I’m a sucker for legit local foodstuff. And I usually get those at hawker stalls and roadside eateries (read:cheapo). So here's my take on Siem Reap's Pub Street, shopping and food scene.
During our first day in Siem Reap, we immediately asked our resort’s owner, Dave, on his favorite food joints near the Angkor Tropical Resort. It didn’t take him long to tell us about his favorite food stall that sells Khmer breakfast dish. This specific stall is located in Leu Market near the resort. Dave specifically told us to look for this certain lovely lady who has a ready smile for everyone.
After hearing this, we immediately went to the market (a hundred or so meters away from the resort) and looked out for this lovely lady on the hawker stalls and immediately found her.
|Just look for that lovely, pretty lady at the market...|
We settled comfortably in the provided seats and were asked by the lovely lady of our food choice (in pure Khmer language). Looking confused, we just pointed to the grilled pork on a counter and she then gave her thumbs-up sign.
We witnessed how she intricately prepared our dish. Thin strips of perfectly sliced grilled pork were placed on top of the rice; and then a layer of sliced scrambled eggs. Sliced cucumbers and a hefty serving of sauce were then glazed on top of the pile. Pickled vegetables and broth were also served on the side.
After some intensive research (claps, claps), I later on found out that this Khmer dish is called Bai Sach Chrouk. This is a popular roadside breakfast dish in Siem Reap and across Cambodia. The breakfast plate includes barbecued pork, scrambled eggs and rice served alongside broth and pickled cucumbers.
I loved it on the first bite, with that, me and my buddy ended up having all of our breakfast meals on that stall. The grilled pork was tasty and the side dishes complemented the dish. And believe it or not, that meal costs only $0.75 per order.
|Bai Sach Chrouk - $0.75|
For our caffeine fix, we usually get our Iced coffee, still, at the market. For only $0.50 we’d normally buy one to partner with our brekkie plate and buy another one for take away.
|our coffee lady prepping our Iced coffees|
|Iced coffee - $0.50|
A few meters away from our favorite breakfast stall, still in Leu Market, are vendors selling all kinds of French breads. At $0.50-$0.75 per piece you can already try one of the staples in Siem Reap.
How much is a manicure?
|French bread - $0.50|
Next on our Khmer dish list is a food feast in Happy Guesthouse. The dishes are reasonably priced at $2-$4 per meal and it satisfied our palates for authentic Khmer dishes. Check out my review on Happy Guesthouse and Restaurant.
|Chicken Lok Lek - $3|
Next is a stopover eatery on the second day of our temple tours specifically on the Bayon area. The prices on the menu were a little bit steep than the usual because it’s a touristy place. A usual order would cost you around $5 and the food are tasty here.
|Khmer Stir-fried noodles - $4|
|Fried Chicken - $4|
|Chicken with Pineapple - $4|
Next is also a stopover eatery on the third day of our temple tours. This is right outside the Neak Pean. The food dishes here are overpriced ($4 to $8 per dish) but are totally forgettable.
|Khmer Stir-fried noodles - $4.50|
|Khmer Noodle Soup - $4.50|
|Khmer Chicken dish - $5|
Our super nice tuk tuk driver, Nga, brought us to a weekend night market along Pokambor Avenue. Hundreds of stalls are lined up on the street selling different stuff; from garments, fruits, vegetables and other knickknacks at a bargain price. Streets were flooded with motorists and shoppers alike. Food stalls and game arcades are also nearby which added that festival feel to the place.
There are also some nice shopping areas on the streets and alleys near Pub Street. Shawls, pants and bags with Asian theme are such a common sight. Miniature temples and Buddha, t-shirts, ref magnets and key chains are very eminent in souvenir shops. Herbs, spices and teas are also available on certain stalls. Just bring a lot of good bargaining and haggling skills when you go out and shop to these markets.
|$2 to $6 each|
|Scarves and shawls starting at $2|
|Herbs and spices|
After an exhausting day of temple tours and a few hours of exercising your bargaining skills at the night markets, head on to Pub Street to cap the night off with a great crowd.
We were told that Siem Reap nights should be spent at Pub Street. And so for our first night (after our Tonle Sap Fishing Village stint and Siem Reap Temple Run), we headed straight to Pub Street to check out the party scene. Me and my buddy are way too old for this “party scene” but we’re really interested on how this place looks and feels like, plus, we needed a place to finish the day with a bottle or two of some really nice local beer (Anchor Beer won our hearts).
Pub Street is a hodgepodge of bars and watering holes that caters to all
drunkards drinking enthusiasts. We would’ve wanted to just stay on a nook and enjoy
the scene but there’s this bar that dominates this whole stretch, the Angkor
The neon lights and graffiti on the walls were the indication that we’re on our point of interest. The Angkor What? Bar (Promoting Irresponsible Drinking Since 1998) is truly a happy place; a spectacle of pitchers of local beers, buckets of mixed drinks, bar shirt giveaways, people dancing on ledge, over and under the tables, servers showing off their dancing prowess and a huge crowd of fun-loving folks. Everyone seems to be having a good time and nobody is left out.
The tables and seats are for large groups, so sharing a table is very common here (perfect for meeting new pals). Me and my buddy wanted it al fresco style so we settled outside (away from the dance area - eyes now rolling - me no dancer). We had this huge table with loads of ‘intentional’ vandalism on it. Shout-outs, names, countries, and all sorts of doodles are penned on the wooden table (markers are provided by the servers). Downing a few pitchers of Anchor beer ($4/per pitcher) was easy for us. We were so busy chatting with fellow travellers who seemed to be table-hopping and enjoying the scene.
Travel stories, good times and pure, clean fun. We really loved the Pub Street and the Angkor What? Bar. Siem Reap is really one of those Asian countries with a good balance of rich culture and fun night-out. I can't wait to go back!