One of the best things about Siem Reap would have to be the food. For a town that is not so big, there are a surprising number of restaurants that serve different cuisines from all around the world. Just walk down Pub Street and you’ll be able to choose from Khmer, Mexican, Italian and American. Take a turn through one of the alleys off Pub Street and you’ll be able to choose from Indian, Japanese, English and French. The city is certainly not short of amazing cuisine.
There are also a number of restaurants that provide not only an amazing meal but the chance to give something back to the community as well. Working with some of the local NGOs in Siem Reap, the following restaurants provide much needed assistance to both community development and people empowerment in Cambodia.
One of the most famous restaurant in Siem Reap, Haven is a training restaurant for young adults who have left orphanages and are looking for a stable, steady opportunity in the workplace. Opening in 2011, the restaurant accepted 25 disadvantaged young adults into their community. Since then, with the increased popularity of the restaurant, they have moved to a new location where they have now taken on an extra 13 young adults. Serving a mix of Cambodian and International foods the famous restaurant is well worth a visit when you are in Siem Reap.
Address: Chocolate Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm, Closed Sundays
Genevieve’s is a restaurant on the popular Sok San Rd that serves a mix of both Western and Khmer cuisines. They pride themselves on looking after their staff and the extended community as well. Each month they give 10% of the profits back into the community to fund teachers and help families in need. Genevieve’s also recently opened a fair trade market just down the road from the restaurant, where they aim to help disadvantaged and disabled people in the community sell their handmade crafts and make a living.
Address: Sok San Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 11:00am – 10:00pm, Closed Sundays
Joe to Go Café
Joe to Go is one of my favourite little cafés in Siem Reap to just sit, have a nice meal or beverage and relax. The café works in association with The Global Child, a school founded to provide an education to former street kids. Upstairs there is a lovely setting with an art gallery where you can admire work from local artists in the community. One of my favourite dishes here is the sweet potato stir-fry, and I heard the coffee is great too.
Address: Street 9, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 7:00am to 9:30pm
Sister Srey Café
Run by two Australian sisters Lauren And Cassie, Sister Srey Café aims to support young Khmer students by providing them with training skills in hospitality, English language, personal development, health, hygiene and banking. The café is very famous in Siem Reap and each morning you’ll see the tables packed full of people wanting a piece of their delicious, healthy menu options. I love their environmentally conscious approach sending all compostable waste to the Green Gecko Farm, who have a sustainable recycling program and waste management system (rare in Cambodia). Check out these 10 reasons to love Sister Srey and pop in for a meal, a muffin or a coffee.
Address: 200 Pokambor St Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 7:00am – 6:00pm
Eat Rice (Nyam Bai)
Eat Rice is a lovely Khmer run cafe located on Street 27 opposite the Ladear Angkor Boutique Hotel. Being run by a Khmer family, the cafe supports local wherever possible. The unique artwork on the cafe walls was hand painted by a local artist and the cafe aims to use its inside space to promote and sell local artists’ work. They also aim to support local growers by using Khmer suppliers where possible. It is the perfect space to enjoy some great food, that tastes as if it was made in a Khmer home kitchen, and enjoy the fast free Internet access on offer.
Address: Street 27, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Mon – Fri 7:00am – 9:00pm, Sat – Sun 8:00am – 9:00pm
Common Grounds Café
Common Grounds is not only a café but a working space as well. They have reserved their upstairs space with tables and charging points where you can use the area to catch up on work or have meetings with others. The café is owned and run by the NGO People for Care and Learning (PCL), an organisation that provides vocational training opportunities, English and computer skills to people in the community. Common Grounds also supports many other NGOs by selling their crafts in the café and provides a space for people to leave brochures and information about what’s going on in the community. If you’re travelling and working at the same time this is the place for you.
Address: Old French Quarter, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 7:30am – 8:00pm, Closed weekends
If you’ve read my ethical eateries guide to Phnom Penh I mention the cupcakes at Blossom Café. The cafe in Siem Reap provides the same menu, serving the best cupcakes I have ever tasted! The cupcakes here are just mouth watering and you can choose from a range of about 15 different flavours. The chain of cafes are vocational training centres for vulnerable women in the community that also provide a chic atmosphere and a delicious range of sweets, coffees and milkshakes.
Address: Central Market, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 10:00am – 5:00pm, Closed Sundays
Sala Baï Hotel & Restaurant School supports young Cambodians from underprivileged families by providing training opportunities in the hospitality industry. Since being founded in 2002 more than 1000 young Cambodians, mostly women, have been trained and have moved on to find work in the industry. The hospitality industry is rife in Siem Reap so providing youths with these kinds of opportunities for work will help to break the cycle of poverty here in the country.
Address: Wat Svay – Tonle Sap Road, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 7:00am – 9:00am, 12:00pm – 2:00pm, Closed weekends
Marum is another Tree Alliance restaurant that is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that works with street children and other marginalised youth in the community. Serving a mix of creative local cuisine put Marun on your list of fantastic dining experiences in Siem Reap. Don’t forget to also check out some of the fair trade goods, made using recycled materials, sold in their downstairs Friends’N’Stuff shop.
Address: #8A, B Phum Slokram, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 11am – 10:30pm
Bayon Pastry School Coffee Shop is a not for profit, free vocational training centre for underprivileged women in Cambodia. The girls come here for an 11-month training schedule, which includes a 4-month internship, to learn the art of Pastry making. They are also taught valuable English and computer skills to help them in the workplace. The French NGO Bayon School runs the café, and you can visit the shop throughout the day and to taste the delicious Pastries made with love by the women who work here.
Address: Taphul Village, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 8:00am – 5:30pm, Closed Mondays
New Leaf Book Café
The New Leaf Book Café is a restaurant, bookshop and event space with a lovely, calming atmosphere. You can spend your time here dining on their enjoyable, healthy food options, reading one of the many books that line the café walls or, if you’re in town on a Monday night, attend the weekly movie screening and relax with some popcorn and Angkor Beer. The hundreds of books in the shop have been donated from people from all over the world and the café gives the profits from any books sold to local NGOs. They also run book drives to donate English books to local schools in need. The New Leaf Book Café is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Address: 306 Street 9, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours: Daily 8:00am – 9:30pm
Have you been to these ethical eateries or know of any others? Comment in the section below and let me know about your experience or get in contact with me here. I’d love to hear from you.
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