With the sea framing the long coastline and expansive landscapes, Cambodia’s southwest Sihanoukville region has endless opportunities for culinary experiences.
Wherever you are, you’ll always find a market that’s a natural stop for getting a feel for the lifestyle. Wander through the bustling alleys and meet vendors displaying bins brimming with fresh tropical fruit and vegetables, freshly caught seafood and an array of local clothing and other products. The delicious Cambodian noum kong fritters are served hot from the fryer.
Spend a quiet afternoon in a Khmer beach restaurant. Enjoy small meat or seafood skewers with rice and a cold beer, and then take a nap in one of the hammocks available.
Astride the Preaek Tuek Chhu River, charming Kampot has become a popular hub for expats and digital nomads. This region has made its name from prized Kampot pepper — a mildly spicy, aromatic peppercorn that’s been awarded a coveted Protected Geographical Indication designation. Visit a plantation where you may see farmers watering plants by hand and hand-picking peppercorns at different stages — meaning green, black, white and red peppercorns are all sourced from the same plant.
Continue on to Kep, a quiet village that has since emerged as its own dynamic coastal retreat. Famous for its blue crabs, this coastal Cambodia city’s crab market is a must-experience stop along the way. Watch the fishermen bring freshly caught seafood straight from their boats to the market and join locals haggling over fresh crabs, shrimp, squid and other seafood. You can have this feast cooked right at the market — stir fried with green Kampot pepper and smothered in a savoury sauce — and pair it with a refreshing sugar cane juice.
The Southwest region is a delight for all your senses and an essential place for culinary explorers to experience firsthand.