There are many influences in Cambodian cuisine, including French, that of its former colonial masters. As with many other Indochina countries, you can enjoy street food without any problems because such stalls are busy so everything is completely fresh. There are some specialities that you may not fancy; duck embryo eggs come to mind immediately and there are other things as well such as chicken claws and day-old frogs. Before you start to wonder what you are letting yourself in for on a Cambodia holiday, you will be able to find fine restaurants in Phnom Penh serving traditional dishes that are both recognisable and extremely appetising. If you are travelling on an organised Cambodia travel package, you may find that your meals are booked in advance, often at your hotel. However, if you get the chance to dine out in Phnom Penh, look more closely at some of these:
• The Fifth Element near Wat Phnom is on the roof of La Maison d’Ambre, a 5-star hotel. The views are stunning and the menu, a combination of French and Khmer, equally impressive. There is also a ice tapas bar if you just want something fairly light.
• Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) Phnom Penh is very popular with the ex-pat community. It is located at Sisowath Quay so it offers lovely views of the river. It hasn’t got air-con so be prepared and make sure you have a dessert; desserts in this Club are famous.
• La Luna d’Autunno in Street 29 is an Italian restaurant in an old colonial villa within a lovely garden. There is air-con if you are dining inside.
• Le Bistrot nearby and also in an old villa as the name suggests is also ‘’foreign’’ cuisine, French as well as Italian.
• Le Quay is a great place to relax and enjoy the activity of the riverfront as you dine. It is open for both lunch and dinner, serving western and Asian cuisine.
• Xiang Palace in the Intercontinental is not cheap but it offers fine dining with such things as dim sum.
• Blue Cat on 110 Street is highly recommended if you are on a Cambodia family vacation because you can find both western and Khmer dishes on the menu. The wine list is good and wi-fi is free in these comfortable surroundings.
• Chi Cha Restaurant nearby specialises in Indian food and be warned, the portions are large. They include several vegetarian alternatives.
• Amok Restaurant & Cafénear to the Independence Monument has a lovely ‘’feel.’’ You can dine inside or out on traditional Khmer food, and other things as well. The fish amok comes highly recommended.
• Riverside Bistro on Sisowath Quay is in an old colonial style building withoutdoor dining and lovely views over the Tonle Sap. Local expats, tourists and affluent locals frequent the bistro and you can expect a nice welcome and good food.
The setting of the river is a great place each evening and there are several places mentioned above where you can enjoy a nice meal at the same time.