This is the Number 1 Street Food Kep Guide! Kep is a quaint seaside town in Cambodia. Not as illustrious as Koh Rong, or Sihanoukville, but with some of the best street food in Cambodia. When you talk about street food kep, to is all about Kep Crab Market.
In fact the Street Food is so good here that people even come for day trips from Kampot just to eat at the market.
To read the Koh Rong Guide click here
To read the Kampot Guide click here
What’s the Kep vibe?
A small quiet seaside town. Most of the action occurs by the seafront. There’s great restaurants and bars, but the stand place to dine is at the Kep Crab Market. More on that baby later!
Realistically your first port of call will be Kep Beach. There’s a lot going on on Kep beach, but without it being overbearing. There are hawkers selling everything from fresh juices, sweet milk drinks, to seafood. The stand out dish is squid, which is fried and erased with chili sauce.
The hawkers are out day and night, with other offerings such as lort cha, and fried rice if you get bored of fish. How you could get bored of fish in Kep though is anyones guess.
Sadly Kep is far from a party town and if you leave things too late the hawkers have all gone home. Sadly this runs true for the few bars that are here too. City that never sleeps? Kep sleeps and it sleeps at 10 pm.
To read about Lort Cha click here
To read about Khmer fried rice click here .
Eating at Kep Crab Market
The market is located within 15 minutes walk of the wonderful Kep beach. Walking here affords you great views, nice restaurants to drop in for a drink and the icing on the cake? Some of the best street seafood in Cambodia.
The market itself is not exactly a metropolis and at initial glance looks like a regular market. They sell clothes, tourist crap, toys, but also seafood, a lot of seafood.
Probably about 50 percent of the market is hawkers selling seafood that can either be taken away, or better still eaten on the spot. Generally your fish is grilled Khmer style and served with spicy Khmer dipping sauce.
Street Food Kep – what can you buy at the market?
This is an Asian fish frenzy! Typical Khmer fish on a stick, shrimp of all sizes, crab (of course), as well squid an octopus.
I have spoken a lot about the squid an octopus of Cambodia. To me Cambodian squid is the best in the world. Kep is the best in Cambodia, so therefore the best of the best in my mind.
We went for the four pieces of Octopus and one BIG and I mean big squid. In total it came to $5. Check the picture – this was the real deal. We found a place to sit ordered some sugar-cane juice (another Khmer speciality) and got down to eating. The spicy sauce was spicier than your average Khmer sauce, but just went famously with the squid. As lunches go this was the bomb. The only problem? There was so much more we wanted to try! The Kep seafood odyssey was very much to continue.
To read about Cambodian Squid click here .
On round two went on an even bigger frenzy! I literally ordered everything I could see. This included deep fried small crabs, fish cakes and a whole bunch of other crap.
Really you can and will lose yourself in food heaven here, which is why I have put together the following list!
5 best foods to try at Kep Crab Market
It is hard to put a best food list together, as obviously it is very much horses for courses. But if you are just here for a few hours then this list will help you get the best foods available at Kep Market.
Here’s my must try 5 best foods of Kep Crab Market
5) Deep Fried Crab and dried shrimp (ក្ដាមបំពង)
Anyone that deep fries more than the Scots geta a big kudos from me. I’ve had deep fried most everything in Cambodia. I’ve had deep fried bugs, frog and a few other weird beirds. Today we had deep fried small crab. You eat it almost like a big crisp. Surprisingly good.
What relation does this have to dried shrimp? Both are cooked in a way that they are eaten whole almost like crisps. Also I remembered to eat the crab, but not photo it.
4) Khmer Fish Cakes (ប្រហិតត្រី)
Just because it looks like a cake does not make it a cake. Beautifully crafted fish and crab cakes. Rolled into big bread like pieces and the bomb. Very srhimp/crab tasting, but also wish a fishy twang. The secret here? Throw ins poem papaya salad to make a sexy fish based sandwich.
3) Squid! (មឺកអាំង)
Not your average Khmer squid, but big all scary bits, you know the kind with a big plastic scary shell. Again the Khmer really do not over cook things, which is a gem. Pepper being added makes these good. Kep pepper rather than Kampot pepper of course
2) Big bits of octopus! (មឺកដូងអាំង)
OK, so I have mentioned it before, but the kicker here is they are just grilled without being (Chinese style) overdone. You then just dip them into sweet Chili sauce
1) Shrimp (បង្កាស្រុះ)
OK be honest you were expecting crab? But I have one crab dish on here already, so have gone for shrimp. Cambodia is blessed with big shrimp, so when Khmer see “normal” shrimp they think its small. Hmmm I’m sure theres a parable in this one. Anyway 1kg of boiled shrimp $7.50. You then take your bag to the riverside and leisurely watch sunset whilst knocking back a KG of shrimp. What is not to like.
BONUS ROUND – Get on the Sugarcane juice (which is everywhere) to wash away the spices. It’s the only way to do things.
For a handy Guide to speaking Khmer click here.
Night time Street Food Kep
We were staying at Chan Vanna Guesthouse. I;ll give this its own write0up at some point, but 15 bucks and on the beach. Can’t say better than that. Rooms are nice and a good place to wait out the blistering heat.
At night we decided to just go walkabout. This led to a banging place with love music and a night market. Donkey excited this is an expo that was here for the week. Good street food though it had.
As said thing close early and when we got back to Kep beach it was a struggle to find some seafood fried rice, but we mangled it. They tend to see big plates for 10+ a pop, but if you talk to them nicely they will do smaller. In the end two nights got us through on seafood fried rice and seafood fried noodles.
Conclusion on the street food Kep scene
And that is the street food Kep and what top 5 things to eat at Kep Market. Kep is no party town, if you need a party go elsewhere. It is though home to some of the best street food in Cambodia. Lofty praise from the Street Food Guy, but very much deserved!