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Siem Reap Vegan Guide: A Plant-Based Gem in Cambodia

Jul 31, 2020 | Asia, Travel Tips, Vegan Travel | 0 comments

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In Siem Reap, vegan restaurants can be found on every corner, tucked on side streets, within night markets, and in places you may not have expected. Simply put, they’re everywhere.

Which is exactly why I ended up staying in Siem Reap a full 5 days longer than I originally scheduled. I don’t regret that for a second. It was one of my better choices.

Aside from its well-deserved nickname, “The Pearl of Cambodia,” I have anointed Siem Reap yet another: A Plant-Based Gem in Cambodia.

Once you try any of the restaurants highlighted in this article, you’ll see why!

1 // Footprint Café

Like most things since the rise of Instagram, it all started with a DM.

A friend I met in the Peace Corps messaged me after I posted a few stories tagged in Siem Reap–he’d been there before–to let me know about Footprint.

I’d seen it on HappyCow, but it wasn’t at the top of my list since it’s veg-friendly and not full-on vegan. But, I’m glad I got the tip to try this adorable café. It surpassed my expectations, which were high in the first place!

After all, the HappyCow listings for Siem Reap vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly places is quasi-overwhelming.

Aside from their delicious vegan pesto, plant-based lattes, veggie burger, and pancakes, I loved supporting this restaurant for its social impact in its local community. As a social business, Footprint donates all its profits to local educational and entrepreneurial endeavors. You can learn more about their impact and business model here.

It also doubles as a digital nomad haven, with plenty of space to work inside, upstairs, and outside if you so choose. (If you do go outside, though, make sure you have some type of insect repellent with you! The mosquitoes in Siem Reap are brutal.)

Out of my Siem Reap vegan forays, Footprint Café is the only one I returned to despite having a plethora of options.

Make this spot a go-to on your own adventure in the Siem Reap vegan scene!

vegan pesto pasta with green olives from Footprint Café

2 // Mahob Buos

It took me almost 7 days before I made the longer trek to visit this Siem Reap vegan restaurant, NGO, yoga center, and all-around oasis. Sure, it’s a little far from the city center. But, the walk is so worth it. Or, you could hop in a Grab tuk tuk and save the sweat.

Once you arrive and before you step past the threshold, you’ll remove your shoes. If you’re anything like me, instant relaxation ensues. Ahh.

The friendly workers will guide you to the restaurant area, which is outdoor seating with an unparalleled view of their garden oasis.

Out of their extensive menu, I chose a three-course meal that was all traditional Khmer cuisine. The first course was a delicious soup, the main an amok served in a banana leaf, and fruit for dessert. It was my favorite meal from the entire time I was in Siem Reap.

From the ambiance, to the social impact, to the delicious food, Mahob Buos has it all. You owe it to yourself to make the trip out there and enjoy a delectable meal, basking in nature.

You can find their location on Google Maps here.

Cambodian traditional vegan amok in a banana leaf from Mahob Buos, Siem Reap, Cambodia

3 // Gelato Lab

Next on my list of must-try Siem Reap vegan spots is a shop offering the most important meal of the day. (Well, to my sweet tooth, at least).

Yep. You guessed it. Dessert!

Gelato Lab is a super cute, small gelato shop tucked in a side street off the infamous Pub Street.

Their staff is friendly, their gelato delicious, and the atmosphere will have you wanting to stick around and savor.

I went with their vegan dark chocolate flavor that is so velvety you could melt. When it tastes that good, I only need one vegan flavor to satisfy me!

Vegan dark chocolate gelato from Gelato Lab in Siem Reap, Cambodia

4 // Kang Le Restaurant

On my first full day in Siem Reap, this is the vegetarian restaurant I found on HappyCow and decided to try out. It’s an open-air establishment with a large menu of rice and noodle dishes, all for a great price!

I got a wonton soup with veggies, mock meat, noodles, and a mouthwatering broth.

Just as a warning, this one is hard to find. I’ve attached photo of how the entrance looks below to help you out!

Despite the wild goose chase to figure out where exactly this place was, I’m still glad I went and that it was my first taste of the Siem Reap vegan scene. Yum.

Vegan wonton noodle soup from Kang Le Restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Entry sign to Kang Le Restaurant

5 // La Pasta

One of the most difficult aspects of traveling can be a lack of access to a plethora of cuisines. Sure, local food is amazing and everyone should try it while they can still get the freshest dishes in their lands of origin. But, it can get a tad monotonous.

Siem Reap vegan restaurants are an exception to that wider rule. Not only are there vegan Khmer options galore that are delectable, but there are also vegan options from outside cultures.

La Pasta was a welcome surprise near Pub Street, with a vegan lasagna that included a true tomato sauce!

The owner came by to ask about my meal, and every interaction I had with his staff was wonderful.

Sure, La Pasta is a little on the expensive side for Cambodia’s price point, but it was fully worth it. Highly recommend!

Vegan lasagna from La Pasta in Siem Reap, Cambodia

6 // Tevy’s Place

For a Siem Reap vegan dish that is wholly traditional and reminiscent of Southeast Asian street food, head to Tevy’s Place. Tevy is a local Khmer restaurant owner with an extensive menu of rice and noodle dishes. A group of local ladies makes the food right in front of guests, in a tiny open-air kitchen area.

The aromas are positively intoxicating–spice competing with tamarind for the dominant spot in your scents.

I ordered a noodle dish with veggies and no egg, which was simple, but delicious and for an unbeatable price of $2.

Once you order your food, read Tevy’s story of survival and loss. She’s a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, a dictatorial regime that committed genocide against the Cambodian population in the 1970s. She also shares Khmer cultural quick tips to enhance your visit in her country, a culture she loves to share with her guests.

7 // Green-Go Garden

Similar to La Pasta and Footprint, Green-Go Garden offers a wide variety of dishes that are healthy and refreshing. Its atmosphere is second only in the Siem Reap vegan lineup to Mahob Buos, as guests remove their shoes at the entrance and sit on pillows on the floor. It’s irresistibly cozy.

Green-Go Garden was probably the hardest place for me to choose what I should try from the menu. There were too many interesting, eclectic dishes I couldn’t get anywhere else.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I went with their pumpkin ravioli. (I know, right? Who makes pumpkin ravioli?)

Well, it is now one of my favorite dishes I’ve had while traveling. Creamy, pumpkin-y, flavorful. This dish is a winner!

Vegan pumpkin ravioli from Green-Go Garden in Siem Reap, Cambodia

8 // New Leaf Eatery

Ah, we’ve arrived a the first brunch mention on our Siem Reap vegan e-tour. Despite being American, some of my favorite breakfasts of all time are veganized English, Scottish, and Irish breakfasts (not necessarily in that order).

At New Leaf Eatery, you’ll find the Big Vegan Fry-up, a vegan brunch dish that is essentially their take on a full English breakfast. Complete with tofu scramble, potatoes, baked beans, tomatoes, it’s also infused with a local palate.

Everything on your plate is locally-sourced, a testament to this being the freshness of the food and its energizing effect once you’ve enjoyed it. They even have a cute map of Cambodia on their website referencing the eastern region where their coffee is sourced.

And, like Footprint, New Leaf operates as a social venture. They’re active in their community, and I’m more than happy for my tourist dollars to go to businesses like theirs.

Vegan full breakfast with toast, beans, tofu scramble, tomatoes, etc. from New Leaf Eatery

9 // Elia Greek Kitchen

Elia Greek Kitchen is a tastefully-decorated small restaurant with a constant wait list — a testament to its family-like staff, refreshing lemonade, and delicious dishes.

Elia is not fully vegan, but does offer a falafel wrap with french fries. I opted for a lemonade to drink, and that really surpassed my expectations. Seriously, I don’t know what they do to that lemonade, but it was one of the best glasses I’ve ever had.

To all my fellow tight-wads: Cough up the cash to pay for a drink (gasp!) because Elia’s lemonade is well worth the cost.

Unless you reserve in advance, you’ll likely wait for a table. Elia’s atmosphere is so lively, a reminder of their Greek roots. You also have the option to enjoy the walking area and nearby night market.

Sure, the plant-based options on the menu are few, but this spot is well deserving of its place in your Siem Reap vegan experience.

Vegan falafel wrap with french fries and lemonade from Elia Greek Kitchen in Siem Reap, Cambodia

10 // Banlle Vegetarian

If you’re anything like me, then HGTV used to bore you to pieces (and still does, just a tad) but you’ve grown to appreciate interior design decisions and their effects.

Banlle Vegetarian is one of those restaurants that clearly knows what they’re doing when it comes to atmosphere. Once you walk in, it feels chic, expensive, and monochrome. But, the price point, while on the higher side for Cambodia, is surprisingly affordable relative to how expensive the experience feels it should be.

I ordered a traditional amok, and it was the first I had. A dish with rich, flavorful spices, vegetables, and rice, amok is a nutritious meal that will challenge your taste buds and leaves you satisfied for longer than expected for a plant dish.

Bottom line: Banlle Vegetarian is a Siem Reap vegan restaurant that delivers an upscale dining experience for a price you won’t find elsewhere. You owe it to yourself to have a meal there!

Cambodian traditional vegan amok from Banlle Vegetarian in Siem Reap, Cambodia

• • •

Now that we’ve arrived to the end of our Siem Reap vegan virtual DIY food tour, here are a few tips I’ll leave you with:

  1. When eating anywhere in Siem Reap, just make sure you have enough cash. There’s a slim chance they’ll take credit cards. I even had to run to the ATM once to pay my bill.
  2. Depending on the place and how busy they are, your wait may be longer. This is a good thing; that means your food’s being cooked fresh!
  3. As a result of #2, don’t rush to get through a meal. From getting to the restaurant, choosing what you want, ordering, waiting, eating (and hopefully relaxing), paying your bill, and then getting to your next destination in the city will take about 2 hours. Just relax and enjoy the journey.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Siem Reap vegan guide as much as I’ve loved writing it. Come back to this post when you visit and have your own in-person Siem Reap vegan food tour!

Bye for now, and I’ll see you next time!

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Cambodian traditional vegan amok with text overlay "10 Vegan Restaurants Everyone Should Try in Siem Reap"

Hi, I’m Sarah

Welcome to my oasis! I am a writer and budding entrepreneur with a love for caffeine, capital gains, and seeing the world. If I’m not writing, you can find me reading a good book, trying out a new vegan recipe, or adding to my coffee mug collection. My goal in life? To see every country in the world. Come along for the ride!

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