3 chefs in Siem Reap creating delicious vegan food
3 chefs in Siem Reap creating delicious vegan food
Updated August 2021:
Only JOMNO from the below list is currently open, both HOK and Banlle have had to close their doors due to the impact from COVID. There are still no tourists in town and it’s tough to survive without them. It’s sad to see two of our favourite restaurants temporarily close, but this brand new post shows there is still plenty of vegan food in Siem Reap for you to enjoy.
From accidentally vegan street food in the local markets to multi course vegan fine dining in award winning restaurants and luxury hotels there really is something for everyone in Siem Reap. Sadly, COVID has seen every one of the exclusive vegan restaurants in town close, but luckily for us plant based food lovers, Siem Reap still has plenty to offer. With so many options it’s impossible to choose our favourites but we’ve created a short film, our own sequel to ‘Stay for Siem Reap’ which was the work of Phare Circus and Grasshopper Adventures to encourage visitors to ‘stay for longer’ and not just visit Angkor Wat and then leave town…
Our film highlights 3 chefs in Siem Reap creating delicious vegan food that will certainly put a smile on your face as it does ours. We hope you enjoy the film and we would love if it inspires you to visit one day, or if you’re in Cambodia right now, head over and check out these 3 creative chefs and their excellent restaurants. This video was the least we could do to support these vegan friendly chefs who continue to create and innovate with their mouth watering, plant based dishes!
Chef Chantrea is the Executive Chef at HOK Noodle Bar which is the flagship restaurant at Treeline Urban Resort. Having been lucky enough to be involved with him and his amazing team from the beginning, as they created plant based dishes and menus for the hotel and restaurant, we can confidently say, this is now one of the most vegan friendly luxury hotels or resorts in the region. Our film shows dishes including ‘Bangers & Hash’ from the vegan breakfast menu, which we seriously cannot get enough of, and the delightful ‘Nom Krok’. You can find Nom Krok all over the region (they are called Khanom Krok in Thailand) but you will struggle to find, such a refined version of this Southeast Asian street food staple. Here you can read our review of Treeline Urban Resort.
Chef Pola is the owner of Banlle which is an all veggie restaurant serving vegan versions of local favourites, and also dishes including his take on vegan ‘fish’ and chips using locally grown banana flower. The restaurant is in a converted Khmer wooden house and set within it’s very own organic vegetable garden which is a huge passion for Chef Pola. Whilst chatting with Chef Pola during filming at Banlle, he said “vegetables offer endless opportunities for cooking and creating“ which we loved from a chef who has grown up in a country that traditionally sees vegetables as a side dish or addition. He even undertakes his very own vegan outreach. Just a couple of weeks ago he had a restaurant full of local teenagers enjoying his food, whilst he spoke to them about just how exciting, healthy and beneficial a plant based diet can be. They loved his food which is no surprise, and were full of questions which certainly bodes well for the future. Dishes featured in our film include his mushroom lok lak, which is every bit as flavour packed as the Khmer classic meat centric version according to our Khmer friends. Also a healthy and nutritious bowl of ‘nom banh chok’ which is rice noodles and mixed vegetables in a curry soup, topped with herbs and edible flowers from the garden.
Chef Seiha is the owner of Jomno where diners can choose from a variety of vegan dishes that are thoughtfully created and beautiful plated. He continues to add to, and amend the plant based items on his menu in an effort to serve delicious vegan food to his customers. In our opinion, Chef Seiha is succeeding on many levels, we love his street food styled eatery in the shadows of Wat Damnak and support him however we can. You can see his innovative take on a sausage roll in our film, which is delicately diced and seasoned vegetables, wrapped in a green leaf, to replace the pastry. The film also features his taro cakes with tofu cubes in a light curry sauce which tastes divine and watermelon ‘tuna’ steaks with lentils, a favourite of ours for sure!
Travelling in a New Vegan World
This video and blog post was inspired by our involvement with a group of vegan travel agents and bloggers, who we worked with during Veganuary 2021 to deliver a series of vegan travel webinars. Check out Travelling in a New Vegan World on Facebook where you can read a little about what we created and also view the individual webinars for different locations and subjects. The project was created by our friend, Donna at Green Earth Travel who is a vegan travel agent with an excellent reputation. The Asia & Luxury webinar that we were part of can be viewed below and we would like to take this chance to thank Zac from Veg Voyages and Brighde from World Vegan Travel who were our excellent co-hosts. Check out their websites, as they both organise some very exciting vegan travel adventures to a wide range of destinations.
Special thanks to Zindagi for his filming skills and Big Bud for his timeless music as featured in our film.
We love Siem Reap
So what were the best things about making this film a couple of weeks ago? Getting to spend time with our favourite chefs in Siem Reap and eating all of the amazing dishes that were created for the filming, we couldn’t let them go to waste could we?! We love what these 3 chefs are creating right now and feel blessed to live in Siem Reap, Cambodia so we can enjoy their food. There are also many more vegan options in Siem Reap, and next up for us is to update our Vegan Guide to Siem Reap which is horribly out of date due to all of the COVID related closures. Luckily there are some new vegan spots in Temple Town too, so watch this space for an update coming soon…
Check out our other Cambodia vegan travel blog posts