A recent rise in healthy eating spots in Cambodia’s ‘Temple Town’ has made it easier for vegetarians and vegans to find plant-based feasts while visiting Siem Reap. Here are some of the top restaurants to visit while in Angkor Wat’s adjacent city.
Vibe Asia is Cambodia’s first 100 percent plant-based café. Since opening its doors, it has become a popular haunt with Siem Reap’s growing health-conscious crowd. Heralding the ‘earth-to-table’ approach, all food is ethically sourced and dishes resemble a work of colourful contemporary art, presented in a crisp and creative way. The café also works with local suppliers of organic produce and incorporates ingredients believed to have medicinal and healing properties into its dishes and drinks.
Chamkar House is a stalwart on Temple Town’s meat-free scene, standing as one of Siem Reap’s longest-running vegetarian restaurants. Set in a quaint wooden Cambodian house surrounded by tropical gardens, the focus is on Khmer cuisine; with the menu mainly made up of vegan delights. Think stuffed tofu with fried pumpkin, curry paste and toasted peanuts and stir-fried eggplant with loofah, coconut milk and holy basil. All ingredients are sourced locally where possible, with a range of fresh fruit juices and organic wines on offer.
Combining art with fashionable food, ARTillery is a hipster haunt that serves dishes that are just as pleasing on the eye as on the palate. With a focus on healthy living, the creative café has a plant-based menu that presents a range of vegan, vegetarian and raw dishes. Using organic, locally-sourced ingredients where possible, the menu includes sesame falafel and veggie kebabs, plus quinoa porridge and beetroot hummus. The eatery also runs a range of food classes, wellness events and community art projects throughout the year.
With tables dotted throughout leafy tropical gardens, Moringa has been serving up a range of delicious vegetarian and vegan delights since opening in October 2017. The menu doesn’t feature a mention of meat, with about 75 percent of dishes catering to vegan crowds. Think spicy buffalo cauliflower bites, moringa garlic bread and Indian masala bowls. And the vegan theme doesn’t stop with the food: Moringa serves vegan craft beers, as well as kombucha, craft cocktails and superfood drinks.
This social enterprise advocates healthy living and as part of its mission serves up a full vegetarian menu. Dishes span burgers, salads and local delights, with a community space hosting a range of activities throughout the week, including yoga and meditation. Sessions with monks are also available, who introduce guests to Buddhism. Vegetarian cooking classes run daily, and the restaurant gives back to the community by providing eco-training and workshops in permaculture practices for locals.
Another staunch advocate of the vegetarian movement and its environmental benefits, Banlle boasts a 100 percent vegetarian menu. Set in a beautifully restored traditional wooden house, the restaurant is surrounded by tropical gardens and a farm that grows ingredients used in the kitchen, including seasonal vegetables, edible flowers, beans and herbs. Dishes range from brown rice burgers and mushroom and spinach tarts, to vegetable amok and grilled tofu with sweet and sour sauce. Yum.
A great hipster hangout with a heart, Crane may have meat on the menu, but it serves up some vegan and vegetarian options that make it well worth a visit. Combining food and fashion, the venue serves some of the best coffee in town, plus clothing, great cake and live music. The avocado omelette and Siem Reap roll – a tasty blend of egg, cheese, black beans, avocado and fresh tomato sauce packed into homemade tortillas – come highly recommended. As the brainchild of a collective of creatives, the aim is to provide a space where visitors can chill, be inspired and let their imaginations run free.
This social enterprise has been feeding Siem Reap since 2011, with a menu incorporating a swathe of vegetarian and vegan dishes. It also doubles up as a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults, providing about 15 trainees annually with service skills they can use later in life. Its meat-free meals include apple ginger salads, tofu satay sandwiches and generous bowls of tofu cashew nuts. As part of its environmental commitment, Haven buys organic local produce where possible, and has done away with plastic bags and straws, instead using biodegradable packaging.