The joy of Khmer cuisine can take time to reveal itself, but Cuisine Wat Damnak is single-handedly elevating Siem Reap’s traditional offering.
OK, so technically it’s a Frenchman doing the elevating, but what Joannès Rivière doesn’t know about the ancient cuisine, or modernising it with seasonal ingredients and a generous helping of Gallic flair, we can’t say.
From his pretty, lantern-lit, traddy house and garden in Wat Damnak Village, Rivière serves up course after course of weekly-changing degustation menus starring the rarest and often most fickle and challenging-to-source ingredients either grown on-site or bought locally. Savour palate-delighting dishes like chhlang fish with spicy coconut broth, Cambodian green giant eggplant, mushroom and holy basil, and Angkor stout-braised beef roll with toasted rice, cucumber and local thyme, either in the charming dining room, or in the tropical garden if weather permits. Inside, outside, and no matter time of year, prepare for one delicious Khmer education.
Cuisine Wat Damnak, Wat Damnak Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia. +855 77 347 762, cuisinewatdamnak.com
She's got ten years in Hong Kong and a two-year London stint under her belt, but Jane prefers life on the go, be it whooshing down the ski slopes of Japan, road-tripping along California’s PCH, haggling with Grand Bazaar vendors in Istanbul, or sailing Croatia’s Dalmation Coast.