Expat Tips: Eating your way through Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodia is snuggled between Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and the Gulf of Thailand and is also known as the Kingdom of Wonder. Truth be told, having lived in the Kingdom for three years, a lot of things do make me wonder (why is the traffic like this? is this supposed to make my tastebuds happy?). On that list of wonderment is me wondering why many people skip over Cambodia in their travels. Beyond the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat complex, there is much more to explore and experience! My hope is that providing you with these expat-approved tips not only encourages you to travel to Cambodia, but makes your experience more enjoyable! The best trips I have gone on are when I had a friend in the country that gave me all the best recommendations. So consider us friends, and enjoy these tips 🙂 !


This is entry #2 in Expat Tips: Cambodia Edition. Be sure to check out all the other entries to help prep and plan for your trip. Read below to see what tasty treats you can enjoy in Phnom Penh!

Phnom Penh may not be known as a culinary destination, but there are actually quite a few restaurants that can keep your tastebuds jumping for joy! I’ve broken down the section into alphebatized restaurants based on a type of food you may be craving. Keep in mind that when you visit Phnom Penh, there are many more options than what is listed below. These are just some of my favorites! When you do come make sure to check out what is near your hotel, because your tastebuds may find their own gem!

indicates restaurants that are more expensive (in relation to regular Cambodian restaurant prices)


JomaLook online to see your closest location / http://www.joma.biz/phnom-penh-cambodia
If you are from America, this is most similar to Panera. It has sandwiches, salads, soups, and bagels. It isn’ t a culinary delight, but is good for a wholesome meal that you will enjoy. I recommend the chicken pesto sandwich with a mixed fruit shake. If you are a lover of coffee, avoid this cup of joe as it tends to be mediocre. Multiple locations around town.


$ Samba Brazilian Steakhouse / Villa No 64, Preah Sihanouk Blvd
A super delicious Brazilian buffet. Come hungry, as there are a lot of items to indulge in.

Will’s Brunch Cafe / #7 Street 306
If you want to take your tastebuds on a culinary exploration, head over to Will’s. You can sip a cup of delicious Mondulkiri coffee while eating a typical Tunisian (or French, American, etc) breakfast.

Lone Pine Cafe / House No 14, Street 282
Classic burgers and chili. I recommend the bacon onion cheese biscuits and Paula’s Husband burger.

Restore One / No 23, Street 123, Russian Market Area
Some of the best burgers in town are found at this charity/cafe by Russian market. They have a variety of flavors and spices to make each burger a unique experience. My favorite is the Rugged Cowboy with a Spicy Mexican patty.

Bassac Lane Burgers / Street 308 @ Street 29, Tonlé Bassac (this is the address for Hangar 44)
I can’t remember the actual name of this place, but it is in bassac lane. All you have to do is walk past the book bar and hangar bar, and its on the left (across from the clothing store). These are the best burgers i’ve had in the city. You can also get them as a salad or a wrap. I recommend the Mexican one if you love spicy!

Romdeng / No 74 Street 174
At this restaurant you can choose to indulge in fried tarantula, or go a simpler route with tasty and traditional Khmer foods (sans creepy crawlies). It is run by Friends, a great organization that also has a tapas restaurant later on in this list.

$ Malis / No 136 Norodom Boulevard
Close to Independence Monument, Malis is a culinary exploration through Khmer foods. It is a higher end restaurant, where you can comfortably experience the best of Cambodian cuisine in a luxury environment.

Just a note- both restaurants above are on the nicer side. You can easily find Khmer food along any street. I have ate at many random Khmer establishments and carts on the side of the road. I would also recommend going to a Khmer BBQ, they are easily found. The BBQ’s are cheap, and it’s a fun experience to choose what you want to bbq with friends. Ultimately, it is up to you how adventurous you want to be, and what you feel comfortable with.

Bonchon / Look online for closest / location http://bonchon.com.kh
With a few locations in the city, if you are craving chicken this is the place for you! The chain originally hails from Korea, which you can see reflected in the menu with options like bibimbap. My absolute favorite is a mix up of their boneless chicken breasts, drenched in soy garlic sauces and spicy sauces.

Diverse Menu  
Daughters / #321 Sisowath Quay
Run by a charity, daughters has a diverse and tasty menu. I recommend the mango chicken sandwich, and the chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls (yup, they are as good as they sound). If you are there in the fall, they also serve holiday themed beverages!

$ Fox Wine Bistro / #132 Samdech Sothearos
Looking for a romantic date spot, or a good glass of wine? Fox has got you covered. The menu is diverse, and every single item i’ve tried has been incredibly tasty.

Jars of Clay#39B Street 155
Run entirely by women, this is the place to come if you want a hearty meal for cheap. I have a fondness in my heart for their damper loaf and chocolate frap. You can’t really go wrong with anything you order. There are two locations, but the one by Russian Market is my favorite.

Java / No 56 Sihanouk Boulevard
An expat favorite, this is an arts cafe with consistently good food. There are two locations, but the one by Independence Monument is my favorite. You can take a good book, sit upstairs on the balcony (if the weather is nice) and stare out at the passing motos.

Friends Tapas / House No 215 Street 13
Close to the riverside, this joint never disappoints. They have a lot of fusion options. I recommend the corn fritter- my tastebuds are jumping just thinking about it!

FCC / No 363 Sisowath Quay
Foreign Correspondents Club has a variety of good food, and you can gaze out over the river while tasting it.

$ Dining in the Dark / #126 Street 19
If you have never dined in the dark before, give it a chance! You are submerged into complete darkness and fed a three course meal that tantalizes the taste buds. The restaurant benefits those who are vision impaired, and also leads to a fun night of trying to guess what is on your plate!

Eclipse Sky Bar / Phnom Penh Tower, 23rd Floor, Monivong Boulevard 
Take in Phnom Penh from a birds eye view at Eclipse. The food is decent, but what makes it spectacular is the view (which is particularly breathtaking at sunset)!

Artillery / Street 240 1/2, Phnom Penh 
Down a alleyway, this place is hard to find, but worth it when you do! The food is tasty, and they have plenty of options.

Backyard Cafe / House 11B, Street 246
This is my favorite place to come when I am showing my body that I actually care for it. The power bowls here are amazing, as well ad everything else on this menu. You can also pick up natural cashew butter here, as well as other goodies!

Phnom Penh India / 335 Sisowath Quay
Massive naan, delicious chicken tikka rolls, and buttery butter chicken. What more could a girl ask for?

Paddy Rice / Sisowath Quay Corner, 213/217 
Along the riverside, this place has a killer bangers and mash!

Brooklyn / No 20, Street 123
For when you are craving Italian food made by New Yorkers. This is a favorite of expats for their delicious pizza, chicken wings, and pastas.

Il Fornio/ No.11, Street 302 
Once upon a time they only had a location in Siem Reap, and it made my heart sing when they brought it to Phnom Penh. The one in Phnom Penh is nearby Independence Monument, and will serve you some of the best pizzas, tiramisu, and burgers that the city has to offer!

Luigis (Piccola Italia Da Luigi) / Street 308 
I go back and forth on whether I like the pizza more at Luigis and Il Fornio, and I haven’t been able to make up my mind. If you find yourself near Bassac Lane then stop into Luigis for some authentic, delicious Italian pizza.

Pepper LunchAeon Mall, #132, Samdech Sothearos
If you happen to find yourself at Aeon mall, stop by Pepper Lunch to “sizzle it your way” by choosing from a variety of meats and flavors that you cook yourself!

J8 / #36A, Street 313, Toul Kork
Located in Toul Kork (the north part of the city), this place always delivers good food. The bulgogi served here is my favorite!

Silla / #34, Street 337, Toul Kork 
Also in toul kork, this restaurant makes you feel like you have traveled to Korea. It’s huge walls encompass a vast amount of seating, as well as a fountain. You can hear k-pop hits churned out over the speakers as you enjoy kimchi jiggae. The flavors taste similar to J8, but everything costs about $1 more because of how nice the establishment is.

Toto Ramen  / Look online for closest location / https://www.facebook.com/Toto-Cambodia-230888607012986/?rf=251710178306647
With various locations around the city, hit up Toto if you want some bibimbap but aren’t sure where to get it. Not as authentic as the first two on this list, but still delicious! They also have some good ice cream if you feel the need to wash it down with something sweet.

Mexicano / #29, Street 288
Craving a taco that tastes like it came straight from Tijuana? Hit up Mexicano. Just be aware there is limited seating, so call ahead if you can, or go on a weeknight.

Taqueria Corona / 14E, Pasteur (St. 51)
Perfect if you are craving tex-mex. The nachos and mission burritos are delicious! The passionfruit margaritas aren’t too bad either.

Chinese Noodle / #551 Monivong Blvd.
The fact that it is hard to get a seat in this place is a testament to how good the food is. You can get a whole meal for less than $5 and feel completely satisfied. My favorites are the fried dumplings and noodles with chicken. The noodles are super thick, and you can see them being made right in front of you!

Sesame Noodle Bar / #9, Street 460
By Russian Market, this is the place to go if you are craving delicious cold noodles. They have a variety of flavors that don’t disappoint.

$ Rokku  / #507, Sisowath Quay
Founded by an American-Cambodian pop star, Rokku is in a fun location (right by Independence Monument) and has floors based on whatever mood you are feeling. Want to sing karaoke? Eat on floor 2. Want to listen to a smooth cover band and sit outside? Head to the top floor. The menu is good, and the “choose what you want” experience is a bonus!

Chiang Mai / #227, Sisowath Quay
On the riverside, this place has got you covered if you are craving pad thai and traditional Thai curries.


 So now that i’ve finished writing this, I am feeling really hungry. Anybody else? There are just so many good places on this list! I hope this list helps you in your quest to eat your way through Phnom Penh! 🙂

Happy Eating!







Hostels, Hotels, and Resorts, OH MY! Expat Tips on where to stay on your visit to Cambodia.


Cambodia is snuggled between Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and the Gulf of Thailand and is also known as the Kingdom of Wonder. Truth be told, having lived in the Kingdom for three years, a lot of things do make me wonder (why is the traffic like this? is this supposed to make my tastebuds happy?). On that list of wonderment is me wondering why many people skip over Cambodia in their travels. Beyond the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat complex, there is much more to explore and experience! My hope is that providing you with these expat-approved tips not only encourages you to travel to Cambodia, but makes your experience more enjoyable! The best trips I have gone on are when I have a friend in the country that can give me all the best recommendations. So, now consider us friends, and enjoy these tips 🙂 !


This is entry #1 in Expat Tips: Cambodia Edition. Be sure to check out all the other entries to help prep and plan for your trip. Read below to see which hotel is the one for you, whether you are ballin’ on a budget, bound to get bougie, or somewhere in-between. While Cambodia is full of awesome properties, the ones listed below have impressed myself (or my fellow expats) time and time again. 🙂

$= 5-30

Phnom Penh // Capital of Cambodia. Small (in comparison to big cities like Bangkok), but big enough to keep you entertained. Full of culture, charm, and unique smells.IMG_7039

$: Phnom Penh has a host of hostels which can be easily found by asking any tuk tuk (open cab taxi) driver. Many of the hostels are conveniently located at the riverside. We like to go to the Mad Monkey Hostel and 11 Happy Backpackers Hostel because each of those hostels has a nice roof area with games, and is close to the riverside.

$$: The Blue Lime / https://maads.asia/bluelime
Committed to responsible tourism, this urban accommodation is comfortable and well located close to the riverside. With the pool, the property has the feeling of an oasis, which is nice after a hot day of exploring the city. Standard rooms start around $55/night.

$$$: The Plantation / https://www.theplantation.asia
Standard rooms start around $115/night. This hotel is a perfect oasis for the weary traveler or expat needing a break. You could decide to drink mai tai’s by the pool all day, or head over to the riverside, which is conveniently nearby. This hotel is also committed to responsible tourism.

$$$$: Raffles / http://www.raffles.com/phnom-penh/
Starting around $177 dollars/night, the 5 star Raffles is a wonderful mix of comfort, glamour and culture. Jackie Kennedy even stayed here, and you can get a drink named in her honor at the Elephant Bar. Raffles also has a wonderful afternoon tea that you can enjoy while viewing their elegant grounds.

$$$$: Sofitel / http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-6526-sofitel-phnom-penh-phokeethra/index.shtml
The fanciest stay in Phnom Penh can be found at the Sofitel, with rooms around $200/night. This french colonial inspired hotel is on a beautiful grounds, not too far from anything in the city, and is well deserving of its 5 stars.

Kep // Quiet charming beach town, perfect if you are in need of some rest and relaxation. A 2 hour ride from Phnom Penh.

$: Khmer Hands / https://www.facebook.com/khmerhandskep
An affordable resort with a purpose, it will only cost you around $10 to stay here. Staff is very friendly, and they also offer informal cooking classes!

$$: Saravoan Hotel / http://saravoanhotel-kep.com
Right across from a stretch of beach, this hotel is conveniently located by different shops and moto rentals. It is clean, comfortable, and the staff is really helpful! Rooms start around $30/night.

$$$: Veranda Resort / http://veranda-resort.asia
One of the best places to stay in Kep, this eco-friendly resort is snuggled on a tree covered hillside. It overlooks the ocean, and has a killer breakfast buffet. If you can swing it, this is my definite recommendation. Just look at there gallery and you will know what I mean! Rooms start around $80/night.

$$$$: Knai Bang Chatt / http://www.knaibangchatt.com/the-property/sleep/single-rooms/
The most luxurious place to rest your head in Kep, Knai Bang Chatt, is right by the water. With an infinity pool and yoga and meditation classes, this property has it all! Rooms start around $188/night. Make sure to catch sunset at the Sailing Club for an unforgettable end to your day.

Sihanoukville // A 4 hour ride from Phnom Penh will take you to the best beaches in Cambodia. Known for being a party town (which is nice if you are into partying), you can also find family friendly locations, resorts, and quieter areas.

$: There are a lot of hostels in Siahnoukville, and depending on the experience you want you can choose the beach accordingly. If you are looking for more of a party atmosphere then look at hostels by Serendipity beach and Occheuteal beach. If you are looking for more of a laid back time then look at properties on Otres I and Otres II.

$$: Papa Pippo Bungalows / http://www.papapippo.com/#home
Otres beach is one of the calmer, family friendly beaches in Sihanoukville. These bungalows are comfortable and right along the beach (so this is good if you don’t mind being sandy all the time)! A bungalow is around $30/night, and when you stay here make sure to bring your appetite. They have an amazing Italian restaurant that is always churning out wood fired pizzas.

$$$: Independence Hotel, Resort, and Spa / http://independencehotel.net
Rooms start around $100/night and if you have one hundred dollars to spare then staying here is totally worth it! The resort has a private beach with a lovely walkway that goes from the hotel to the beach. The staff are wonderful, and the breakfast buffet may be one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

$$$: Sokha Beach Sihanoukville / https://www.sokhahotels.com/sihanoukville/
This is a beautiful resort nestled between garden landscapes and sparkling blue waters. Rooms start around $100/night, with an extra cost for breakfast. All the resorts amenities and the beautiful beach will keep you entertained in a relaxing atmosphere!

Siem Reap // Place of the famous Angkor Wat Temples. Besides exploring the ancient temples, Siem Reap has a lot more to offer- from traditional Cambodian dancing shows (called Apsara) to circus acts and good cafes! A 7 hour car ride, or 30 min flight from Phnom Penh.


$$: The Villa Siem Reap / http://www.thevillasiemreap.com/home.html
Starting at $35/night this quaint villa is walking distance from pub street and other Siem Reap attractions. You get fresh juice on arrival, a nice bed to sleep in, a pool out back, and a smiling staff member to help you with any needs!

$$: Lotus Blanc Resort / http://lotusblancresort.com
Starting around $55, the Lotus Blanc Resort is an awesome fusion of Khmer culture and French elegance. Comfortable, relaxing, and modern- everything about this resort is done right. Peek at their online gallery and you will agree!

$$$: Sokha Siem Reap / https://www.sokhahotels.com/siemreap/
Sokha also has locations in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, but the Siem Reap location is my favorite. Set amongst lush tropical gardens at $115/night, the Sokha gives you tranquility, luxury, and easy access to all the town has to offer!

Mondulkiri // 6 hour ride from Phnom Penh. A low-key place with cooler temperatures and nice scenery. Venture here if you want to relax in a hammock while staring at lush green hills, hike with an elephant, hang out at a waterfall, or visit a coffee plantation.

$: The Nature Lodge / http://naturelodgecambodia.com/#rooms
Around $10/night for a bungalow, you can’t beat The Nature Lodge! It is an eco-friendly budget accommodation that is surrounded by the highlands of lush and green Mondulkiri. The bungalows are comfortable, the staff are accommodating, and if you stay here you may just wake up to a horse nibbling at the grass near your bungalow stairs!


I’ve only listed the top 5 most common travel destinations, but if you are planning on staying in Cambodian longer you can also check out Battambang (quiet town, bamboo train and culture), Rattanakiri (cooler weather and strawberry fields), and Koh Kong (an island near Sihanoukville). If you have any questions, please let me know. Happy Travels! 

Lee-uh Howie (Informal way of saying goodbye in Khmer…since we are friends and everything 😉 ),