Siem Reap, like most of Cambodia, has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine. Thinking back on it, I didn’t have a single bad meal during my stay – I’ve been incredibly lucky. As our trip was short we only ate outside twice – our hotel offered a free foot massage or meal, and we opted for the latter (I’m very ticklish).
We’d been hearing a lot about the Sugar Palm, which is where we went on our first night. The restaurant is raised off of the ground, ‘Khmer-style’, and is very open. It had a great atmosphere and even better food!
We had a peruse of the menu while having melon and lychee martinis. It was all very exciting.
The menu had a selection of Cambodian dishes – for a starter we had a pork and pomelo salad, chicken satay and fishcakes. Having made a similar banana blossom salad the day before I was eager to see how it would compare. The first two dishes were excellent – I didn’t care much for the fishcake, but Mr. A ate my portion so that might just be me.
For those of you who don’t know what pomelo is, it’s like a large green grapefruit. The outer layer of each segment is bitter, but if you peel the layer away you get these delicious citrusy tangy sacs inside.
After our starters we both ordered a meat dish with basil – I had beef, Mr. A had chicken. It was topped off with ground peanuts, something I’ll definitely be incorporating into my dishes in the future. I especially love it in salad, and gives it extra protein.
The Sugar Palm was a definite winner, and had a relaxed atmosphere. There were quite a few families with children in the restaurant, and gave the Sugar Palm a very different vibe from our next recommendation, Asana.
Asana was recommended to us by the hotel, and is right on Pub Street. Again, it’s another ‘khmer-style’ raised bar, but this time down a little alleyway.
It was fun going in, it felt rather like a clubhouse – the seats were made of bags of rice, and the decor was really fun.
Mr A. and I split some delicious spring rolls and dumplings for our starter. In my opinion, that was the highlight of the meal, as they were really delicious. I washed mine down with a very gingery cocktail.
I ordered the Khmer chicken curry. The flavours were a bit too strong for me – perhaps a bit too coconutty and too much anise. I stole a few bites of Mr. As Bo Bhun, a beef noodle dish with vegetables and spring rolls and it was absolutely incredible. I had serious food envy.
Asana had an in-house pianist playing lounge music and had a really sophisticated vibe. I enjoyed both places – but I suggest the former for big family gatherings, or for a get together of friends. Asana is definitely more suited for something more romantic.