Siem Reap was one of my favorite cities ever! Read below to find out more!
What I ate
Contact for reservation: Only open Monday through Friday
New Hope is a Planeterra non-profit that partners with G-Adventures – for more on G-Adventures and Planeterra, check out THIS blog post. What does New Hope do? New Hope is an organization that provides:
Food for over 250 impoverished families and 50 malnourished babies
Education to almost 800 students
Health care for 1000 sick Cambodians per month
Crisis and disaster relief
A volunteer program
And they have a FANTASTIC restaurant that helps train young adults interested in the hospitality industry, and each fixed meal is only $9 (still expensive for Cambodia, but not a bad cost for most tourists). They partner with the growing hospitality industry to provide full-time employment in the hotels, restaurants and resorts in the Siem Reap area. Not only will you enjoy a fantastic meal, you will help support trainees of the program, as well as over 1,000 student’s education and 1,000 free medical checkups through the New Hope Outreach program.
As a bonus, because they are used to the G Adventures tours they are capable of accommodating dietary requests. In fact, the entire fixed meal we had was naturally gluten free, and I got to try everything! Ok, so I skipped the deep fried crickets…which were in fact, gluten free. Our wonderful tour guide through G Adventures verified the meal would be gluten free ahead of time. No guarantees you would get that lucky, but they did understand the concept. You can find sample fixed menus on their website.
You don’t have to take my word for how great this place is, check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor!
Our Dinner at New Hope:
We were spoiled with:
Snacks of deep fried crickets, homemade chips and a type of nut
2 starters: deep fried fish cakes with sweet chili sauce and crispy Khmer noodle salad with chicken
2 main course dishes: sweet mixed vegetable soup with basil and fried pork ribs with pepper sauce
Desert: Green bean with coconut milk
I skipped the crickets – but I was the only one that did! (and...here is a picture of crickets)
#8A, B Phum Slokram Siem Reap, Cambodia Between Wat Polanka and Catholic Church
Marum is great restaurant that is a part of the NGO, Friends International. Friends International runs programs in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and Switzerland, so if you’re visiting any of these other countries, check out what they are doing there. In Cambodia they offer programs for social services, vocational training, and a program called the ChildSafe Movement. In Cambodia, children are often forced to work on the streets and are at a greater risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse (including the sex trade). They offer 7 tips for you as a traveler to help protect children (click on the link above).
Friends International has a restaurant training division, similar to New Hope, and this group of restaurants are called the TREE Restaurants:
“TREE is a global alliance of training restaurants offering its partners in the NGO world access to established high quality standards of practice in the field of social enterprise and extensive support in implementing those.
TREE restaurants are based upon a highly successful model of social business which provides not only positive beneficiary impact but also customer satisfaction and enhanced sustainability for the organization.
All profits from TREE restaurants are invested in the students who train there and the social programs which support them on their journey to becoming a skilled, productive and happy young person with a more secure future.
TREE - 100% for impact and sustainability”
These Friends International/TREE restaurants are in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Romdeng and Sihanoukville – and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have small shops with handmade products made by the parents of the children that are learning in these schools. The stores are called Friends ‘N’ Stuff, and a few of my favorite things that I bought on our trip were purchased in these stores!
Ok, so the actual food at Marum:
I ordered the Sandan’s Seafood Amok Steamed in Bamboo and served with jasmine rice – however – I was able to substitute it the seafood for chicken. This was my first taste of amok, a traditional Cambodian dish, and I crave it ALL. THE. TIME.
Jason got the Stir Fried Red Tree Ants with Beef, Lemongrass and Chili. Yes, that is right. Red Tree Ants. Apparently once you mix them in you can’t taste them… At least he didn’t get the silk worms – I might never have kissed him again!
See link for location
You can see the circus without dinner, but the whole experience was wonderful!
The show we attended included dinner beforehand, there is a set menu and I was able to safely eat the amok, after talking with the manager and being about 85% it was gluten free. So, I took a chance and felt fine, it was really good (take note, this is amok dish #2 for the day) – not sick of it yet!
To read more about the actual show, check out my post on What We Did In...Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Restaurants I researched
These are restaurants I wrote down, but didn't end up visiting (yes there are a lot - I mentioned I like researching ahead of time, right?)
6 Mondul 1 Svay Dangkum, Central Market, Siem Reap
From the site: “We offer gluten free cakes! We have 4 signature flavours: Uber rich Chocolate cake; Orange & Almond; White Chocolate & Macadamia; Lemon & Blueberry Cake.”
BUT, I have read things like it’s not often open, and that the cupcakes themselves aren’t all that great
Corner Street 9 & Street 11, Siem Reap
Recommendation quote: “In Siem Reap, there is a really, really good cafe near the main strip (across from the old market) called Central Cafe. They have a mexican tostada on a corn tortilla there, thats gluten free and delicious! I ate there often.”
Street 09, Krong, Siem Reap
Recommendation quote: “The local dishes prepared here are fantastic so it was Amok curry again for me (I love it) and sure enough it didn't disappoint. We also shared an 'adult milkshake' made from banana and rum which was to die for. Proceeds from the restaurant and the fashion boutique upstairs go towards The Global Child, an NGO that helps provide education to underprivileged children. A worthwhile stop on 2 counts.”
Green Star Restaurant
We did more than just eat! If you are interested in what we did while in Siem Reap, check out THIS post!