So here we go with the first in a series of reviews of some of the best local eateries in Phnom Penh. Wether you are a long time expat, Khmer or a visitor you will want to eat as the locals do sometimes, and if you don’t want to, you should!
Khmer street food often gets a bad press when compared to the offerings of neighbors such as Vietnam and Thailand and while both these countries are justly renowned for thier streetfood great options can be found here as well, you just have to go to the right places. The adage of simply trying places which are busy with locals will work but what’s wrong with a little guidance at times right.
So where is this place? First it has no signage either in English but it is very easy to find. On street 450 between 163 and 155 is the side of the market and by day there is a large parking area but at five oclock this is transformed into a seafood restaurant, there are acually three in a row but this is the biggest and nearest to street 155. This place gets full quickly so we usually rock up at just after five when the tables start to fill up as they are still setting up the restaurant. Check the map below:
So on to the food, it is very good, service is quick and there is a girl there who speaks good English and is friendly so don’t worry about ordering correctly. Some of our favorites are the grilled Sabak fish which is either Mackeral or some very near relative, for variety we usually just buy a half which comes in at 8000 riel and with one or two other dishes is ample for two people.
Alongside this we often get a plate of the grilled prawn in tamarind sauce, this sauce is a weakness of mine and I would drink it in a half pint glass if that were acceptable, the prawns are juicy and fresh and it goes very well with the Sabak.
We tried a new dish last time also which is worth a mention, baby squid, also in the delightful tamarind sauce. These three dishes with a water, two rice and three beers set us back a grand total of just under 9 dollars which is a very fair price for such good food.
Other dishes worth a mention are the fresh oysters which if I remember rightly come in at around three dollars for ten, and the amazing crab which is priced daily but on our last visit was $15 dollars for a kilo. You can buy it yourself for ten and make it at home if you have the skills but why bother eh?
So next time you need to buy underwear or another pair of elephant pants why not finish off with some great seafood? A short hop up 450 will get you some wonderful gelato to finish at a fraction of the cost of the western gelato place just down the road but look out for an article on that here soon.