Since moving to Phnom Penh I feel like I’ve done a lot of eating. There are a lot of things that I love about living in Phnom Penh, but one of my favorite aspects of it is that there are so many amazing restaurants sprinkled around the city. And guess what…Phnom Penh has a surprising amount of vegetarian restaurants. As someone who has been a vegetarian for roughly 15 years, this is extremely exciting news!
I generally tend to be on the frugal side so I love that I’m able to fill up on quality food from anywhere from $1-5. Seriously eating out in Phnom Penh is not only delicious but it’s a steal!
Given the amount of
eating research I’ve done lately, I figured I might as well compile a mini-guide to some of the best (and cheapest) vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good food post?
Disclaimer: I realize a lot of people, especially vegetarians, don’t like mock meat. I’m not one of those people. I love it! Just a warning that there is a lot of mock meat in this post. I probably should have called it A Mock Meat Lover’s Guide to Phnom Penh…
The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Phnom Penh…
Location: Street 294
After doing an absurd amount of research on where to find bagels in Phnom Penh, I finally found Vego Salad Bar. Yes, this is one of the few places to get New York-style bagels in the city, but they also serve up some really good salads, sandwiches and juices.
Aside from their bagels (surprisingly good by the way) I’ve tried the Sicily sandwich, which has roasted eggplant, bell pepper, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on focaccia bread. I’ve also sampled the Cambridge, an egg salad sandwich with roasted peppers on homemade bread.
The sandwiches are a tad pricey at $4-6, but they are worth the splurge. Aside from a great selection of sandwiches they also have a fully stocked salad bar and a few curry, noodle and rice dishes.
FYI: This restaurant isn’t strictly vegetarian. They do serve things like tom yum soup with prawn and tuna sandwiches, so pescatarians will also be satisfied.
Location: Street 51
This super local, pure-vegetarian place is by far my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Phnom Penh. I love it because the food is tasty and it’s really cheap! Vegetarian 1000 is a no-frills, buffet-style restaurant that serves up great Cambodian food. And strict vegetarians can rest assured that there will be no fish sauce lurking in your meal!
There isn’t any English spoken here but it’s easy enough to just point to the dishes you want and they will serve you. Keep in mind that their hours are a bit odd. They are open from 6:30-9:30am, 10-2pm and open again for dinner at 5pm. Their food selection changes on a daily basis. So far my favorite items have been the papaya salad, the sweet tofu and the vegetable soup.
They typically have a few mock meat dishes and the breaded chicken cutlets are especially good. But if you’re not a fan of fake meat, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Dishes cost either 1000 or 2000 riel ($.25-.50). They also have complimentary iced tea.
I already wrote about this place in a previous post, but it’s worth mentioning again because, in my humble opinion, it’s one of the best restaurants in Phnom Penh. It’s not pure vegetarian, but the great thing about Mediterranean food is that it’s generally really veg friendly.
This authentic Lebanese restaurant has a wide selection of dishes from kebabs to wraps to salads. I’ve been there multiple times and have yet to order anything besides the falafel wrap and a side of baba ghanoush because both are so good! An added bonus is that the portions are huge. I can only ever eat half a wrap in a sitting, so for $3.50 I think it’s a total bargain.
Location: Street 130
As a vegetarian, I really don’t know what I would do without Happy Cow. Thanks to that site I was able to find this little hole in the wall during my second day in Phnom Penh. It quickly became one of my go-to places to grab a cheap, quick and tasty meal. It is always filled with local families sharing hot pots…always a good sign if you ask me.
They offer an array of noodle dishes and soups that cost around $2. There are tons of vegetarian dishes, like mushroom dumplings, mock pork with rice, and lemongrass noodles.
I’ve tried a few things on the menu and my favorites so far are the “chicken” nuggets and the dumpling soup (see above). The dumpling soup is loaded with noodles, veggies, a few types of mock meat (yay!) and some seriously amazing dumplings. It is so good and only costs $2.
Location: Street 136
I was walking down the street one day and just happened to stumble upon this place. I wasn’t all that hungry but for the sake of research I just had to try it. They have an extensive menu which made it really tough to decide what to order. There was a great mix of local Cambodian dishes and Vietnamese fare. The waiter actually offered a few suggestions so I ordered some fried taro dumplings and a tofu dish.
The “tofu” dish actually ended up being some sort of combination of steamed veggies and mushrooms and had some of the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth faux beef I’ve ever tasted. And it was all placed on a fluffy omelet. It was unlike anything I’ve tried in Phnom Penh but it was amazing. The dishes are reasonably priced at $2-5. I will definitely be back to try their hot pots, phở and bún bò huế (one of my all-time favorite Vietnamese soups). Also their Vietnamese coffee is excellent.
Location: On Street Samdach Preah Theamak Lethet Ouk (near the corner of Street 19)
Surn Yi Mei Shi Guan is another pure-vegetarian hole in the wall near the riverfront. I’m not going to lie: it isn’t my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Phnom Penh but they do have some decent food for really cheap. While it is a Cambodian restaurant, they have an enormous menu and a lot of variety.
I read great things about their burgers, so that’s exactly what I ordered. And for a little over $2 how could I resist?
Again, it’s not the most gourmet burger in town, not by a long shot. But they have what seems like 1000 combinations of veggie burgers. You can basically choose from a normal veggie burger or any combination of mock meat you want…ham, chicken, steak, you name it.
I think I ordered the “chicken” burger. It was really more like a mystery meat burger topped with a fried egg and slathered with a special sauce. Admittedly I feel like I should have been either drunk or hungover to consume it but it was kind of good, even in my sober state. Also the faux chicken drumsticks are killer!
Rest assured there will be plenty of Cambodia food posts (veg and non-veg) in the future. But that’s it for now!
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For anyone who’s interested, Never Ending Voyage wrote a wonderful post about vegetarian food in Cambodia called Vegetarian Survival Guide to Cambodia. I highly recommend reading it if you’re a vegetarian traveling in Cambodia!
Do you ever eat vegetarian food when you travel? And more importantly, are you a mock meat lover like me?