Exploring the Street Food of Cambodia with Siem Reap Food Tours

Durians on a cart in Siem Reap Cambodia
Food memories always linger the longest for us and we knew Cambodia would definitely offer opportunities to tickle our taste buds. When we travel, we seek out opportunities to try local foods, especially street food. Sometimes in less developed destinations, it can be difficult to figure out which places are hygienic and less likely to upset a sensitive western stomach. Our answer is to take a street food tour when the opportunity arises. We discovered Siem Reap Food Tours, a company run by westerners living in Cambodia and signed up for their evening street food tour. We were excited to board a tuk tuk and whizz through the streets of Siem Reap and fill our bellies along the way. 

A Scotsman in Cambodia 

Steven, a former chef, and tour guide for Siem Reap Food Tours
Siem Reap Food Tours is led by Steven, a Scotsman and former chef who has been living in Cambodia for several years. Steven is fluent in Cambodian and has sought out the best local places with the freshest ingredients and unique dishes prepared under hygienic conditions to take visitors.

Our Siem Reap Food Tours Tuk Tuk Awaits!

Tuk Tuk used for Siem Reap Food Tours in Cambodia
Getting to sample local delicacies was appealing but we were even more excited by our mode of transportation. The four tour group participants piled into a tuk tuk. Steven sat up front next to the driver on the back of his motorcycle. We must have been quite a sight. I'm impressed that the tuk tuk was able to pull all our weight especially after we'd eaten our fill at several stops along the way.

Cambodian Muscovy Duck Soup

Muscovy Duck Soup on a Siem Reap Street Food Tour in Cambodia
At our first stop, we sampled Muscovy Duck Soup. The proprietors brought out a hot pot filled with a spicy looking broth. Steven brought it to a boil and then added a balut (fertilized duck egg) to the soup. Our Siem Reap Food Tour was off to an adventurous start!
Adding a balut to Muscovy Duck Soup on a Street Food Tour in Siem Reap Cambodia
We put fresh greens in our bowl and Steven ladled in some broth. None of us was brave enough to eat the balut that was cooked in the soup (aside from the blood now flavoring the broth) but Steven took care of that and polished it off himself.
Muscovy duck soup ready to serve on our street food tour in Siem Reap Cambodia

Eating Pig Face with Siem Reap Food Tours

Cute children at a street food stall in Siem Reap Cambodia
Our next stop was a small restaurant run by a local family with several adorable children.
Pig face street food on the BBQ with Siem Reap Food Tours in Cambodia
Meat was grilling on the barbecue. We sampled pig face served with an amazing peanut sauce and spicy chilies.
Pig face served up on our Siem Reap Food Tours adventure

Fried Fish Fit for a King

Restaurant in a thatched cottage in Siem Reap Cambodia
For the third stop on our Siem Reap Food Tour, we drove a little further afield to a restaurant on the outskirts of town. We were led into a thatched cottage and arranged ourselves on the ground around a small table. A dog hoping to earn a few scraps waited patiently outside the hut.
Cambodian dog in Siem Reap
We enjoyed fried fish in a curry broth with water mimosa and green mango salad. Everything was served on communal platters.
Green mango salad with Siem Reap Food Tours in Cambodia
Fried fish with curry paste with Siem Reap Food Tours in Cambodia

Durian Time in Siem Reap!

Steven from Siem Reap Food Tours selecting a durian
Durian is one of those foods that is endlessly intriguing. It's supposed to taste sweet and delicious but comes at a cost. Durians often smell incredibly stinky. In fact, in many places we visited in Southeast Asia, we saw 'No Durian' signs in public places. The smell can really be a menace. Steven assured us that it's only over-ripe durians that are the problem. If you find one that's perfectly ripe, you get all the flavor and none of the stink.
Cutting a durian in Siem Reap Cambodia
Our tuk tuk rocked up to a mobile cart selling piles of durians. After careful inspection, Steven selected one and the lady working in the cart cut it up into pieces for us to eat at the night market. The durian was sweet and creamy but I didn't care for the texture which reminded me of a mushy banana. I'm glad I tried durian on our Siem Reap Food Tour but I probably won't go out of my way to eat it again.

Psa Plaew 60 (Siem Reap's Road 60 Night Market)

Fruit at the Psa Plaew 60 night market in Siem Reap Cambodia
We find night markets to be especially intimidating when we travel independently. They are typically really crowded and chaotic and it's never clear what the rules of engagement are. We really appreciated going to the Psa Plaew 60 Night Market with Siem Reap Food Tours. Steven guided us every step of the way. Steven ordered pork ribs, chicken legs and frogs stuffed with pork and spices from a local BBQ place at the night market. He instructed us to take off our shoes as we staked out a spot for an evening picnic on the platform behind the street food vendors. We were surrounded by Cambodians out for an evening of entertainment and shopping. 
BBQ at the Psa Plaew 60 night market in Siem Reap Cambodia
We picked out koey and lychees as a sweet treat to accompany our barbecue feast.
Koey fruit in Siem Reap Cambodia
The barbecue was served with sweet chili sauce and a salt and pepper lime rub. So good! We never would have managed to order this awesome meal on our own.
Barbecue pork, chicken, and frog at the Road 60 Night Market in Siem Reap Cambodia

Pa'hem: The Sweet Finale To Our Siem Reap Food Tour

Pa'hem (aka 'Sweet') dessert on our street food tour in Siem Reap Cambodia
We stopped for Pa'hem (aka dessert) which literally translates as 'sweet'. Our mound of crushed ice was filled with sticky rice, coconut milk custard and small cakes made from duck egg yolk, sugar and flour. It was especially entertaining to watch an older lady bantering with Steven in Cambodian. 

Did the Cambodian Street Food Agree With Us?

One question that I always ask when planning a street food tour but very rarely find an answer to is whether the food caused any issues for a sensitive western stomach. In this case, I'm happy to report that Steven took us to all the right places and there were no digestive repercussions from our visit to any of the food stalls. I ate pretty much everything put in front of me. I did go easy on the raw greens that accompanied the pig face but didn't abstain entirely. Siem Reap Food Tours has got your back in picking the right places to safely sample local street food in Cambodia.

Siem Reap Food Tours - Practicalities

Siem Reap Food Tours evening outing cost $75 USD per person at the time of writing and lasts about four hours. Make sure to wear plenty of DEET to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects since the tour is mostly outdoors after dark.

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Sidewalk Safari: Exploring the Street Food of Cambodia with Siem Reap Food Tours
Exploring the Street Food of Cambodia with Siem Reap Food Tours
Join us on a street food tour in Cambodia by tuk tuk with Siem Reap Food Tours. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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