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The sleepy, chilled-out provincial capital Kampot is rapidly turning into a tourist hotspot and with that, a foodie’s mecca. The main part of town lies on the banks of the tranquil Preak Tuek Chhu River and is about five kms from the Gulf of Thailand.

A few years back, a smattering of western restaurants, cafes and of course local Khmer eateries were what’s on the menu. But now Kampot has gone global. New establishments are popping up everywhere. There is everything from: Italian to Tex-Mex to Asian fusion to Portuguese to Indian cuisines. Visitors, locals and expats are definitely not starved for choice anymore.

There is no doubt that food is a fundamental necessity of life, but for a lot of people out there, like myself, fabulous food is the whole enchilada. So here are four of my current favourite Kampotian restaurants, in no particular order:

 

Countryside Food Kampot

One of the new kids on the block is Countryside Food Kampot, showcasing authentic restaurant quality Cambodian street fare. There are 20 dishes on the menu and every single one of them costs $2, and yes, you sure did read that correctly.

The national dishes, fish amok and beef lok lak are there. As is the Cambodian staple, mee cha (fried noodles) with beef or seafood. But as it’s Kampot and right near the Gulf of Thailand, it’s a great opportunity to try the papaya salad with fresh crab and or the steamed/fried clams. This restaurant is unreal value for money.

  • Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Closed on Friday’s
  • Location: Cnr St 730 & St 707
  • Cost: $2 USD per dish
  • Cuisine: Cambodian/Khmer

 

 

Twenty Three

The menu is small (like the restaurant itself) and it’s ever changing. You will however, always find variations of their pork belly and sea bass dishes. The one and only thing that never deviates from the menu is the twice-baked cheddar soufflé and there’s a reason why. It’s outright amazing, cheerfully light, and utterly cheesy in the best way imaginable.

I find it really hard not to say “I’ll have one of everything thanks”. So my best advice is to go there more than once, as there’s nothing worse than waking up the next morning with food regret and thinking ‘geez I really should have at least tried that truffle mash’.

  • Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm. Closed on Tuesday’s
  • Location: 23 East St, Kampot
  • Cost: $3.50 – $10 USD per dish
  • Cuisine: European bistro

 

bARACA

Tapas, tapas, tapas.

bARACA is all about small plates of scrumptious, savoury and seasonal morsels of goodness. Whilst the concept of tapas is Spanish in origin, the dishes on the menu are totally international. Fresh tender squid marinated in holy basil and coriander, whiskey, herb and cream mixed mushrooms and not to mention the roasted pork with spicy carrot chutney on toast are my absolute favourites.

Don’t forget to check out the blackboard specials and pray to someone or something that you are there when the Belgium chocolate mousse is on the dessert menu. Mmmmm chocolate, (in my best Homer Simpson voice), it’s absolutely dulce delectable.

  • Opening hours: Friday to Tuesday 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Closed Wednesday and Thursday
  • Location: #7, St 726, Kampot
  • Price/cost: $2 – $5 USD per dish
  • Cuisine: International

 

 

Razorback

Southern US style Bar-BQ (emphasis on both bar and barbeque) defines Razorback. The specialties, which this place is infamous for, involve any meat that is smoked; whether it be melt in your mouth brisket, spare ribs, chicken, pork or fish.

The most fantabulous side dish on the menu is the ultra tasty and never to be forgotten ‘mac and cheese’. If you ask me, it’s the best either, north, south, west or east of the US; even the recipe is a deeply guarded secret.

With over 40 different Belgium, Cambodian and other craft beers available and an array of bourbons to choose from, I have nothing more to say other than ‘mic drop!

  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Closed on Monday and Sunday.
  • Location: Just on the other side of the Entanou Bridge away from the main part of Kampot
  • Cost: around $6 USD for meat and a side dish
  • Cuisine: Southern US