Cambodia

Guide to eating vegetarian in Cambodia

Vegetarian food in Cambodia is remarkably easy to find. Whenever we travel, our focus is to eat healthy, organic, and vegan / vegetarian when possible (an added bonus is to find a place that supports a noteworthy cause). With very little knowledge of the food in Cambodia, we were pleasantly surprised to find food that met all our criteria. Here are the ones that stood out for us.

Destinations:

Siem Reap

Most of the restaurants we ate at are walking distance from Pub Street. 

  • Chamkar (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: ****)

    Chamkar is an entirely 100% vegetarian restaurant. We ordered the the Cambodians Favorite Salad and the Cambodian Curry Secrets, and both were really good. If you find yourself here, see if you get to sit in the balcony upstairs. With only one table here, it will feel like your own private dining area with a view.

Cambodian Curry Secrets
Cambodian’s Favorite Salad
Private dining area at Chamkar!
  • Peace Cafe (Cost: $-$$; Beets Score: ****)

    Another entirely vegetarian place with a great ethos. Slightly away from the center of Siem Reap, you may have to hitch a tuk-tuk ride to get there. Once there you will be greeted by friendly staff, pleasant outdoor seating and good food. If you’re interested, they also have yoga classes.

Green juice hits the spot after a long day at the temples
  • Sister Srey Cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: *****)

    Since we started traveling, we have come to understand the importance of having a great cafe to work in. It’s essential that it provides good wi-fi, a variety of food / beverages, power outlets and friendly service. Sister Srey Cafe has it all. We spent an entire day working here and were very productive. They have great options for breakfast and lunch. We tried their Matcha Smoothie and Bodia Bowl. Their juices and smoothies were very refreshing too. (Note: They shut at 6pm and are closed on Mondays.)

    Bodia Bowl

Matcha Smoothie Bowl
  • New Leaf Eatery (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: *****)

    Now here is a restaurant with a conscience. You will feel good about spending your money here since all the profits from the restaurant go to a charitable cause. The Khmer Vegetable Curry, Big Veggie Fry-up and the Veggie Sandwich were all excellent.

Cambodian Vegetable Curry
Vegetable Noodle Soup
Big Veggie Fry Up
Veggie Sandwich
  • ARTillery cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: ****)

    An art gallery puts the art in ARTillery cafe. This cafe has more to do with serving great food and promoting local artists than guns. The zucchini pasta and jackfruit tacos were delicious!

Delish Jackfruit Tacos
Zucchini Pasta
  • The Gelato Lab (Cost: $-$$; Beets Score: *****)

    If your sweet tooth is starting to ache, get yourself to the Gelato Lab immediately. It is owned by an Italian (so you know it’s authentic) who is trained to make gelato. Some things should be left to the experts. We highly recommend the coffee here as well. This place has a really nice area upstairs if you want to relax or get some work done.

Ice cream at the Gelato Lab
  • Hive Bar (Cost: $$$; Beets Score: ***)

    We found this a little pricey as budget travelers, but they do their juices right. We ordered the green juice and finally felt like we were having something that was nourishing our body. A lot of places tout a green juice and unfortunately don’t have any real veggies. Hive does it perfectly with the right balance of ginger, lemon and greens! We tried their avocado toast and found that it didn’t quite cut it for us.

The BEST green juice in Cambodia!
Avocado toast with tomato chutney

Phnom Penh

  • Surn Yi Vegetarian Restaurant (Cost: $; Beets Score: ****)

    Surn Yi serves Taiwanese cuisine and is very easy on the wallet. Everything on the menu is vegetarian so you can be assured that they are not using meat broth. Their food makes up for what they are lacking in ambience and frills.

  • Mok Mony (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: ***)

    You are guaranteed to leave this place satisfied. No, really! They will take back any dish you ordered for any reason at all. What’s even better is that they distribute the returned food to the homeless. They don’t have too many vegetarian options, but the ones they do are pretty good.

  • Besto Vegetarian (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: ****)

    We soon start itching for Indian food if we haven’t had it for too long. Besto scratched that itch for us … a few times! We ordered the khichdi with yogurt. Very light and perfect when you have been travelling for a while. The yogurt provided us with the necessary dose of probiotics. They also deliver for a $1! The restaurant is lacking in ambiance, so we would recommend delivery. Other food we tried: gobi paratha and paneer tikka roll.

  • Romdeng (Cost:$$$; Beets Score: ***)

    Great ambience and good food but unfortunately extremely pricey. We walked out feeling satisfied and like we had been robbed of all our money.

Veggies in brown sauce
  • The Corn (Cost: $$; Beets Score: ***)

    This was a last minute find. We were trying to get to “The Vegetarian” which was closed for a private event. The guy there recommended The Corn. The food, ambiance and service was good. We ordered the Char Kroeung and the Khmer Red Curry, both are served with wild rice (it’s black in color noted for it’s high nutrition).

    Khmer Red Curry

Kampot

  • Green House Bungalows Cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Beets Score: ***)

    This was the cafe at the place we were staying. Unfortunately, the chef here does not look on vegetarians favorably. Having said that, the staff makes a Khmer green curry (not on the menu) which is probably one of the best we have had in Cambodia. They have great outdoor seating overlooking the river. Even if you are not living there, you can go hang out there.

Muesli – Our daily breakfast!
  • Deva Cafe (Cost: $$; Beets Score: *****)

    A roadside joint that we missed the first time we went looking for it, serves absolutely delicious vegetarian food. It is a part of the Banteay Srey spa, and run by the same staff. They have a unique cuisine which consists of items such as the avocadillo, hummus wrap and the raw spaghetti with avocado pesto (phrases such as “Amazing” and “Out of this world!” were uttered as we chewed on this).

Hummus Wrap
Nom Nom! Raw Spaghetti with avocado pesto dressing.
  • Simple Things (Cost: $$; Beets Score: *****)

    More travel lessons …  a yoga place that serves food will be awesome. Simple Things is exactly that. It was refreshing to find a breakfast option that wasn’t eggs or muesli. Their tempeh on toast hits the spot.

  • Om (Cost: $$; Beets Score: ***)

    A good option if Simple things is closed. That’s exactly why we ended up eating here twice. This sounds a little harsh, there food was good but nothing extra ordinary.

  • Khmer Root Cafe (Cost: $$; Beets Score: N/A)

    This is a special mention, because we didn’t eat here and now we regret it. You would not think much of this roadside joint if you were to look at it, and that would be exactly like judging a book by its cover. It is right by the secret lake, so if you are around there, definitely eat here. A fellow traveler told us that the chef has worked in Leeds and we saw him make the curry paste from scratch. They also have a cooking class!

Khmer Roots Cafe – The chefs at work!

What are some of your favorites? Feel free to comment.

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