UPDATED: October 2017
Here’s our Vegan guide to Battambang, Cambodia’s second largest city (after the capital Phnom Penh). Known for being an artistic hub and home to one of the “world’s most scenic rail journeys” (according to the Lonely Planet) on the aptly named ‘Bamboo Train’, Battambang also has some beautiful countryside to explore and some interesting sights to see. Lucky for vegan travellers, there is also excellent vegan food to be found.
There’s a sleepy vibe to the city which seems to have a pretty slow pace of life and plenty of places to drink a coffee and watch the world go by, read on for our updated Vegan Guide to Battambang.
NEW ENTRY: Kinyei Cafe
We stopped in here for a coffee after hearing that they do a vegan coconut milk latte made with high quality coffee beans. It was as good as we hoped and this laid back cafe is well worth stopping by at when you’re in town.
Opening Hours: Daily – 7am to 4pm
NEW ENTRY: Vegetarian Foods Restaurant
Simple, local, vegetarian food with multiple vegan options, you just need to remind them not to add egg or egg noddles and you should be fine.
Cheap and cheerful food that set us up for a long day exploring the local countryside.
Our favourite dish was the ‘bread curry’ but we also enjoyed the savoury bao and fresh soya milk with pandan. This is a great place to try vegan versions of local Cambodian food.
Vegetarian Foods Restaurant
La He St,
Opening Hours: Daily – 7am to 2pm
NEW ENTRY: Monorom Garden
We didn’t have time to eat here but popped in to look at the menu.
It offers similar food to ‘Vegetarian Foods Restaurant’ (which is just over the road) also with an all veg menu. For some people they may enjoy the ‘classier’ ambiance, better furniture and the fact that it’s fully air conditioned but for us we were more than happy over the road…
Might be worth checking out the buffet from 11-4 daily though.
Le He St,
Opening Hours: Daily – 7.30am to 8pm
NEW ENTRY: Coconut Ice Cream Food Cart
Wow, this was coconut ice cream on the next level.
Half a coconut shell with freshly prepared coconut flesh topped with 4 scoops of ice cream and chopped peanuts.
Make sure to say you don’t want condensed milk poured over the top as of course this isn’t vegan…
Coconut Ice Cream Food Cart
Junction of St 121 and Rd 2,
Opening Hours: Daily – 9am to 9pm
NEW ENTRY: Riverside Balcony Bar
Despite arriving during monsoon rains (we got VERY wet) we were made to feel immediately welcome at this cool bar just South of town, overlooking the river.
The friendly staff were helpful and happy to assist us with questions we had about their menu.
Whilst deciding what to order we enjoyed cold beers and green tea accompanied by a trio of dips with home made flat bread.
The star of the show was the pumpkin and chilli dip but they were all very tasty.
The vegan pizzas (we tried 2) were great and all included cashew cheese – in fact any pizza on the menu can have the ‘normal’ cheese swapped for vegan cashew cheese.
We also ordered the daily special gnocchi which was possibly the best we’ve ever tasted, packed with roasted veg, tossed in olive oil and perfectly seasoned the addition of crunchy breadcrumbs throughout the dish was the (perfect) final touch…..hats off to the chef!
This place is seriously good.
Riverside Balcony Bar
Opening Hours: Daily – 4pm to 11pm
NEW ENTRY: Ambrosia
Right in the middle of town with an extensive menu including lots of vegan options and a decent selection of fresh juices so we thought we should check it out.
The juices (we had 1 x lime, 1 x passion and 1 x carrot) were all very good and pretty cheap but don’t forget to order with no sugar unless you like very sweet juices.
We had a vegan curry, fried veg noodles with tofu and fried vegetable fried rice; all dishes were large and cheap but each lacked a little something.
Good luck to them though as it’s great to see somewhere with everything clearly marked and even an explanation that their vegan dishes are totally free from animal products including fish sauce and chicken powder.
112 Road 2,
Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday – 9am to 10pm
NEW ENTRY: Countryside Tour
Our good friends Tom and Amy at Seeking Skies spent a couple of days exploring the Battambang countryside with a tuk tuk driver and guide called Phi Lay and came back saying how great he was so we arranged a one day tour with him.
We spent all day visiting a number of local temples, the infamous killing caves and some local producers of rice paper and dried banana. Phi Lay was perfect company.
He acted as tour guide and friend whilst explaining the history of his country and his own experience growing up during some very troubled times.
He even took us back into town mid tour for lunch and loved trying vegan coconut ice cream with us 🙂
You won’t go far wrong if you let him show you around when you’re in Battambang, make sure to say hello from us and don’t forget to add your name to his guest book under the backseat of his tuk tuk!
+855 12 682 230
UPDATED ENTRY: Vegan Street Food
If you are taking a taxi from Siem Reap look out for the stretch of road where people are selling ‘krolan’ (sticky rice steamed in bamboo).
Inside these bamboo tubes is a concoction of sticky rice, black beans and fresh coconut which had been seasoned with both salt and sugar before being sealed off with a bit of banana leaf and roasted over hot coals.
Everything slowly cooks and gets a mildly smokey flavour which mixes with the sweetness of the sugar and coconut and is finished off with a hint of salt.
Central Market offers a decent selection of fresh fruit and don’t miss out on the tasty vegan desserts that we found on the street outside the market including pandqan rice cake and steamed coconut custard with mango.
UPDATED ENTRY: Jaan Bai
Jaan Bai restaurant is the social enterprise of the Cambodian Children’s Trust which provides skills and employment for youth in their programs and funnels profits back into their overall project which makes their fabulous work sustainable.
The restaurant has had some pretty hefty support from the likes of award winning chef David Thompson (of Nahm in Bangkok fame), it’s not a vegan restaurant but it has several clearly labelled dishes on the menu and some really great choices for us plant-eaters.
You can read more about Jaan Bai and why it’s a restaurant that we’d definitely travel to eat in again in our restaurant review section, but in short they serve these amazing ‘bao’ and some of the best tasting chips in South East Asia.
During our recent visit we tried our favourite mushroom bao and the amazing French fries again, also choosing some veg dumplings, sweetcorn fritters, vegan curry and a tofu Kampot pepper dish which were all very good.
Opening Hours: Daily – 11am to 10pm
UPDATED ENTRY: Jewel in the Lotus
Previously called Lotus Bar and Gallery and full of information about the local arts scene with vegan food on the menu we enjoyed visiting during our last trip. Jewel in the Lotus and can now has an all vegetarian menu which is great news to hear.
Jewel in the Lotus
53 Street 2.5,
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 8am to 5pm
UPDATED ENTRY: Bamboo Train
After many years of rumours, the famous Bamboo Train has now apparently closed for good but we heard new rumours of it relocating. This is Cambodia so who knows what will happen next, watch this space…
We have to say that the description of the journey on the Lonely Planet website was somewhat romanticised; it used the word’s ‘local’ and ‘scenic’ and lead us to expect that we might be sat amongst bags of rice and kindly faced farmers. Read is and you might even think you’ll be hitching a ride with the locals as the wind swooshes through your hair.
Trust us, none of the above applied.
Better descriptions might have included ‘bumpy’, ‘ not for the feint hearted’, ‘potential for a slipped disk’…
Here’s our timelapse video of our bumpy 20 minute ride on the original bamboo train, shown in 6 seconds so at least you get the idea if you’ve never had the pleasure! It was certainly an experience and if it ever opens again in a new location we’d recommend giving it a go.
UPDATED ENTRY: Battambang Resort
Battambang Resort is a great option if you are heading to Battambang, waking up to the below view from our lakeside room every day was one of the highlights of our stay.
The owners and staff team were all super friendly and full of tips about how best to spend your time whilst in town plus there’s a lovely pool to relax next to, the rooms are very well designed and they were more than happy to prepare vegan breakfast for us each day.
Battambang is great for a vegan travel adventure and we will be sure to return again soon…
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