What We Ate in Kampot – Part 1

  • Epic Arts LunchEpic Arts CafeThis place came highly recommended because it’s not just a cafe, but also an NGO. They focus on hiring locals with disabilities, from those who are deaf to those who have limps – and more. So, supporting the cafe helps those with limited career prospects get money and dignity. On the food front, our experience was mixed. The mango and brownie shakes were excellent, as were the veggies that came with B’s panini. The sandwich itself, along with his carrot cake, my veggie fried rice, my yogurt and fruit, and my cinnamon rolls were average at best. The Nori rolls with tuna were pretty good though. (If you’re wondering how we could have eaten so much food, we went more than once.) Still worth it to support the cause, but we’d recommend sticking to the drinks and/or t-shirts.
  • Classical: This is a newly-opened restaurant that skews to German food. However, we ordered their Cambodian options: the beef lak lak and the fish amok, both dishes for which the country is known. We thought that both were well-made, and I devoured the amok almost as quickly as B did the lak lak. He got ice cream for dessert, but my ‘chocolate pudding’ stole the entire show: Classique Lak Lakit was really chocolate lava cake a la mode. It was warm, it was gooey, and it was the perfect bite of chocolate-ness. We went back to get it again, and they even threw in a free delicious pumpkin dessert! Bonus: it’s open til 11 pm. Highly, highly recommended! (Just make sure there’s a chocolate pudding left for me – and don’t go on Monday, as they are closed then.)
  • Ellie’sWe tried this place for breakfast and found it passable. B got an iced coffee and the big breakfast, which had eggs, beans, toast, roasted tomatoes, and bacon. I had some toast with homemade jam. Nice people working there. [I thought it was better than passable. -B]
  • Rusty KeyholeRusty Keyhole Tuna SaladWe didn’t really intend to eat: we just needed liquid after a bike ride in the hot sun. However, they had a local vegetable curry, so I was a goner; B had a tuna, bacon, and cheese salad. The curry was quite good, if too high on the red pepper flake content – for texture, not flavor reasons. But the fruit shakes were also very fresh and good: B had pineapple, and I had papaya. I left this place feeling like I needed to be rolled down the road in a wheelbarrow. (They also have ribs reputed to be the best in the country and a challenge to eat 3.5 lbs. of them in an hour.)
  • EcranThe name (which means ‘screen’ in French) refers to the movie theatre run upstairs, but the downstairs is a dumpling and noodle place. (The menu is small, so don’t come looking for a spread of options.) I got the boiled vegetarian dumplings, which were pretty good – but when dunked in the provided garlic sauce, they were amazing.
  • The Garden: Sweetened Condensed Milk PieThis is a very cool space: it’s an open garden, with a pool table, lounge areas, wicker chairs, and more. It has a very laid back, stoner vibe, which matches the dessert we got there: sweetened condensed milk pie. It was like high-quality caramel or dulce de leche spread on a thin crust, and it was delicious. Worth it.
  • Les ManguiersThis is a guesthouse which has a ‘table d’hôte’ setup. This just means that they decide what they’ll be cooking, and you get one of two options. (You can also order a few things a la carte – like rice, soup, sandwich, fries, fruit, or crepes.) Manguiers DinnerAfter something like twelve meals there, I feel confident saying that they know how to cook: I enjoyed pretty much everything I had here. The desserts are a bit reminiscent of packed tastycakes, but the salads, proteins, rice – and even the fried fish and seafood, are very good. Khmer breakfast is a noodle soup with veggies and chicken or shrimp; the French breakfast is a baguette with jams. Recommended!
  • Relex/Relax Cafe: I wanted to support a local family and get some liquids into us after biking outside for a bit. Alas, drink options were Sprite, Fanta, water, or coffee – and for food, they offered fried rice. Perhaps they had more options too, but we didn’t want to put them out. Still a nice location on the way into town and a nice family, though I wouldn’t say the selection was great.
  • RikitikitaviRikitikitavi's CurryThis restaurant-hotel epitomizes ‘tourist place’ in this area. They even have a vegan dish and 2-for-1 happy hour specials! The Saraman curry we split was delicious, if a bit oily, and B’s mojitos were pretty good. My apple pie was fairly traditional, and B said it smelled a lot like cinnamon. Overall, solid food and experience; just overpriced for this particular area.
  • Honeymoon CreperieI was craving crêpes, and someone had mentioned that this place recently opened. The owner seems to be French, which explains the fact that the chocolate in my chocolate and fruit crêpe was dark chocolate. This is great news for most people (including B, who helped me out); I’m just not a dark chocolate fan. I can say that the crêpe batter was exactly as it should be, and the mango and mango juice were fresh. B enjoyed his ham, mushroom, cheese, and béchamel sauce savory crêpe too. The next day, my nutella crêpe was quite nice. Solid place to go.
  • Sports Bar-like Restaurant Next to ClimbodiaFried NoodlesThis place was showing muay Thai boxing on two TVs, and it had the three dozen rabid fans to prove it. They were perfectly nice to – if mildly curious about – us, and the food was very good. They serve a fried noodle with veggies, egg, and pork (or not), and it is delicious. (This dish is also on the menu at Ecran, above, and I heard someone describe it as the best kind of noodle dish they had eaten in all of Asia.) Recommended!
  • Korean BBQ Place in the ‘Old Market,’ next to the park: This place was open on the later side, which was a win. We got two plates of veggies and some beef and pork to grill ourselves. Their sauces were decent, though they were mostly there to mask the taste of the bland grilled goods. Not one of my favorites.
  • Chelsea BBQ: This was in the less-touristy area and populated by 80% locals, which made us happy. We were expecting something like Sovanna in Phnom Penh, but it was just like the Korean BBQ place in the tourist area. We grilled a plate of veggies and some beef pieces and left a bit hungry still. On the plus side, the beef had sesame seeds on it, and it came with pepper, so the overall taste level was higher than the touristy place.
  • Captain Chim’sThis place may look a bit like a sports bar or a chain, but that’s misleading. It’s open late, it has both local and Western food – including vegetarian options, and it has prices much more reasonable than I expected. My fried noodles with vegetables and chicken were pretty good, though they definitely overdid it on the oil. Our juice shakes were good too. Solid choice.
  • Kampot Pie and Ice Cream PalaceHere, we tried the chocolate coconut brownie, the regular brownie, the coconut cake, the palm sugar fudge (actually a sugar cube), and the mini chicken curry pot pie. All were good and ‘Western’-tasting, though a Canadian fan of the owner’s insisted that their breakfast was delicious too.

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3 thoughts on “What We Ate in Kampot – Part 1

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