Phnom Penh

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Cambodian cuisine incorporates elements from its neighbors, blending Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese influences into its dishes in the form of sweet chili, kaffir limes, and fresh vegetables. Nearby India and China have also contributed to the culinary landscape, introducing curries (called kari) and rice noodles, stir-fry, and soy sauce, respectively, to the dinner table. Traditional fare ranges from tasty, coconut-milk-based curries to items that Western travelers might find hard to stomach (for example, don't be surprised to see street vendors selling baskets of fried tarantulas). For those who are feeling homesick, there is also plenty of affordable Western food (especially pizza) along the riverfront. Upscale international restaurants can be found at luxury hotels. When it comes to dining, U.S. dollars go a long way in Phnom Penh, where it is possible to have a full meal for under $10. Western and Japanese cuisine is by far the most expensive in the city, but by American standards it's still affordable (it's unlikely to encounter entrees for more than $20 here).

Top Restaurants in Phnom Penh

Happy Herb's

This Italian restaurant will, on request, add "special ingredients" to its "happy pizza" for travelers wishing to indulge in Cambodia’s "illegal herbs." Proceed with caution if you’re not used to this type of cooking.

345 Sisowath Boulevard,
Tags: budget | italian | pizza

Khmer Borane Restaurant

This traditional, French colonial-style venue on the riverfront offers a wide variety of dishes that royalty are reputed to have enjoyed in times past. Try the lok lak (fried beef, fish, or pork with seasoning and lemon sauce).

389 Sisowath Quay, near the Royal Palace, 011-855-12-290-092, www.borane.net
Tags: budget | great value | traditional

L'Ámboise

French cuisine is the specialty at L'Ámboise restaurant, which is tucked into Hotel Cambodiana. Come for dishes like wild mushroom soup, salmon tartare, and prime rib.

Hotel Cambodiana, 313 Sisowath Quay, 011-855-23-218-189, www.hotelcambodiana.com
Tags: family | expensive | global fusion

Mith Samlang (Friends)

Sit down to dine on smart tapas and international cuisine with the knowledge that you’re helping Cambodian children. This restaurant is part of an NGO that trains former street children how to become cooks and restaurant staff, and then employs them in the kitchen. The excellent daiquiris are becoming quite famous in these parts.

, 011-855-23-426-748
Tags: international | budget | great value

Soup Srunheng II

For a taste of genuine Cambodian cuisine, head to this local favorite. Try Srun Heng’s Family Soup, which is cooked right in front of you (if you’re feeling brave, ask them to throw in ox testicle, pancreas, and brain alongside the vegetables, noodles, and egg). Not much English is spoken, but the staff is very helpful.

Samdech Sothearos Boulevard, Corner between the Vietnamese War Memorial and the Royal Palace,
Tags: budget | great value | traditional

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