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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Halal Food in Siem Reap

I would have to admit, just downloading the halal outlets address as provided in Zabihah is not enough. Having the address of the restaurant is not enough as not everyone is familiar with street names or addresses compared to landmarks near the restaurant. As part of my preparation prior to any trip overseas (except to Muslim countries that is), I would be surfing the web trying to find information on where to eat. Past experiences of traveling to Macau, Hong Kong and Beijing have taught me that if you travel to a country where English is not the main medium, trying to ask for directions to the nearest halal food outlet is definitely tricky business.

And so here we were in Siem Reap, with our list of halal food outlets downloaded from Zabihah looking for halal food. And this is what we found:

First up, Maharajah. 


Look out for the restaurant's signage once you've passed Phsar Chas or the Old Market. 


This is one of the most conveniently located halal food outlet, it's located right in the middle of the hustle bustle of Siem Reap, within walking distance to the Phsar Chas (Old Market), Night Market and Pub Street. For easy reference to the tuk-tuk drivers, the restaurant is located across the street from Terrasse de Elephants Hotel


Outside the restaurant there's a huge menu board displaying the food they offer and how much it costs. 


As you can see, the halal sign is evident on the door sticker. We were also informed by the restaurant owner of Muslim Family Restaurant (don't worry, we've also included a review of the Muslim Family Restaurant in this post) that the owner of Maharajah regularly attends Friday prayers at An Neakmah Mosque in Stueng Thmey Village.


The menu. Conveniently for travelers, the prices are listed in USD. However, expect the prices to be a lil' bit pricy compared to the food back home. 


The layout of the restaurant. 


And this is what we ordered, Mango Lassi.


One of the set meals (we forgot which though).


Chicken murtabak.


Fried rice for our tuk-tuk driver. All in all, our meal (for three) costs us USD 19.50. Our verdict: we love the food at Maharajah, and a slight hint, the chicken murtabak tastes like chicken pan pizza =).

Next restaurant, Ababa Curry House. 


We stumbled upon this cafe while we were walking at the Night Market. And the interesting thing is, this place is not listed in Zabihah and considering how accessible it is, I find that really surprising. 




Here's the menu. And the halal logo is clearly shown at the front. If I'm not mistaken, the owner is not a Malaysian but he's worked in Johor previously so he understands a bit or two of our Malaysian language.


The cafe prominently painted in a bright orange hue and filled with drawings of Mahatma Ghandi. 


Price list, also in USD.


Ice cold coconut juice from the fridge, freshly cut and served.



A sweet dessert with a strong cinnamon taste called Kheer.


This is what we ordered, lok lak with beef. Lok lak is basically a Cambodian dish and the name refers to the method in which the dish is prepared, stir-fried with soy sauce. Our verdict: lok lak is definitely delicious =).


And this is chicken amok, which is similar to the dish we call chicken korma back in Malaysia.



FYI, theres two other halal outlets not far from Ababa Curry House within the Night Market area i.e. Chusska and Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, we didn't try out both restaurants. Maybe if you peeps have a chance to visit the outlets, do leave comments below this post and let us know how's the food there =).

Next we have the Cambodian Muslim Restaurant:


As most blogs/ sites would say, this eatery is pretty hard to find. Well, not exactly if your tuk-tuk driver knows where it's located. But given than only 5% of Cambodians are Muslims, there's a high chance that your tuk-tuk driver is not a Muslim. Don't worry, we'll guide you on how to get there. 


Better still, we'll share you this map that we got off a tuk-tuk. Anyway, the restaurant is located at Stueng Thmey Village and surprise, surprise, the village is just 5 minutes away from Phsar Chas. The street leading to Stueng Thmey Village is actually really close to Maharajah.


The layout of the restaurant.


The menu and prices are all quoted in Cambodian Riel. Don't worry, USD is also very much accepted here. 


Just in case you can't find the place, I've included the owner's name card so that your tuk-tuk driver can call him and ask for directions on how to get there. Easy, right?


And this is hubs with the owner, Mr. Yan Soffy.


Unfortunately I don't know the name of this dish because this is what our tuk-tuk driver ordered. But he assures me that it's delicious.


And this is what we ordered, chicken tom yam and beef lok lak. Most Cambodian dishes are accompanied with steamed white rice, so we had that too. Our verdict: absolutely delicious. If you've been wanting to try out Cambodian food (which from what we've tasted are absolutely yummylicious) I do recommend this place. And it's also the cheapest for us, lunch for three only costs USD12.


This is An Neak Mah mosque, located in the heart of Stueng Thmey village, not far from Cambodian Muslim Restaurant (the restaurant and the mosque is conveniently located on the same road).


Right next to the mosque is another eatery, Muslim Family Restaurant


Hubs, with the owner, Haji Musa (who is conveniently fluent in Malay, with a hint of Kelantanese dialect).


And this is his card. See how we've made it so easy for you to find halal food here in Siem Reap?


The specialty of this restaurant is Lembu Naik Bukit (directly translated as 'Cow goes up the hill), the name is slightly unusual if you ask me. However the dish gets its name from the way it's being prepared (refer to the photo above), the pan's base is slightly protruding (akin to a hill) and beef is cooked in the middle (as if it's on top of a hill). FYI, the whole thing was cooked right at our table (so we got to see how the dish was cooked!).


Add in some vegetables. 


And voila! The dish is done. It takes roughly about 15 minutes to cook (but give them some time to prepare the ingredients though, we had to wait for about 30 minutes for preparation time). It would be better if you're able to make a booking beforehand, thus, less waiting for you =).


They've even prepared some gravy for you to dip your meat in. 


And this is the end result.


Besides that, our tuk-tuk driver ordered some beef lok-lak for himself. 


And we also ordered some chicken soup as a side dish.


The chicken soup tasted slightly like tom yam but not as spicy. Our verdict: we absolutely love the food at Muslim Family Restaurant and we really do recommend Lembu Naik Bukit as a must-try at the restaurant. The whole dinner (for three) costs us about USD16.

Next is d' Wau Restaurant.


And these are addresses of the restaurant (they even have a branch in Phnom Penh, which I'm looking forward to trying out).


Unfortunately, the place is not easy to find because the signage to the restaurant is not that visible from the main road. Anyway, the restaurant is located right in front of Sorphoun Villa (incidentally is a Muslim-owned business, so halal food is also served at the Villa. If you can't find the place (like we did the first time we went looking for d' Wau Restaurant), you may want to click [here] for information on how to get to Sorphoun Villa.


Here's the layout of the restaurant.


The menu and price, quoted in USD.



And this is what we ordered, Khmer fried rice for hubs, roti canai for me and teh tarik (pulled tea) for the both of us. Our tuk-tuk driver told us that he'd already had breakfast.


So, our breakfast for two only costs USD6. Our verdict: as nice as it is to have teh tarik and roti canai (both are Malaysian specialties) in Siem Reap, I would have to say, both dishes differ slightly to the ones we have at home. So, my advice, stick to Khmer food =).



And this is Sorphoun Villa.


Hubs went in to ask some information on the place for the benefit of y'all readers out there. If you notice, the girl behind the counter is wearing hijab.


Here's the address of the place.


And a map. The villa is located at National Road 6.

And finally, we also visited MyHibiscus Restaurant.


Interestingly, MyHibiscus is not only a restaurant, but it's also a hotel (owned and managed by Malaysians). Don't worry, I'll do a separate blog on the facilities offered by the hotel, as this blogpost focuses mainly on halal food in Siem Reap. 


1Malaysia =).


Previously the hotel is known as Angkor Monarch but now is known as MyHibiscus Hotels and Resort.


The restaurant is located at the first floor, right above the reception area. 


The halal sign is displayed prominently behind the restaurant's counter. We were fortunate to have met Madam Sally, she was the one who told us about Lembu Naik Bukit (specialty of Muslim Family Restaurant) and she also took us on a tour of MyHibiscus Hotel. Don't worry, I'll be sure to make a blogpost on the hotel and once you've see the photos, I'm sure those who're planning to go to Siem Reap would want to stay there! 


So this is what we had at MyHibiscus, Khmer fried rice (which is absolutely delicious!) accompanied with stir fried Kangkong belacan. Our lunch for three (inclusive of our lucky tuk-tuk driver) is only USD15. Seriously, this is the most affordable hotel food that I've ever had =). And if you're asking if we recommend the restaurant, definitely we do! Not only that, we recommend for Muslim travelers to stay at the hotel as it's more convenient (easy access to halal food) that way. For more information on the hotel, you may want to visit their website [here] and Facebook page [here].

Hope this blog post is helpful to all future Muslim travelers to Siem Reap. For the address or directions on how to get to the halal food outlets mentioned here, we have a Facebook page specially set up for easy access to halal outlets. 


xoxo Mrs Fashionista
 
Ps: We were informed by Madam Sally that Haji Musa had recently passed away so to my Muslim readers, do be kind enough to recite Al-Fatihah to the late Haji Musa. Thank you!