Khmer Food Village

Someone likes horse hair

Someone likes horse hair

Located just across the street from Nagaworld, the Khmer Food Village is an interesting restaurant which tries to push the boundaries in Phnom Penh but sadly falls short.

It’s obvious that whoever designed the front entrance loves horses. Flanking the cart adorned with horse hair are two very well endowed horse statues.

No compensating here

No compensating here

Upon entering, you will be directed to the right of two counters where you buy the card that you will need to purchase any food or drink. You can’t run the card down to the last riel as they place a 5,000 riel deposit on it in case you lose it or want to take it home for sentimental value.

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Coupon card for the Khmer Food Village

Once you get the card, it’s now time to order from one of the many different food stations which are located in a building in the center of the restaurant. Unfortunately, the food that they display looked pretty horrible as it looked like it was cooked a long time ago. The menu is strictly Khmer and is probably the most extensive I have seen in a restaurant in Cambodia. We were a group of about 10 and ordered a variety of dishes, most of which were priced around 10,000 Riel (no Dollar signs here!).

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with garlic at the Khmer Food Village

Fried pork with kreung spices

Fried pork with kreung spices

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Coconut sour soup with chicken

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

Fish in glass noodles with ginger and soya sauce

The meals all come with as much rice as you can eat.  I would not call the dishes spectacular with the exception of the fried pork and garlic along with the pork with kreung spices but I wouldn’t call them horrible. Just in the middle, I guess. The one thing I did enjoy was the sheer variety of dishes offered. Nowhere in Phnom Penh can offer this and because of that, it is definitely worth a visit.

Vinh

I have also included commentary from another person in the group that is bit less effusive than my comments.

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Menu at the Khmer Food Village

Khmer Food Village cleverly set expectations low from the beginning by (1) Having an impossibly confusing system of ordering food via top-up cards, supplemented by approximately 50 staff members per diner, all hovering around trying to “help,” and (2) Displaying what looked like days-old finished dishes in glass cases surrounding the dining area.

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

Ordering food at the Khmer Food Village

The meats and vegetables all looked so tired and wilty that by the time we got our food, I was just happy to have something mildly edible set before me. The quality of the dishes we tried ranged from dubious to excellent, with my favorite being the Khmer dessert akao: essentially a steamed cake with coconut cream. In an actual Khmer village it would have come wrapped in a palm leaf, but here it was referred to as a “Cambodian cupcake” and just came on a plate. Either way, it was so good we got extras.

Steamed coconut cakes

Steamed coconut cakes

Also delicious, though fatty, were the pork ribs with little bits of toasted garlic and the beef satay, which was what I got when I ordered beef “roulade.”

Roulade skewers

Roulade skewers

Samlor ktis, or sour soup with coconut milk, was just average. Fried rice was serviceable, although it looked like it had been mixed with ketchup, which always completely freaks me out for some deep-seated psychological reason.

Fried rice with beef

Fried rice with beef

And one fish dish got such bad reviews from the other members of our party that I didn’t even want to try it. I’ll probably stick to more traditional Khmer restaurants and beer gardens in the future, but this might be a good choice if you’re looking for an accessible introduction to Khmer food. ALSO I would not be doing my job if I did not mention to potential diners that there are some truly striking statues of horses flanking the entrance of the restaurant. Hopefully Vinh has a photo because words will not suffice here.

Here are some more photos from the visit:

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Fish Amok at the Khmer Food Village

Raw beef salad

Raw beef salad

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Two types of tapioca in coconut milk

Remnants of the meal

Remnants of the meal

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Khmer Food Village

  1. W.

    actually, the food looks pretty allright, it’s the horse that scares me haha

  2. Great stuff, I am a regular visitor to Cambodia so now I will be a regular visitor to your blog! Hope you don’t mind but I posted a link to this page in a thread on my forum.

  3. Long time(ish) reader here. Just noticed that your RSS feeds aren’t showing the full post any more, but just a truncated version. Any chance you could fix it? Also, the photos took ages to load on this post – perhaps you’ve been making some changes to the site. Anyhow, really love the posts – they make me want to come back to Cambodia 🙂

  4. last time i went there i kinda felt sad for those wilting veggies. it just drove out whatever was left of my appetite..but the food was okay, just as you said nothing really to rave about..

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