s beef rendang curry.

We were greeted at the modest, clean restaurant by warm friendly staff and an extensive menu.  Don’t be alarmed by the many fried items as there are some hidden gems within the list.

The beef rendang was one of the best curry’s I have had and the Beef stir-fry with oyster sauce was packed full of flavour.

All items priced at $US5 and under.

Café 11

#11 st 13 between st 144 & 148

Take away bits and pieces from Cafe 11

Take away bits and pieces from Cafe 11

This little tarp covered street restaurant doesn’t have any signage, but ask for #11 and you will find it between a couple of other stalls.

The menu was in both Cambodian and English but there were several items we weren’t sure what they were.  The kids of the owners spoke English well though and were happy to translate for us.

I had the grilled whole fish with green mango and Chris the fried mushrooms with pork.  Both were delicious, although my fish was pretty small.  Iced tea is complimentary so ask for it if you don’t receive it with your meal.

All items priced at $US1.25 – $US2.12.

009

#009 st 51 between 178 & 184

Grilled Fish with Green Mango

Grilled Fish with Green Mango

There are a few similar stalls in this group all selling bits of meat, fish and salad.  You take a plate and a pair of tongs and select what you want before handing it to the lady to cook up. We had a mixture of marinated chicken, fish wrapped around corn, wrapped around green beans and another wrapped around coconut. Served with a fresh cucumber salad and two sauces – a chili and a sweet.

This was delicious and we can highly recommend, especially if you are after something quick or to take away.

Our total meal cost less than $US2.

Oyster House

St 51 between 178 & 148

Grilled Prawns

Grilled Prawns

We recommend this street restaurant with a warning – everything is a little difficult to eat and most has shells.  But the food is tasty, the staff are friendly and the price is reasonable.  We ate here twice, because the first time we went, half way through dinner, Chris realised he only had $US10 on him.  It was just a little over and the guy gave us a discount of 500 Reils ($US0.12).  It was highly embarrassing and we promised we would return.

The grilled prawns in a slightly spicy marinated were delicious and the grilled squid accompanied by the ‘not so hot’ chili sauce was yum.  Chris enjoyed the grilled fish with soya sauce and the sting ray (not my cup of tea!). The baby crab is a waste of time with no meat on it at all.  And another warning – the ‘chicken leg’ we found out is actually chicken feet and if you are hungry, they won’t fill you up in the slightest.

We didn’t order the clams or the squid salad, but they did look yummy so worth a try.

Meals from $US1.25 – $US3.

Tips:

  1. The riverside restaurants are more expensive than anywhere else in Phnom Penh and if you sit outside you will be constantly asked for food or money by kids and people with disabilities.
  2. The Phsar Thmey and the Phsar Kandal are great places to try different traditional foods as they have a vast variety and everything is well priced.
  3. Eat where the locals go.  There are so many restaurants and street stalls, if there are locals eating there you know the food is good and you are not going to get ripped off!
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