Phnom Penh is a city rich in Khmer food, culture, history, and diversity. It is the melting pot of local populace, foreign investors, and tourists in the center of Cambodia. The city has many rich cultures and traditions. They love to boast of their excellent cuisines. and delicacies every local, foreigner and tourist must try. Let me take you on a tour around Phnom Penh’s foodie hotspots. We will take a taste of Phnom Penh’s rich and diverse food.
Khmer Food Stop #1: The Lost Room
There are a lot of expensive and luxurious restaurants in Phnom Penh. Each one prides themselves in their special delicacies, splendid view and fine dining. The one which I was rather intrigued about was The Lost Room. It is a hidden gem in the heart of the city amidst the busy and noisy streets of Phnom Penh serving traditional and Khmer food. Its location is away from the bustles of the city, one of the reasons for its name. The place is more like a boutique with its rich interior. A total contrast with the simple aura of the front gate as you walk down the narrow street entering the place.
The Lost Room presented to us their local and international cuisines as well as their fantastic collection of wines. Wendy Lucas and Derek Mayes who is the head chef and also the owner of the restaurant are Australians. Veterans who decided to stay in Phnom Penh and open up a restaurant. This is no wonder why they have a good long list of Australian wines. The Lost Room serves the best roasted lamb in Cambodia. The lamb comes tender with a hint of pink and embellished with butterbean mash on the top. Their roasted duck comes in crispy texture with lentils and smoky date puree. The two will nail your dining bucket list or at least they should. They have the best and well-selected wines that will go along with any meal. For a combination of Khmer food and food from other regions this a great choice.
Khmer Food Stop #2: Samnang Kitchen
Sure you want to dine in certain restaurants but you also want one somewhat friendly to your pocket. Then the place you should be is Samnang Kitchen for real Khmer food in Phnom Penh. Samnang means lucky and if you choose to eat in this place, then you are lucky. It is brilliant how the owner managed to have a peaceful place inside. This is in contrast to the busy streets outside of the restaurant. The place has a good working wifi connection. This in case you want to upload your pictures before devouring their tasty food. They serve both Khmer and foreign delicacies as this restaurant is friendly and accommodating to expats. That said, I noticed that most of the people dining in the Samnang Kitchen are tourists. They boast of their delicious chicken wrap and other must-try everyday delicacies.
Khmer Food Stop #3: The Warung Bali
You will never run out of the local street food, Khmer food and budget deal meals in the busy streets and wide avenues of Phom Penh. But if you want to be somewhere a bit classy and cheap at the same time, Warung Bali is the place to be. You might as well think of luscious greenery or a beach paradise like Bali, but what they have is not near to that. It is a common-looking place with old wooden chairs and tables covered in a plastic mantel. If we talk about food, they have the best varieties that are cheap enough for any budget.
The main dishes here are all between 8,000 to 12,000 riel so that would be around $2 to $3; cheap, eh? They have a selection of chicken, soup, prawns, squid, tofu, deep-fried fish, and nasi goreng. Warung Bali has the best peanut sauces in the city. They generously smother this over every chicken satay stick. I have never been so satisfied and overwhelmed with peanut sauces in my entire life. I may say, this place is a must-visit. The food here is authentic and certified great.
There is so much to see and so much to taste in Phnom Penh. The place is brimming with rich culture and tradition, food and diverse cuisines. The rich heritage which influenced their menus is proof of the wonderful food. While in the city don’t miss out on these three great places to dine. Also, get out and try some of the best street food in the world, SE Asia.
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