KY eats – Local Khmer Dishes and Dessert at Siem Reap Old Market, Cambodia

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

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

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