Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
Cambodia is relatively cheap – you can get a really good meal for a few dollars. Pay more than $10 a meal and you’re starting to treat yourself; if you’re paying $25 or more for a main course, you’re in fine dining territory.
Good food is easy to find if you’re willing to pay for it. But the challenge is in finding really good food for cheap, and that is one of my passions. In my hometown of Sydney, I’m always on the lookout for good cheap eats like the amazing smoked chicken at the Taipei Chef in Artarmon or the to-die-for scrolls at Oregano Bakery. I’ve even done a post on the 50 best cheap eats in Sydney. So of course while on holiday, I’m on the lookout for cheap eats too, and Cambodia does not disappoint.
Cheap eats Phnom Penh: Yam Yam
Our first real cheap eats place in Cambodia was Yam Yam in Phnom Penh. It’s near the Tuol Sleng genocide museum, and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Yam Yam specialises in traditional Khmer street food, but in a trendy, contemporary setting.
It has a daily lunch buffet for $2.50 (10,000 riel), but we were a little late for that and most of the food had already run out. Instead, we ordered the steamed rice with pork, one of Yam Yam’s specialties, and a plate of dumplings.
The steamed rice was served in a steamer basket lined with banana leaves and topped with minced pork, and finely chopped vegetables. It’s also served with some chilli sauce and a clear broth. The meal was simple and delicious, reminiscent of the Taiwanese ‘lu rou fan’ or braised pork rice. And for 8,000 riel or $2, the meal was a steal. The dumplings were OK, but nothing special.
Cheap Eats Battambang: Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh
Don’t worry about the unpronounceable name of this restaurant, and don’t let the fact that the signage for this restaurant is all in Cambodian sanskrit defeat you. If you’re in Battambang, you should definitely give this place a try. Just look out for the ‘Chinese Noodle Dumpling’ shop next to an art gallery and you’re in business.
It was much too hot to have a steaming hot bowl of noodle soup, so we chose the dry noodles instead. It came topped with pork and chives, and dolloped with lashings of chilli and garlic. Add some vinegar and it was perfect – a great meal for less than $2. Try the pan fried dumplings as well – they were beautifully crispy and very flavourful.
310, 69 Street, Phnom Penh
Open daily 6am – 9pm
Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh (Chinese Noodle Dumpling)
145 Road 2, Battambang
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