Vegan restaurant in Sihanoukville

I know I just posted something the other day, but I want to share this as soon as possible because it’s the busy season in Sihanoukville. Dao of Life is the only vegan restaurant in Sihanoukville. I’m not a vegan, but their food is delicious and they are the friendliest people in Sihanoukville if not the world.

dao of life vegan restaurant Sihanoukville Cambodia

This is their fourth location. First they were in an out of the way spot up towards the Hill on Ekareach Street. Clever marketing and events drew people to the restaurant in spite of its location. Then they moved to two locations on Serendipity Road. They got more customers, but things didn’t work out too well for them in those locations. Now they’ve moved to the bottom of Serendipity Road. Yasmine is downstairs and Dao of Life has taken the upstairs.

They’re easy to find. Yasmine is the last building on the right facing the pier. I think this is potentially the best location Dao of Life has found. The views are beautiful and they have a geodesic dome covering the restaurant.

dao of life vegan restaurant Sihanoukville CambodiaThat’s Shazia. I’d say she’s the “boss,” but Shazia doesn’t act like a boss. That’s part of the joy of eating at Dao of Life. Everybody is smiling and happy. How they found Nit, I don’t know. Nit is Cambodian. She loves her job and shows it in a million ways.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Buddhist ceremony before the grand opening. A lot of people attended. I had to leave early, but managed to take a photo before I left.

dao of life vegan restaurant Sihanoukville CambodiaThen I returned and had dinner there last night. I was happy to see a couple of customers there. I am under orders to dine early, so seeing people there between 5 and 6 was encouraging.

Excuse me for jabbering on, but I’m trying to write as many words as possible and include “vegan restaurant in Sihanoukville” in my story in hopes of getting the keyword ranked on Google. I want more people to discover Dao of Life in its new location. They deserve to have a successful business. By the way, the view is nice even after dark.

dao of life vegan restaurant Sihanoukville CambodiaOkay, I’m running out of things to say. When you’re in Sihanoukville, visit Dao of Life. You won’t regret it. It’s the only vegan restaurant in Sihanoukville and even if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll love the food and the wonderful vibe. You’ll also enjoy the wonderful view and the fresh breezes that waft through the semi open-air restaurant.

Lunch in Otres Village

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I wrote about Otres Village back in 2013. I’ve been back there since then, but haven’t taken pictures. I had some time on my hands the other day, so I decided to have lunch in Otres village. I went to Hacienda, which is right across the street from the Barn, where they have the Otres Market. The Otres Market put this out of the way village on the map.

Legacy Resort Otres village

In 2013, not much had changed on the main road in Otres Village. There was a row of traditional shops on the road, but that was about it. Now it extends around the corner and you can find fairly luxurious guesthouses and bungalows on the main road. The Legacy is probably the nicest, but there are others springing up, including a fair sized hotel.

Main road in Otres village

You take a right turn onto a dirt road to get to the Barn and all the other new restaurants and guesthouses that have been springing up in Otres village. I was a little stunned by how many there are now. There’s even a mini-mart, but it doesn’t look like they’ve stocked it yet. There’s also a small row of shops. Only two were occupied when I drove past, but it’s a sign of the times. Sihanoukville is growing and Otres village is growing with it.

new shops in Otres village

I finally arrived at Hacienda. I knew what I wanted. The last time I went there for lunch, it was to meet Brian Gruber, author of the very excellent book, War: the Afterparty. I tried their falafel last time and it was very good. That’s what I had this time, too, and it was just as good.

Hacienda at Otres village

Hacienda turned out to be a perfect choice for lunch. I could have gone to the beach, but there’s nothing new or different about the beach to me. I wanted a change of scenery. At Hacienda, you’re surrounded by trees and water. I think if I came to Sihanoukville for the first time and knew it was there, I’d stay in one of their bungalows. They’re a deal at $8 a night and the bar/restaurant serves good food at decent prices.

bungalows in Otres village

In spite of its rapid growth, Otres village is still pretty mellow. It might remain that way because that’s why people seem to be drawn to it. Hacienda was playing jazz when I was there. It seemed perfect and was a welcome relief from the nostalgia-rock you hear everywhere in Sihanoukville.

The people at the bar were talking quietly together and most of them were drinking smoothies. That, too, was a relief. Just last week while I was having dinner on the Hill, the woman who runs the bar across the road from the restaurant I was dining in kicked a patron out. She actually knocked him to the ground as she shouted, “Don’t say ‘fuck you’ to me or my family! Get out and don’t come back!”

I love the food at Irina Franca and Raphael’s on the Hill, but sometimes the atmosphere isn’t so great. I like to eat outdoors, but sometimes I eat indoors to escape the blaring music and loud voices. That wasn’t a problem in Otres village. I was the oldest customer by far, but the young bartender was very friendly and courteous. If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, you may find it in Otres village. I’ve never been there at night, but I suspect it’s nice after dark, too.

Pchum Ben in Sihanoukville 2016

I’ve written about Pchum Ben before. The first time was in 2011 and the second in 2012. There are probably other posts about it, too, but those two will give you some background about this two week long celebration. We usually go to wats (temples) far from Sihanoukville over Pchum Ben, but this year we stayed close to home. Last week we went to Wat Otres.

Pchum Ben Wat Otres Sihanoukville 2016This week, we went to Wat Leu. It’s been so long since I’ve been up there, it seemed like an adventure. Wat Leu isn’t the best maintained wat I’ve been to, but it has wonderful views and is surrounded by trees. You don’t really feel like you’re in Sihanoukville when you’re up there.

Pchum Ben Wat Leu Sihanoukville 2016We had a great time, mostly hanging out in the shade after going to the temple. They sell cold drinks and treats outside the wat. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual. That’s something I like about religious holidays in Cambodia. You’re expected to dress modestly in long dresses or long pants, but no one puts on spiritual airs. They do pay their respects to their ancestors in the temple, but after that they go back to normal.

Pchum Ben 2016 at Wat Leu, Sihanoukville CambodiaWe stayed for an hour or two and then went down to Independence Beach for lunch. After lunch the kids went for a swim and I stayed on shore making sure they didn’t drift away. Cambodians in general don’t understand ocean currents. Fortunately, the current was going sideways today, but I still had to herd the kids back when they drifted too far. There was a rip and a deep spot I didn’t want them to get near. Not sure if I mentioned it here, but one day I went to the beach and just after I dove in for a swim I had to rescue a kid who was being pulled out to sea. 10 people drowned over that week. Lucky I was there or he would have been the eleventh. Easy enough for me. I just told him to put his arms around my shoulders and I walked him to shore.

Independence Beach, Sihanoukville Cambodia 2016That was our day. We were home by 2:30, so I went to my “magic Cambodian cafe” for a cappuccino and cookie after we got home.

While I’m here, I want to mention two wonderful restaurants on the Hill. It’s a shame they don’t get more customers, but nobody gets many customers on the Hill. Raphael’s and Irina Franca are right next to each other. Irina Franca is run by a very nice Russian woman who is a superb cook. Unfortunately, I’m about the only person who knows it. She still makes a special every night. Last time I went there it was spinach and ricotta gnocchi.  I don’t usually like gnocchi, but hers was excellent. Raphael’s has a new owner, an Italian man who makes great pizzas and pastas.

Restaurants on the Hill in Sihanoukville CambodiaI don’t suppose my little post is going to change things for either restaurant, but I wanted to give them a plug. They’re both very good and it’s a shame they don’t get more customers.

My favourite Sihanoukville restaurant

Pats2I eat out almost every night. A creature of habit, I rarely try new restaurants, but have about half a dozen I go to regularly. Lately I’ve been going to Pat’s Place on the Hill about three times a week. It’s not the fanciest restaurant I could go to, but it’s my favourite restaurant in Sihanoukville.

I don’t particularly like hanging out on the Hill, but Pat’s Place is different. It’s a family run business and they are so friendly, I don’t feel like I’m on the Hill. They’ve been in their current location directly opposite Mealy Chenda’s driveway for about three years. Before that, they were next door, but that was before the owner took a two year break when she was pregnant and nursing her daughter. One barang who has been coming here for 30 years told me her mother used to serve food under a tree, but I can’t verify it. Pat’s English is limited to what she needs to know to run her business. She didn’t understand me when I asked about the tree.

Why is Pat’s Place my favourite restaurant? In order of importance:

  1. They are so friendly
  2. The food is good
  3. The food is cheap
  4. They have a varied menu
  5. I don’t have to deal with as much traffic as I have to deal with when I go to Serendipity Road

I don’t feel like I’m going to a restaurant when I go to Pat’s Place. Weather permitting, they always set up a table for me outside when they see me coming. I like a glass of red wine with my dinner. If they’re out, they go buy a bottle for me. They make me feel like a welcome guest rather than just a customer.

Pats1

Okay, I go there because it’s cheap, too. Other restaurants are just as cheap and the food is just as good, but their friendliness draws me to Pat’s Place more than anything else. I occasionally go to a couple of other restaurants on the Hill, but only when I feel like something they don’t sell or if I want to vary the scenery.

How cheap are they? My two favourite meals are their spaghetti with vegetables and grilled fish with a side salad and potatoes (mashed, fried or chips). Both of them cost a whopping $2.00. A glass of red wine is just $1.50. It’s a small glass, so I often get two, so my meals rarely cost more than $5.00. The wine isn’t world class, but it’s as good as wines I’ve paid $3.00 for, so I can’t complain.

No, Pat’s isn’t the most stylish restaurant in Sihanoukville, but it’s clean and they know how to make meals that appeal to barang. The grilled fish is as good as any I’ve had anywhere and their salads have a mixture of greens and vegetables with a homemade dressing that’s delicious.

Is Ocean Box the best café in Sihanoukville?

Coffee houses of Sihanoukville Ocean Box

The Ocean Box Cafe may be the best café in Sihanoukville. It’s a little out of the way and a little expensive by Sihanoukville standards, but there’s something about it that makes it special and worth visiting.

OB1

It’s run by a young Cambodian and most of the patrons are young to youngish Cambodians. I went there with friends on Saturday. It was packed and as some patrons left, others poured in. Most of them were well-dressed in the latest young Cambodian fashions. They seemed to be part of Cambodia’s growing middle class: kids who can afford to indulge in iced coffees and cakes once in awhile.

OB2

So what makes it special? For one thing, it’s made from two shipping containers. One of them has a glass roof. They’re divided by a large central room. The floor is coloured cement and the decorations aren’t expensive, but they are creative. The front is nicely landscaped and there’s a delightful mural near the entrance.

OB3Inside, creativity trumps expense, too. Some of the walls are painted and there are pot plants spread around. It has a stimulating atmosphere and the food and beverages aren’t disappointing, either. I had a cappuccino and chocolate cheesecake. Both were delicious and the service was quick, efficient and friendly.

OB4

A foreign couple walked out just as we walked in, but other than that, we were the only foreigners in the café. We didn’t feel out of place, though. The staff spoke English and no one noticed us.

Sihanoukville has been getting me down lately. Most of the construction going on around town is rather bland. The Ocean Box Café is restoring my faith in the ability of some Cambodians to come up with something new, creative and exciting. The popularity of the café is testament to the fact that it’s something young Cambodians are looking for, too.

OB6I doubt I’ll be going there often. It’s a little out of the way for me, but I look forward to going to the Ocean Box for coffee and cake with friends now and then. More importantly, I’m glad to know it’s there. It seems to be a popular spot and maybe it will inspire other Cambodians to open funky but creative shops and cafés in the future.

Check out the Ocean Box Cafe on Facebook.

Email to an old Sihanoukville friend

When I came to Sihanoukville to stay in 2007, I felt out of my depth and did what most newcomers do — asked those who had been here longer than I for their advice. One of those people was a guy who had only been here a few months longer, but he helped me more than most, not because he had all the answers, but because he admitted he didn’t. What he had to offer was better than advice: he offered support.

He left Sihanoukville a couple of years later because he couldn’t make a decent living here. We kept in touch for awhile. Then he got married, had a child and we were out of touch for years. I heard from him recently and he wanted to know what life was like here now. I thought about writing him a lengthy email. Then I decided to write the email here so others could get an inkling of how much this town has changed.

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Hey –,

Great to hear from you! Everything’s good here. It’s too bad you started your business when you did because I think if you had given it a try now it would be much more successful. We don’t have a long, dead rainy season to ride out, for one thing. The numbers drop, but rainy seasons now are as busy as the high seasons used to be.

When you were here, activity was centred around the Hill, downtown and Serendipity beach. The Hill became a bit of a ghost town after they paved Serendipity Road and the road to Otres. I think they tore down the old bus station before you left. A lot of downtown guesthouses suffered because of that, but some hung in there and a few are doing well again. They keep their prices lower than places closer to the beach and some of them pull in customers because they offer good rooms and have good restaurants.

For awhile, the area around Serendipity Road was a zoo. It still gets busy, but people tell me most of the backpackers only stay in that part of town overnight before they move on to Koh Rong or one of the other islands. Those who stay longer term usually gravitate towards the mellower Otres beach, or so I’m told.

hill - paved

Yep. Believe it or not, this is the Hill

If I’d heard from you a few months ago, I would have said the Hill is the same as it was when you left. A few months can make a big difference here, though. The main road has been paved and even the bumpy road in the triangle has been cemented. Most of the old bars are still there, but some nice restaurants have been started, too. I wrote about the changes on the Hill in a recent blog, Victory Hill Gets a Facelift, so I won’t repeat myself here. Yep. Believe it or not, the picture above is at the corner near where your café used to be.

del marI think you had the first or second espresso maker in Sihanoukville. Well, they’re everywhere now. I wrote about that recently, too, in Coffee Houses in Sihanoukville. My favourite is Café del Mar. I wish I’d written that blog a few weeks later because there’s a new del Mar on CT Road, just a few doors down from the clinic outside one of the hotels there. Same great pastries but arguably even better coffee thanks to the state-of-the-art espresso maker they bought for it.

What else is new? Oh yeah. They’re widening the beach road between Sokha beach and Independence beach to make way for a monstrous development. There’s another one planned for Independence beach, too, but I’m not sure when they’ll get started on that.

I’m pretty sure one thing you’d notice if you visited would be how much more traffic there is now. It used to get a bit crazy at around 5 p.m. when all the kids were going home from work or school, but Ekareach Street is busy all the time now. Remember how we used to notice cars on the road? There are so many now it’s not a big deal. I went to Otres beach on Sunday and it seemed like there were as many cars as motorbikes, if not more. Otres has been divided in two. Between Otres 1 and Otres 2 is a long stretch of empty beach. On Sunday, cars lined that section of road from one end to the other.

I went to Otres to escape the Chinese New Year crowds, but the only way I could escape was by renting a Hobie cat. It was a perfect day for sailing. I headed straight out to sea and when I got to the wind-sheltered side of one of the islands, I just stopped for awhile to enjoy the silence. I couldn’t even hear a firecracker going off in the distance.

Remember that big vacant area behind my house? It’s full of houses now and there are two big new apartment complexes at the top of our road. Just down from there are two more and it looks like another one is going up closer to the main road.

I think you’d be blown away by how much Sihanoukville has grown since you were here. I am. I still remember wondering why Ekareach Street was so wide when I first came here. Now I’m wondering why it’s so narrow. To ease traffic and give new businesses a chance to take root, they’ve widened the road that parallels Ekareach Street a couple of blocks down from the Total gas station. It’ll be interesting to see what pops up along that road in the future.

Anyway, it was great to hear from you after so many years. Don’t worry about bringing your family here. A lot of families come to Sihanoukville now and some come to stay. Hope you and your family can make it here some time soon.

Cheers,

Rob

Coffee houses in Sihanoukville

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I can’t write about bars because I don’t go to them, but I’m almost an expert when it comes to coffee houses in Sihanoukville. I qualify that with an “almost” because new ones spring up all the time, but I tend to stick with the ones I know.

cafe in sihanoukville cambodia

When Douceur du Cambodge opened, it took up half the space it takes up now. Even though it has doubled in size, it’s harder than ever to find a seat during peak hours. I used to go for coffee and a light pastry at about 10:00 a.m. Now I either go before 8:00 or after noon because it gets too crowded and the staff can’t really cope with everyone. Why do I go there? Price has one thing to do with it. A cappuccino and well-made pastry sets me back $2.50. But mainly it’s because I like their cappuccinos. They’re strong and not too milky.

del marDouceur du Cambodge is on the busiest street in town. Almost directly behind it on a quieter street that parallels it is a tiny coffee house that sells the best pastries in town, if not the world. Okay, there may be better cakes in a few places, but Café del Mar’s desserts are world class. Café del Mar is run by a lovely Ukrainian couple. Definitely worth a visit, but I hope it doesn’t become too popular. I can always count on finding an outdoor table there, even when it’s full in the air-conditioned indoor area.

To get there turn left if you’re coming from downtown at the stoplight just past Orange Market. It’s opposite a big new building site about a block up the road.

Speaking of Orange Market, they have tables outside and serve decent cappuccinos. I sometimes go there in the afternoon. They also sell good ice cream, but I usually opt for fresh baked cookies from the market. The cappuccinos aren’t the best in town, but they’re good enough and it’s a good place to go for a caffeine fix in a hurry.

orange market sihanoukville cambodia

I rarely go to the Ochheuteal beach area during the week when I’m busy working, but sometimes when I feel like I need a longer break or have something to do down that way, I stop in at one of several coffee houses. I’ve written about Escape at the top of the hill before, but I’ve been venturing further down the street more recently. To my surprise, Mokka turned out to be very good and has the most comfortable seats in town. They don’t serve snacks, though, so I only go there when all I want is a coffee at a leisurely pace.

mochaAnother great coffee house down that way in the Eno Cafe. They make excellent sandwiches with a variety of fresh breads and serve some delicious pastries, too. It has an upmarket feel to it and is a little pricey by Sihanoukville standards, but that’s still not expensive.

eno cafe sihanoukville cambodiaThis selection of coffee houses in Sihanoukville is really only the tip of the iceberg and I apologise in advance for probably leaving out some equally good ones. Hopefully I’ve made my point, though. If you need a coffee fix and/or delicious pastries in Sihanoukville, you can have them.

 

 

 

Victory Hill Gets a Facelift!

A good friend of mine lives on a hill above Victory Hill. I always enjoy visiting him, but never enjoyed dodging the potholes on Ekareach Street after the stoplights on the Hill. A couple of months ago, it was even worse because they were laying pipes on the side of the road. When I went up to see him a few days ago, everything had changed. The road is wide and smooth now.

Looking back towards the stoplight on Victory Hill

Looking back towards the stoplight on Victory Hill

Glancing to my left, I noticed that the road past the bars had been paved, too. I turned around for a closer look and was stunned. It was so much more appealing looking, I felt drawn to it, so I took a slow cruise down a road I used to avoid.

I usually only go to the Hill at the end of the month when I’m running low on money. There are some good restaurants there where you can get a decent meal and a beer for $2.50. Although it was looking shop-worn, I used to go to the Corner Bar sometimes, too, because no one went there and I could watch a movie on one of their big screen TVs. The Corner Bar closed awhile back. The new owners have given it a facelift and it looks bright and cheery now.

hill - pavedI decided to make that my dinner spot that night. I chose spaghetti carbonara. It wasn’t nearly as good as the home made spaghetti at Spaghetti House, but I’ve been told the French food is very good, so I’ll try that next time.

As I made my way back to the main road after dinner, I noticed another new place. Raphael’s Tavern advertises itself as a wine bar and restaurant, offering “authentic Italian cuisine.” I decided to try that the next night, but they were closed, so I went around the corner and ate at a Russian place, Olivier, next to the tall skinny hotel near the stoplight. I chose cabbage rolls and steamed vegetables. Both were excellent and so was the wine.

hill - painterI’m in serious danger of making the Hill my new hangout now. Yesterday afternoon I was supposed to meet a friend up that way, but he was running late, so I took another ride down the main drag looking for some place to pass the time. Instead of turning right on Restaurant Row (or whatever it’s called), I turned left. Amazingly, the area around a formerly derelict swimming pool had been renovated. The new owners re-tiled the pool and turned it the area around it into a kind of all-in-one café, restaurant, relaxation area. I just had a soft drink, but plan on returning for lunch or dinner soon. It was just so relaxing sitting there listening to the music and watching this guy painting a mural.

And here’s a bigger picture. The building going on in the background looks like it’s at the site of the old Papagayo, opposite the Corner Bar.

hill - pool cafeAfter having a couple of beers with my friend at his usual hang out, I headed back up the road and noticed Raphael’s Tavern was open. I wasn’t too hungry, so I just had a snack. It was as good as Papa Pippo’s on Otres Beach, but not as far away from home. Two nights later, I tried their home made spinach and cheese ravioli. It was just as good as the Spaghetti House’s. Different, but equally good.

hill - raphaels tavernI was the only customer when I got there, but that’s often the case because I eat earlier than most. I was happy to see it filling up not long before I finished my meal and even happier to see that Metal Heart across the street had been closed down. I stopped going to The Look (now gone) because of the music he played at high volume. With no competition, I was able to enjoy the much mellower music playing in the background at Raphael’s.

We’ll see what happens, but things are looking good for the Hill. It used to be the main backpacker’s area, but the backpackers shifted to Serendipity Road, Otres and the islands, leaving the Hill to the girlie bars. It was too bad, because being on a hill as it is, the area gives you a different environment. I always thought it had a lot of potential, but for awhile, it really went downHill. Well, from my point of view, anyway. One of the members of our writing group is writing about his observations of life after dark on the Hill and from his perspective, it sounds fascinating. Seedy, but fascinating and very funny unless you happen to be the one who is the target of a ladyboy’s wrath.

Personal prejudices aside, I reckon there’s room for everyone on the Hill. I’m hoping it continues to offer something for boring people like me and gives the night owls a place to roam as well.

Back street cafes in Sihanoukville

snookys, sihanoukville cambodia

Snooky’s is an unpretentious guesthouse/restaurant/bar on a residential street near downtown Sihanoukville. One of the few downtown establishments to survive the downturn in traffic after the old bus station was torn down and the beaches developed, it just seems to go from strength to strength in its own quiet way. I used to go there for breakfast occasionally. Now it’s become one of my regular dinner spots.

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The vastly improved menu has something to do with it. The old standbys, like their Sunday roasts, are fine, but now that they’ve added Indian and Thai food to the menu, I have more to choose from.

That’s just one reason why I like Snooky’s, though. At first glance, there’s nothing special about it, but when you go inside, you’re greeted by a friendly, competent staff. The music, mostly oldies, is at just the right volume and the owner has replaced the old straight-backed chairs with more comfortable benches.

snookys, sihanoukville cambodia

Those are some of the tangible reasons why I like Snooky’s. Less tangible, but just as appealing, is the general atmosphere of the place. The clientele, which seems to include more regulars than blow-ins, is a mellow bunch who seem to be happy to just kill time in quiet conversation at the bar or dinner table. It’s a far cry from the Hill, where, although you can get a decent meal for $2.00 and a beer for 50 cents, you often have to put up with a booming voice complaining about the local police or comparing Sihanoukville unfavourably to Pattaya.

Now that the tourist season is sneaking up on us, I’m dining on Serendipity Road less often, too. A couple of times a week, I get home made Italian food at the Spaghetti House. It’s cheap and delicious and I can always get a table outside. The others who have discovered this wonderful little café just off Ekareach Street go there for the same reason: to have a nice meal, a glass of wine and some quiet conversation. I’m yet to see a group of drunken backpackers take over the place, but in the high season, it’s hit or miss except at the more expensive restaurants along Serendipity Road.

For coffee and pastries, I have three places to choose between. One of them, Douceur du Cambodge, is just up the road from Samudera Supermarket. It’s on a busy road and is often crowded in the morning, but it has a nice local feel and is ridiculously cheap. A good cappuccino and excellent raisin or apple pastry costs just $2.25 and is all I usually want for breakfast. If I want a bigger meal, I can get an omelette or sandwich and it still costs me less than $3.50, coffee included.

On a side street behind Douceur du Cambodge is a great little café called Café del Mar. It’s in an unlikely spot and is easy to miss even if you know which street it’s on, but once you’re there, it’s like you’re in another world. Café del Mar is run by a lovely Ukrainian couple. They make world class pastries and coffee and in spite of the hard-to-find location, have a regular and loyal clientele. Although small, the café is tastefully decorated and spotlessly clean. Our little writing group met there last Saturday and we’ve decided to make it our regular spot. The tables out on the front verandah are perfect for getting absorbed in conversation.

My other favourite café for coffee, lunch or a snack is an exception to my “stay away from Serendipity Road” rule. Escape is just next door to Utopia on Serendipity Road, but there’s not too much traffic on the road in the afternoon and the café has a local feel to it — probably because it’s run by friendly locals who have had the business for a long time.

It’s all a matter of taste and preference. You might like hanging out at a busy establishment or prefer a more upmarket restaurant. We sometimes do, too. The point is: you can find whatever you like in Sihanoukville if you know where to look or are willing to explore. There are dozens of restaurants and cafes in Sihanoukville. Many are clustered together, but if you’re out and about and see a few people sitting outside enjoying a coffee, try one of the out of the way places. You’ll be surprised by how great they can be and you’ll save money, too.

International Restaurants in Sihanoukville

kama sutra indian restaurant, sihanoukville cambodia

A more diverse range of cultures live in Sihanoukville than in any other country I’ve lived in before. The fascinating thing for me is that it’s not a melting pot: people from different countries tend to gravitate towards others who share the same language and culture, but don’t exclude “outsiders” entirely, sometimes purely for the sake of business, but just as often because they are accustomed to hearing different languages and seeing people of different ethnic origins. I could carry on about how healthy this is in our divided world, but will focus on the greatest practical advantage of having so many cultures living and working here: international cuisine.

cafe sushi sihanoukvilleI’ll start with Cafe Sushi because that’s the restaurant that inspired this blog. We ate there last night for the first time in too long. The restaurant has been here at least as long as I have and was successful even when there were few tourists in Sihanoukville. I think the best testament to the quality of the food is the fact that Japanese tourists and expats dine here. You can’t see them in the photo above because they’re inside. There are quite a few other Japanese restaurants in town, but this is the only one we’ve tried so far.

kama sutra indian restaurant, sihanoukville cambodia

As far as I know, there are three Indian restaurants in Sihanoukville. We used to go to Taj Mahal when it was up on the Hill, but have recently started going to Kama Sutra up at the top of Serendipity Road near the Golden Lions. The prices and service are very good. If it has one drawback, it’s that I’m afraid it might be too small for the high season. We’ll see.

italian restaurant in sihanoukville cambodia

Belly dancer on Valentine’s Day at Olive & Olive

I lost count of all the Italian restaurants in Sihanoukville a long time ago. Even after eliminating the ones that aren’t run by Italians, there are still quite a few. Our favourite is one of the newest ones — Olive & Olive. It’s a little pricier than others, but the food and service is excellent. The owner is one of the world’s friendliest people, too. Olive & Olive is next door to Kama Sutra. For a very good budget Italian meal, I recommend Spaghetti House. All the pasta is fresh and I’m semi-addicted to their spinach and ricotta ravioli.  Before Olive & Olive opened, I wrote a rave review of Spaghetti House.

Maybe Later - a great Sihanoukville bar and restaurant

Finally, I’ll throw in the best Mexican restaurant in Sihanoukville – Maybe Later. Although not authentically Mexican, it’s as good as any Southern California Mexican food I’ve ever had. I tend to go there early because it attracts the backpacker crowd from Ochheuteal Beach and they can get a tad loud for me, but it’s mellow enough at 7:00, my usual dinner time. A couple of other restaurants serve Tex-Mex and Mexican food, but they just don’t match Maybe Later’s fare and there’s no place else that serves fish tacos. Maybe Later is about halfway down Serendipity Road towards the pier on the right.

I’ve left out so many other great international restaurants in Sihanoukville, it’s embarrassing, but hopefully you get the idea. Whatever you want, you can find it here.