As you probably know, we recently spent 4 days in Phnom Penh as part of a visa run. Despite doing university work, the one thing we did was…EAT. To our surprise, we found amazing vegan food in Phnom Penh.
**This post was imported from my old blog and was originally published in 2015**
1. Fruits and salad
South East Asia has an incredible variety of delicious fruits to offer and Phnom Penh is no exception. As a vegan traveller, this is always a great option. Whether you’re craving jack fruit, lychees, durian or pineapple – you’ll find it all at the local market. The best part is, that fruit here tastes so much sweeter than it does back home in Europe! Another thing I absolutely love while travelling is simply heading to a local market and buying fresh ingredients for a salad. You know, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, lime, spring onion – maybe even some water melon or mango, they taste amazing in salads! If you don’t have bowls (who travels with a salad bowl anyway?!) you can try to ask at your guesthouse if you can borrow one or buy a disposable one from a little shop somewhere.
2. Street food
So, there wasn’t too much vegan street food, but we did spot the occasional vegan snack. Like deep fried dough balls or sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. There are also baguettes being sold everywhere. I have been assured many times that there is definitely no milk in it, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask anyway. You never know! Also, if you like coffee, you’re gonna be super happy in Phnom Penh. There’s amazing black ice coffee almost everywhere and it costs next to nothing. Or maybe you’re feeling like sugar cane juice or some coconut water? We’re sure you’ll find it here in Phnom Penh!
3. ‘Tourist’ Restaurants
If you’re staying somewhere around riverside (and you probably are) you’ll see hundreds of restaurants with English menus that are catered towards foreigners. Not only does the staff in these restaurants usually speak quite decent English and will understand your request for ‘no fish sauce, no eggs, no chicken..’, a lot of these restaurants even have a full page dedicated to vegetarian (and some vegan) food! Just make sure to ask whether there’s egg in the noodles you’re about to order, and as always: tell them what you can’t eat before they start preparing the food. You shouldn’t expect everyone to understand what ‘vegan’ means. My personal favorite: fried Morning glory. Do tell them not to use fish or oyster sauce!
4. Vegetarian Restaurants
If you check out Happycow.net you will quickly realise that there are A LOT of vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh. We tried a few (in the limited time we had in Phnom Penh – you don’t even want to know just how much we ate in 4 short days) and wanted to pick our absolute favorite, but we kinda failed at picking our favourite as we just couldn’t decide. Too much tasty vegan food! So instead of picking just one restaurant, we officially proclaim TWO as Bottled Air’s favorite vegetarian Restaurants in Phnom Penh. Yes, it was a tie!
Evergreen Vegetarian Restaurant
This place might not look like much, but the food is oh-so delicious. Seriously, I don’t think you understand how good it is. I honestly dreamed about their dumpling soup and we constantly had to go back there! (I’m not even kidding. What does that say about me?) Make sure to tell them that you don’t eat eggs or dairy (if you’re vegan that is) as some of the dishes do contain non-vegan ingredients. And do try the dumpling soup. And the deep-fried mushroom. Oh my god, the deep-fried mushroom (that one was Will’s favorite).
Address: 109, St 130, Sangkat Phsar Chas Open: 7AM – 2PM, 3:30PM – 9:00PM
Besto Restaurant and Mart
Yes, this is an Indian restaurant. Yes, I know you’re supposed to eat local cuisine when travelling. And yes, we couldn’t care less. There’s always a reason to eat Indian food, especially as a vegan. And wow, it was so worth ignoring more traditional Khmer dishes for a while and embark on a little culinary adventure to India. The food was just pure bliss on a plate. It felt like a million different tastes and spices were slowly unfolding in my mouth. We went for two vegan Thalis and were absolutely stuffed when we left the restaurant. But the best part and number one reason why this is one of our two favorite vegan restaurants, was the incredible service. The owner is so nice! You will probably end up going here just for a nice conversation. Extra plus: the owner actually knows the word ‘vegan’ and is experimenting with veganism himself. So just mention you’re vegan and they’ll prepare everything without curd, ghee or any other non-vegan ingredients usually found in Indian food!
Address: House no.74-76, 126 Sokhalay (Near Central Market)
So this was it, our little vegan adventure in Phnom Penh. Obviously we didn’t eat all the food and couldn’t check out every single restaurant, as we only had four days, plus our two favorites did get more than one visit! Hopefully next time we’ll be able to explore even more amazing vegan food in Phnom Penh.
Do you know any other delicious vegan foods in Phnom Penh? Leave us a comment so that we can check it out next time we’re there. We love food!