I have written about the best street food in Siem Reap, namely down by the river, but holy woozier, whilst the riverside is a nice change from pub street, if you wanna get your weird food local food jollies, you gotta get to 60 meter street!
To get here you will either need a car, or about $5 you’re ready to give a tuk-tuk driver, from where you will find a place on the fringes of Siem Reap full of locals having a great time, but with scant foreigners here.
What food do they have on 60 meter street?
They have everything from Khmer BBQ, to brain soups, chicken egg deserts and bugs, lots and lots of bugs!!!
The layout of 60 Meter Street
60 meter street is essentially set into three parallel streets which aside from food have markets selling the latest crap from China and many covered areas fro Khmer to sit eat, drink and party. It looks very basic here, but from the quality of the cars you find it is obviously very popular with a broad cross section of Khmer people.
Thankfully we had the legendary Food Explorer tuk-tuk so traversing the area was to prove quite easy!
Phase 1 River Fish!
We started with the 6 river fish that are cooked on piece of wood and served whole. You then dip it into the spicy fish sauce. They call it boneless, but in real terms it has tiny bones in it and you also eat the head. Glad I tried it, but won’t necessarily be eating it again……
Chicken intestines and a qual egg…..
Not totally feeling the love from the fish I decided to do some street meat, which gave the choice of the asshole of a chicken, or intestines of a chicken with a qual egg….
I’m a fan of offal, but this is a pretty intense piece of meat, although the egg at the end was at least enough to wash the taste away..
We jumped in the vehicle and headed further down the road where there was a little bit more variety to original BBQ dish that we had tried.
Banh xeo/banh chao
This is a street food sensation that I have previously eaten in Vietnam, where it is called banh xeo, or in Cambodia banh chao. This is a soft yellow crispy on the outside pancake that is stuffed with onion and pork.
What you then do is rip it apart, pick up the meat with it, and in Cambodia anyway you then restful the whole thing into a leaf picked from the jungle! The vietnamese certainly claim banh xeo as their own, but banh chao certainly takes its own unquiet fly on things.
After savory comes the sweet and we went for some coconut custard cake, or as they call it locally nom krok.
Nom Krok apparently originated in Thailand as Khanom Khrok, but basically you combine rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar to make a fabulous dough. Its then cooked into circular shapes in front of your eyes, but you much them down. Starchy, sweet, a tiny hint of saltiness and very filling……
Brain and mushroom soup in Siem Reap
Now i’m gonna be completely honest here, I tried brain in Albania 10 years ago and I am still having nightmares about it, but two of the team decided to give it a go, one with Chinese mushrooms, the other with Khmer mushrooms. We decided to trick a third guy into eating it, but overall people largely approved of the dish!
It did though as expected, literally look like brain. I have issues with that.
I personally went for Khmer fresh oysters, which of course I have tried before, but when combined withe cilantro, fried onions and Khmer sauce were amazing as always.
To read about Khmer fresh oysters click here.
We followed it with a small dish, the name of which I shall find later that consisted of small congealed shrimp tasting rectangle cooked within a banana leaf. It almost tastes like a version of a crab stick, and whilst it might seem similar to fish amok, it is quite different.
Now obviously I have written a lot about balut, I am less a fan of Khmer balut, which they call mamatong as it does not come with the vinegar and salt of the Philippines, but in the interests of keeping my team happy I ate one for them.
Bug street in Siem Reap!
I have previously tried bugs in Cambodia and indeed have written about them before, but this is ground zero and the place where all the weird food I have tried had originated from. If you want weird food go to 60 meter street.
We found one particular lady who was selling roaches, grasshoppers, beetles, deep fried frogs and other bugs. Having got my bug badges I decoded to sit it out as Peter of Food Explorer ate 5 in one go, duly chased with a can of “American Cola”. We will later be trying to cook some of these bugs, but more on that one later…..
Cambodian deserts at 60 Meter Street
We finished at the desert section and man I have to say that whilst Khmer desert are definitely loved locally my word are they strange!
Another one i’m still working on getting the name for, but the main highlight was a pumpkin cake mixed with a duck egg. I had never thought of a duck egg being able to be a part of desert package, but all the flavors mixed pretty well. The rest of the stuff was all glutinous sweets loved in Asia, but alas not by me.
Our last culinary delight came when we saw a really old lady making hard pancakes with a piece of metal and a fire. Crispy, nice and indeed rather interesting!
Overall I was blown away by this street, its far from town and not the end of place anyone would ever accidentally rock up to, but 60 meter street is the real deal for great cuisine, weird as you like street food and probably the best truly Khmer experience in Siem Reap!