The Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) neighbourhood of Phnom Penh may well be sprinkled with a cool collection of hip eateries serving food from across the globe, but it’s also home to the usual helping of food stalls and carts, serving authentic Cambodian eats and international favourites. Here are the 10 best food stalls in BKK1.
BKK Market is a small local market that remains mostly off the tourist track, with some great bargains to be found inside. In keeping with markets, there is a central food area, with stalls selling a range of local eats. This is a great place to try one of Cambodia’s national dishes, num banh chok, or Khmer noodles. Eaten either for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, the rice noodles are topped with a fish-based curry gravy made from kaffir lime, lemongrass and turmeric root. This dish is a must-try while in Cambodia.
The baguette remains a relic left by the French, with carts stacked full of the bread seen throughout the capital. A top spot to feast on the snack is on the roads that surround BKK Market, where several street vendors selling the sandwiches can be found. Nompang sak koh is a good option, with skewers of barbecued lemongrass beef layered inside a baguette with pickled vegetables and chilli.
These guys don’t hang around in one place. Instead they pound Phnom Penh’s streets, pushing wooden carts with cockles spread across metal sheets baking in the sun. However, cockle sellers often frequent Street 51, near Wat Langka and the backpacker stretch of Street 278, and can be heard touting for business in Khmer.
Bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Cambodia. Served across the city, a great spot to sample the dish is at the street-side eateries that dot the outside of BKK Market. The scent of marinated pork being grilled on the many barbecues wafting through the air is enough to crank up the hunger pangs.
Chive cakes, or num kachay, are another popular snack found across Cambodia, with several stalls inside BKK Market serving them fresh. Watch them being fried in shallow pans in the bustling heart of the market before sinking your teeth into the small cakes made from glutinous rice flour and served with a sweet, spicy fish sauce.
The mobile coffee cart revolution has landed in Phnom Penh. While serving iced coffee from a cart is hardly a new concept in Cambodia, the traditional form is much more shabby chic than the hip new offerings mushrooming across the capital. The stretch of Street 51, between streets 294 and 302, is dotted with coffee carts serving a variety of coffees, teas and other refreshments.
From early morning to late afternoon, the corner of streets 360 and 51 are packed full of plastic chairs and metal tables, with various food stalls serving up a variety of dishes throughout the day. From noodles and rice dishes, to grilled pork, chicken and fish options, the food served at this collection of street diners is definitely a hit with the crowds of locals who flock there for breakfast, lunch and an early dinner.
A new trend sweeping across the capital has seen more upmarket mobile food carts setting up shop on the city’s sidewalks. iBurger is a shining example, with the small food truck on Street 51 excelling in the burger stakes. With a small collection of tables and chairs set up on some astroturf, iBurger serves an astonishing range of options, including the nacho burger made of guacamole, jalapeno and salsa, served with sweet potato crisps and the rib eye beef burger.
This dish may well belong to neighbouring Vietnam, but Cambodia serves up a pretty mean pho. This local street side eatery – look out for the yellow awning – poaches strips of beef in broth before topping the fragrant dish with chilli and garlic relish and spicy paste, polished off with a few squeezes of fresh lime. Pull up a seat at the stainless steel tables that line the stretch of road on Street 360, near Monivong Boulevard, and tuck in.
If hunger strikes after an evening of partying on Street 278, then fear not because several food carts set up shop outside Wat Langka on Street 51 to cater to the late-night crew. Tuck into a range of rice and noodle dishes, cooked fresh before your eyes and barbecued meats.