Whether you live in Cambodia or are just visiting, the temptation can be to choose the path of pizza and air-con for comfort’s sake. The real culinary gems, though, are tucked away in local markets.
Food is the way to the heart, and Phnom Penh is full of both. With so many delicious restaurants of all cuisines to pick between, it’s so easy to empty your wallet to fill your belly… but look closely and you’ll find cheap and tasty street eats dotted about too!
While some of the markets can be daunting, with strong scents, narrow aisles and zero indication of pricing – don’t panic, you can ease into it. Or, for a bit of help along the way, foodie tour operators Urban Forage are on hand to guide you.
What to Expect
Urban Forage currently offers three tour packages, each of which include a knowledgeable guide to take you around various local hotspots for proper Khmer cooking. While you sample various treats, you’ll learn about life in Phnom Penh through the experiences and stories of your guide.
1. Morning Market, Killing Fields and S21 Museum Tour
The first tour is arguably the best for day trippers. You’re picked up (and later dropped off) at your hotel by Mr Smiley. He speaks great English and his cheerful disposition makes it obvious why he has this nickname.
The morning market tour lasts around 90 minutes and will have you eat a double breakfast (so come hungry!). Then, after a good feed, you have the Tuk Tuk for the rest of the tour. You’ll be taken to the S21 and Killing fields, where you can wander at your own pace whilst Mr Smiley waits outside for you.
This tour runs Monday – Saturday, from 8am-9am, and costs $25 per person or $10 for Children (6 – 12 years). You’ll need to pay for your own entrance to the Killing Fields ($6) and Genocide Museum ($6) with the audio guides highly recommended to get an in-depth account of the history.
2. Evening Market and Local BBQ Tour
The most popular, and highest recommended, tour begins between 4pm and 5.30pm and lasts roughly 3.5 hours.
This tour is priced at $45 per person, $20 for children, but includes a very generous offering of all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink.
Pick-up and drop-off is included again, and the tour involves another guided tour through a local market to sample various Cambodian foods.
Also included is a meal at a traditional Cambodian BBQ, located in a beer garden, with beer or soft drinks. This is a “proper” Khmer place, rather than your typical expat haunt. Lastly, you wind up at a cocktail bar overlooking the city.
3. Phnom Penh Roving Dinner
Finally, the third package is even more premium – and the price reflects that, at $70 per person and $35 for children.
Kicking off between 4.30pm and 5pm, this tour also includes the cocktail/vista combo and a Cambodian BBQ and beer hall excursion. However, more catered to discovering some hidden gems around the city, you’ll stumble upon some awesome tapas style entrees whilst sipping wine (or beer / soft drinks).
The tour also ends in a great nightlife hot spot, filled with upmarket haunts. You’ll enjoy a dessert to sweeten your evening with tea or coffee to accompany.
What About Special Diets?
Don’t eat meat? Ditched the fish? Got a dislike for spice? Let the team at firstname.lastname@example.org know when making your booking. There’s also a website for full information available here: http://www.urbanforage.co
Unconvinced? Rather stick to burgers? *Sigh*. But okay then… Check out the latest Frazer vs Burger review here, featuring Brooklyn’s Royale Jalapeno Blue