Khmer Comeback

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - / DINING / - BY

Phnom Penh’s trendiest new cafés and bolt-hole diners are serving up recipes in settings that pull colonial charm into modern-day style.

MERRITT GURLEY A LOCAL-CUISINE CRAZE IS RAGING in Phnom Penh. That Cambodian food is popular in Cambodia might not seem like news, but as more money flows into the capital, it is noteworthy that up-andcoming talent is embracing its heritage rather than looking abroad for inspiration. The most buzzy new eateries showcase Khmer and indigenous home cooking. “In the five years I have been here,” says Bernard Cohen of MAADS, a hospitality operation company, “they have gone from the tackiest food-andbeverage scene you can imagine to some of the coolest restaurants in the region.”

FROM TOP: Inside the Battambangstyle Labaab; oysters at Nesat Seafood House; outside the breezy Phka Slaa; soup with noodles at Chun Cheat Doeum.

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