Cambodian Finds

Cambodian Finds

Featuring Brown Roastery and Eatery, Fei Zi Food Restaurant, House Boutique Hotel, Kep Crab Market, Srey Pov, Sandan, Secret Garden Bar & Restaurant
Jean Kao
Jean Kao

When eating in Cambodia, be aware that food takes a really long time to be ready and served - at least half an hour. Designated lunchtime for certain office workers is 2 hrs. Therefore it is very much appreciated when ur food arrives in less than half an hour especially if u're starving! This fried chicken burger with sour cream and jalapeño was delectable, spicy, juicy and came in a huge portion. The chicken and fries could've been crispier if I really want to nitpick. I'd like to compliment the service staff who were friendly and even apologised for the "wait"! Given the crowd size (the place was packed) and location, I'd have expected longer.

Sandan is a training restaurant for street youths to gain safe and legitimate employment and run by a non-profit organisation. Hence the staff here are very attentive, and while they may not be fluent in English, they try their best to learn through interactions. Food is a fusion of local and western flavours, like my buffalo lok lak with quail eggs and sweet potato fries. The dark sauce was salty, peppery with a hint of garlic (think black pepper sauce), the meat chewy but not too tough. Sweet potato fries weren't as crispy as I'd have liked. The dish comes with a unique dipping sauce that tasted like sour plum, lime and chilli combined. Dessert was cashew nut crusted banana fritters with chilli coconut gelato - the crust was quite thick with not that much banana in it, though I really enjoyed the gelato, kinda like frozen sweet curry.

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Next to the Kep Crab Market is a row of restaurants where you can head to for more "zi char" style dishes. We had the squid cooked in chilli sauce with stalks of fresh Kampot green pepper - this is signature of most Cambodian dishes, and one of their most prized spice product. We also had the crabs this time with curry sauce, which was so finger-licking good. The heat from the red chillies were tamed by the sweetness of the coconut milk, and perhaps the natural salt from the crabs gave it a very well rounded flavour that can rival our chilli crab sauce.

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Many cafes are sprouting in Phnom Penh, mostly located in the same areas where the embassies and expat accommodations are stationed. I was surprised to find that KOI and Gongcha have their own big setups here! Brown Coffee is supposedly a well known brand here which is Cambodian-owned. My friend brought me to the Roastery, and I was enchanted by the huge cozy space that seemed like a modern transformation of a steel factory. I had the Brown Frappe with soy milk which was waaaay too sweet for my liking. Nevertheless, I would still highly recommend coming here to chill out, and hopefully try something better if I ever get to come here for another visit.

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Do try the meaty and sweet small crabs that can't get any fresher being taken out of the bait basket from the sea by the sellers straight into the stoves after haggling. The squid were doused with a surprisingly delicious marinate, and the unique spicy Kampot green pepper added in gave a pleasant awakening of the tastebuds. #Burpple

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Rice is a staple in most SEA countries, and they eat loads of it even for breakfast. This is a more jazzed up version of Bai Sach Chrouk which is pork with rice. The grilled pork had such a delightful savoury marinate that is akin to our char siew, maybe saltier, and the slight "chao-tar-ness" made it even tastier. Eggs were surprisingly served onsen tamago style! Simple meal but very satisfactory. One thing I learned here though, is that they'll take at least half an hour to prepare ur meal 😥 so lunch time is usually 2 hours long...

Took a walk out from the hotel in search of dinner and finally decided on this after a good 15-20mins (restaurants/eating places are sparse in the area). Haven't had duck/pig's blood in a while (childhood liking) so ordered the tofu with blood as well as a braised pork and offal platter. The tofu and blood was cooked with a sweet and spicy sauce that was very flavourful with white rice. The platter had several items included such as chopped pig's ear, duck leg, taupok, blood, pork belly etc. The meat unfortunately were dry and tough to chew. Not a place to come specially to try out.

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Jean Kao

Level 7 Burppler · 463 Reviews

Some things I don't eat (eg. dairy, beef), but those that I can, I eat A LOT. Instagram: @dana_zincy

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