First of all can I just say how much I LOVE Siem Reap – there’s SO much to do and see, and the people are beautiful and welcoming.
The first time I visited was part of a group tour, where we were only given a couple of days to go round Angkor Wat and see a couple of things. I quickly decided I wanted to come back and explore further, so a month on and I was back as a solo traveller ready to teach English in a village Primary school (& of course try and eat my way through as much Khmer food as possible!)
There’s tons of places to eat and drink in Siem Reap, but here I have looked back through my diary and have picked out my personal top 5 from my visit (+ some fun extras):
1 – SPOONS
WOW WOW WOW
I went with a couple of the girls from my hostel as a treat dinner, as I’d wanted to go for ages, and it did not disappoint.
Before we ordered, they gave us each a large spoon of chicken curry, and it was literally amazing! Unfortunately it wasn’t actually on the menu to order as a main, which is probably a bit of a missed opportunity, but I guess it’s a gimmick to go alongside the name of ‘Spoons’.
I had the chicken with coconut sauce and it was so delicious! The décor of the restaurant was really nice too.
Spoons is run by a company called EGBOK (Everything’s Gonna Be OK), the company train young adults in the community in hospitality and catering, opening up more opportunities for employment in the future, so it’s a delicious mouthful that also makes a difference. Check out their website for more information.
I should also probably mention Haven at this point – a restaurant with a similar motive of empowering those less fortunate to train and find employment for life. I did visit Haven and it was really nice, but didn’t blow me away for taste like Spoons.
2 – ARTILLERY
This one’s for the health bunnies out there. A little on the expensive side, but if you want to be nourished then this is the place to go. Artillery is a nice quite place with friendly staff, so I can imagine it would be a great spot to hang out if you needed to get some work done, or just read your book in peace.
I went twice, and would highly recommend their Courgetty with a mushroom and cashew nut sauce, which was delicious.
One downer = the chocolate slice was just a TAD too healthy for me.. not recommended if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
3 – BANLLE
This sweet vegetarian restaurant is set within a garden. I went for lunch and ordered the brown rice burger and pistachio ice cream – which were both really good.
4 – DAM NAK NEAS
A busy local’s restaurant near the river, I went here on my own for dinner and didn’t feel out of place at all. Meat is cooked on a BBQ to give extra flavour and the menu is pretty extensive with something for everyone, including frog intestines and eel. I decided to stay within my comfort zone that evening and ordered the chicken BBQ skewers and rice.
5 – FOOTPRINTS
If you’re missing your Sunday morning home comforts, this one’s perfect for brunch. A cute little café set off from the main town on the other side of the river. I ordered the Eggs Florentine.
The café is filled with books from UK donors (including Cambridge University), which give a warm cosy atmosphere. You are very welcome to read or even buy these books, with all sales helping to generate grants for local communities.
& if you’re still not full…
For desert: try Project Y, a pay by weight frozen yoghurt place. I got a tub of coconut, Nutella and chocolate flavours with Maltesers, honeycomb and chocolate sauce for $5.50. It’s expensive but at least it’s for charity!
For drinks: visit the G Green Sky Dining. The rooftop makes this place feel special, but it won’t break the bank, and if you’re a girl they’ll even give you a free cocktail during happy hour!
I also had frogs legs tempura and spring rolls here, but would probably only recommend this place for drinks no dinner.
For the experience: You can’t leave Siem Reap without trying at least one insect from the market. I noticed there’s a few insect eating tours around, but there’s literally no need to pay for something that’s already free and accessible to everyone! I had a mini snake, and it was actually pretty good! Just keep a bottle of water to hand, to wash down those cricket legs!