Battambang Food Guide - Best Places to Eat
Battambang restaurant scene has shown an astonishing development over a few years and now choices do not lack. What we personally like a lot about food and drink in Battambang is a good array of places offering local coffee. Yes, we have to admit it: we are seriously caffeine-addicted!
Coffeehouses and cafes
If you like to start your day with some rocket-fuel, Battambang has no shortage of quirky, quality cafes to enjoy a morning cup of coffee. For locally sourced beans, head to the ever-popular Café Kinyei (Street 1.5). This quaint, colonial-style cafe serves a brew called ‘Feel Good’, blended with coffee from Phnom Penh (among other Asian sources).
Another must-visit, particularly if your coffee demands a sweet accompaniment, is Choco l’Art Café (Street 117), where the desserts are to die for. Don’t miss their supreme hazelnut and chocolate cake! Try to find the Noi Coffee cart on the corner of Road 2 near the central market, which serves freshly brewed coffee made with beans roasted by the So Wat company of Siem Reap, so you know you’re getting another local blend.
Breakfast options in Battambang are varied. For something traditional, head to the small, unremarkable roadside stalls and ask for kuy teav, which is a broth made with pork and noodles, served with breadsticks or ‘Chinese doughnuts’ for dunking in the fragrant soup.
Another place you can get a decent breakfast is Fresh Eats Café (No. 47, Street 2.5), where the options include Western-style breakfasts as well as fare favoured by the locals. Café Eden (Street 1, on the riverside between Psas Nath and Sar Kheng Bridge) is popular place with expats, noted for its Western-oriented food, including the French-inspired crepes.
The most popular markets in Battambang are Phsar Naht and Phsar Boeung Choeuk, overflowing with fresh produce in the mornings and street food in the evenings.
What to eat
Try grilled fish paste wrapped in banana leaf son vac as well as Cambodia’s signature curry-like paste kroeung, used to flavour dishes such as barbecued fish, pork, beef or chicken.
Spicy samlors (stews, soups and broths) are also recommended, as is a typical Battambang dish: prahok chamhuy, which consists of pork, eggs and fish paste.
If you’re searching for a dessert at the markets, opt for banh ja’neuk: balls of sweet mung bean paste, wrapped in sticky rice-flour, or nom krok, coconut and rice flour cakes fried in oil.
Top of the list in any foodie guide for this city is Jaan Bai (Street 2), an elegant, modern establishment that incorporates locally sourced ingredients into its menu.
In the Shade of the Nutmeg Tree/Mlob Chan is much more low-key but no less fantastic, with a casual approach to fine dining: simply ask for your favourite Khmer dish and wait as it gets prepared from scratch.
A cosy and simple eaterie, Nary Kitchen (No.650 Street 111) is famous for its fish amok, a traditional Cambodian dish made from kroeung and goby fish. They also have cooking classes wish you discover the secret of this mouth-watering dish.
Western & International food
A handful of restaurants cater to those missing a bit of home: despite the name, Khmer Delight (Street 119) also serves fish and chips, Aussie-favoured pies and hearty burgers, while Green Mango Bakery (No. 297 Street 159) offers a variety of Western breakfasts, lunches and evening meals alongside its collection of bread and pastries.
Something we loved about Battambang was its French connection, and the colonial-era of occupation certainly left its mark on this city’s food culture: restaurants such as La Villa (Street 155); The Pomme D’Amour (No. 63, Street 2.5); Au Caberet Vert and Madison Corner all serve cheap wine and enough French cuisine to make you say “Ooh la la!”.
While the cocktails at Jaan Bai are certainly something to write home about, the place to enjoy a long drink is the Balcony Bar (River Road 1a). Located near Wat Kor village, beverages and pizza are served long after sundown from this old wooden building on the river.
Another establishment to add to the bar-crawl is Here Be Dragons (Street 155), particularly if you’re into the relaxed, backpacker vibe. Although it runs as a hostel, the music and entertainment here set it apart as one of Battambang’s liveliest venues.