Cover Photo - Vegan Street Food

The Ultimate Vegan Street Food Guide to Siem Reap (2019)

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! The much awaited post that so many of you had asked after watching my Instagram stories is finally here! Ah! I cannot even begin to describe my excitement to write this post because Oh Boy, food is an extremely important aspect of my travel. I travel to eat, learn and soak in the culture of the place to get a more holistic local experience. And what better way to live like a local than to try the local dishes of the country that I am traveling? Food is the heart of every culture and its people and it is something you should never miss upon while you’re traveling.

This post is your ultimate vegan street food guide to Siem Reap and I hope you like it. I have hunted for every vegan dish that I could possibly find, even gotten a few of them customised and found so many accidentally vegan dishes widely eaten by the locals of Cambodia, that I decided to come back and write an extensive post solely dedicated to this subject. So, allow me to take you on a Cambodian culinary journey as I travel back in time myself and savour the taste of all the delicious dishes that I once had, again. Slurp!

First things first, the signature dish of Cambodia is called ‘Amok’ and you can find it at many dine-in restaurants. Read my post here to know where to get the best vegan Amok in Cambodia. I haven’t included it in this post because it is not street food but nonetheless, I recommend you to give it a try!

Vegan 'Amok', a Signature Cambodian Delicacy, Served at Mahob Buos
Vegan ‘Amok’, a Signature Cambodian Delicacy, Served at Mahob Buos

1. Grilled Sticky Rice with Banana

Now, this is the first vegan street food dish that I had had when I landed in Cambodia. I don’t know the local name for this dish but you will pretty much find it everywhere in Siem Reap. It is a sweet dish made from chewy sticky rice on the outside, stuffed with gooey bananas on the inside, wrapped in a banana leaf and slowly grilled on coal fire. Yum! The minute you start chewing it, the soft, sticky rice melts in your mouth paving way for the crushed bananas to slowly make their way into your taste buds.

Where to Find: Almost anywhere on the streets of Siem Reap.
Cost: 17 INR (0.25 USD)

Sticky Rice with Banana
Sticky Rice with Banana

2. Rice Flour and Pandan Layer Cakes

Although this dish looks extremely appetizing, I have mixed feelings about the taste. Made from sweetened layers of rice flour and coconut milk, these pudding like cakes simply melt in your mouth! However, the green layers that you see in the cakes are made from Pandan leaves, a popular plant used in South Asian and South-East Asian countries. The Pandan leaves have a grassy flavor and I didn’t like it. Nonetheless, you should give it a try just for experience sake, and for all you know, you might even like it.

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: 34 INR (0.5 USD)

Rice Flour Cakes with Pandan
Rice Flour and Pandan Layer Cakes

3. Fried Chive Cakes

Ah! This is by far the bessssttttt vegan savory dish that I have had in Siem Reap. My mouth waters even today, if I remember the taste and texture of these little fried treats. Made from rice flour on the outside and stuffed with chives on the inside, these cakes are deep fried in oil until they are crispy and golden-brown. Put them in your mouth, and you can feel the crispy rice flour on the outside slowly transcend into the chewy rice flour on the inside, with tasty chives here and there, all ready to take you into an abode of foodie love!

Where to Find: Right Outside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: 68 INR (1 USD)

Vegan Tip: These cakes are often served with sweet chilly sauce, fish sauce and soya sauce. Make sure you tell them not to add the fish sauce and serve only with the sweet chilly sauce.

Chive Cakes
Fried Chive Cakes

4. Fruit Shakes

In Siem Reap, you will find plenty of stalls selling tropical fruit shakes, among which the Dragon Fruit shake is my favorite. Head to any of these stalls and order a tall glass of your favorite shake and you’re good to go for the next two hours without any food, it is that filling!

Where to Find: Anywhere on the streets of Siem Reap
Cost: 68 INR (1 USD)

Vegan Tip: These shakes are usually made with condensed milk and cream. Make sure you tell them not to add these and instead opt for sugar and ice.

Dragon Fruit Shake
Dragon Fruit Shake

5. Rice Dumplings with Palm Candy and Coconut

I still remember popping these palm sugar treats in my mouth as I watched a daring street performance at the Art Center Night Market. One cup wasn’t enough so I sat down next to the lady who was selling these and ordered one more. Soon, we started talking to each other through gestures, smiles and emotions with her gently stroking my hands and complimenting my skin. These palm sugar treats must have been sent to the Earth by the Gods through this Goddess, I thought, as I popped them one by one, them melting in my mouth before culminating in a sweet explosion. Made from rice flour on the outside and stuffed with palm sugar candy on the inside, steamed to perfection and served with grated coconut on top, these dumplings are truly magical and I assume were definitely consumed by the Gods.

Where to Find: Entrance of the Art Center Night Market
Cost: 34 INR (0.5 USD)

Rice Dumplings with Palm Candy and Coconut
Rice Dumplings with Palm Candy and Coconut

6. Sour Yellow Coconut Cake

When you enter the Old Market inside the Siem Reap Night Market, head to any of the stalls selling desserts and you will find these cute little yellow coconut cakes wrapped in banana leaves with coconut grated on top. These cakes are sweet and sour in taste and a perfect mini meal for your hunger pangs. I bought 4 of them and packed them for my travel to Laos and as you can see in the second picture below, I relished this Cambodian delicacy by the serene Mekong river in Laos.

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: 90 INR for 4 (1.25 USD)

Sour Yellow Cake with Coconut
Sour Yellow Coconut Cake
Relishing the Sour Cake by the Mekong River, Laos
Relishing the Sour Cake by the Mekong River in Laos

7. Puffed Rice Crisps

I came up with this name on my own but this sweet dish that you see below is made from puffed rice and is glued together with palm sugar syrup. It is a light munching snack that doesn’t get spoiled easily and can be carried for short trips. I still remember handing this over to a bunch of doctors from Poland with whom I had shared a taxi in Laos, and them going gaga over it! Well, for me it was nothing great because we make similar puffed rice crisps called ‘Sandige’ (in Kannada), back at home. Nonetheless, it sure is a tasty snack to beat them hunger pangs!

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: 90 INR (1.25 USD)

Puffed Rice Cracks
Puffed Rice Crisps

8. Rice Noodles with Palm Sugar

By now you would’ve realised that rice, coconut milk and palm sugar are commonly used in most of the delicacies in Cambodia. I still remember that sultry afternoon, when I desperately walked into the Old Market to find something vegan to drink. I came across this lady in the picture below selling green colored noodles with some pale yellow colored liquid. I was quite apprehensive to try it because I didn’t know if it was vegan and we didn’t speak the same language. After annoying her a bit, checking the source of the pale yellow liquid and smiling here and there just so that she doesn’t shoo me away, I finally came to know that it was vegan! And boom, I ordered a glass of the green colored rice noodles along with lots of palm sugar syrup and drank away the scorching heat. I will never forget this drink because it was so delicious! And I also discovered my second love – palm sugar.

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: 68 INR (1 USD)

If You See Her, Just Go
If You See Her, Just Go to Her!
Rice Noodles with Palm Sugar
Rice Noodles with Palm Sugar

9. Palm Fruit with Palm Sugar

In India, you would’ve most likely eaten Palm Fruit (called ‘Thatling’ in Kannada) during the summers. Well, mix the fruit with some palm sugar syrup and you will instantaneously take a small trip to heaven and come back. I found these little pouches of bliss at the Night Market and I had to bring one back to my hostel. And Oh! My God, the taste was fabulous. I had to suck out the palm sugar syrup and simultaneously chew the tender palm fruit which together made such a rewarding combination. That night, I found myself sleeping with a smile on my face – “Oh! Palm sugar”, I thought to myself as I dreamt about it.

Where to Find: Entrance of the Pub Street at the Siem Reap Night Market
Cost: 68 INR (1 USD)

Palm Fruit with Palm Sugar
Palm Fruit with Palm Sugar

10. Steamed Rice and Coconut Cakes

To be honest, I didn’t really get a chance to try these because I was full but nonetheless I was told that they’re a 100% vegan. These are steamed rice and coconut cakes wrapped in banana leaves and served as a takeaway. If you get a chance to try this, do let me know how they taste!

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: NA

Rice and Coconut Cakes
Rice and Coconut Cakes

11. Tropical Fruits

Heck! If you don’t find anything vegan, which is a 0% possibility, head to them age-old markets and grab some delicious tropical fruits mate! Dragon fruits, passion fruits, mangoes, apples, watermelons, palm fruits – you name them, and they have it all – perhaps even the freshest.

Where to Find: Inside the Old Market of the Siem Reap Night Market (Take the second left after entering the Siem Reap Night Market). The Old Market closes by 6:00 PM, so make sure you visit early.
Cost: Depends

Tropical Fruits
Tropical Fruits
Cover Photo - Vegan Street Food

Read Next: How to Spend 2 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia

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