Arriving in Phnom Penh, I expected my eating options to be limited making me unable to enjoy authentic local Khmer (Cambodian) cuisine. Assuming this, coupled with a language barrier, I expected eating out would be a regular challenge. I soon learned this could not be further from the truth throughout the urban cities of Cambodia, particularly the capital of Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh is a vibrant and exciting place to dine, offering a staggering variety of inexpensive cuisines from around the world that will satisfy any foodie. There will not be many foods you will miss from your own country that you cannot find a great rendition of here, with countless superb Indian, Chinese and Korean joints; Italian, Middle Eastern and American restaurants; and a plethora of delicious Southeast Asian food, including Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, and of course, Khmer!
In amongst these, there are some incredible vegetarian and vegan gems or meat-serving restaurants offering great veg-options. Whether you are looking for an Instagram-worthy avocado-toast and acai bowl style café or a vegan version of Amok, Cambodia’s national dish, this list will make eating plant-based easy during your time in Phnom Penh.
With Phnom Penh’s ever-changing restaurant market, I discovered eateries to be permanently closed, despite reading online suggestions from only a few months prior. This list I put together provide you with an updated list of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh to check out to enjoy both local and international cuisines. Vegetarian food choices can also be regarded as healthier options and help with small steps to combat animal cruelty from mass animal rearing.
The list is divided into mid-range and cheap-eats, to please any budget backpacker or expat looking for delicious veg food, as well as mid-range honourable mentions.
Introducing the best vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh by foodie lover Jordie Forster, who got to Phnom Penh in 2019 from her hometown Canada, and have loved it every since!
^Denotes an all-vegan establishment. *Denotes an all-vegetarian menu. All other restaurants are vegetarian/ vegan-friendly.
Phnom Penh’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants – Mid-range Prices:
Try following my foodie map trail here!
– CAMBODIAN KHMER FOOD –
1. The Corn
Located near Independence Monument, just off of an aptly named street lined with food carts selling corn-on-the-cob and popcorn, The Corn labels itself a vegetarian restaurant with meat options. No dish on the menu has any meat products but chicken or fish can be added. The Corn has a quaint and quiet environment and serves huge portions! We tried two curries, Banana Tofu Coconut Curry – I’ve never had anything like it and the sweetness was unique, and the Pepper and Peanut stew – heavy on the peanut sauce, so if that’s your thing you won’t be disappointed. Honestly, everything on the menu sounded amazing, including the selection of starters and desserts. All dishes are served with black forbidden rice, which is a refreshing change from every other Southeast Asian white rice meal.
Location: The Corn
Price: Starting at $5
2. Eleven One Kitchen
With two locations in the expat areas of BKK1 and Russian Market, Eleven One boasts itself as Cambodia’s first 99% plastic-free restaurant and is a part of a waste-free movement in the city, with many reusable products for sale, such as silicone and bamboo straws. The tofu-mushroom amok should not be missed. They offer a fantastic ever-changing $3.5 lunch set, including a dessert.
Location: Eleven One Kitchen
3. Mok Mony
This place is always busy, and for good reason, as it is one of the top-rated restaurants in the city. Offering a large menu of Khmer dishes, there is a limited but solid selection of meat-free meals. To encourage customers to go out of their comfort zone, they have a policy that if you do not like your dish they will give you a different meal, no questions asked.
Location: Mok Mony
4. Sundown Social Club
This open-air rooftop bar with cool neon signs is the perfect place for a snack and a drink overlooking Russian Market. Vegans have an equal number of options to choose from compared to the meat offerings. You won’t be disappointed enjoying your falafel hotdog or beer-battered tofu tacos with chips. A great place to bring friends to impress them with a unique view of Phnom Penh!
Location: Sundown Social Club
Price: Everything on the menu is $5. Drinks start at $4
5. Lot 369
This Aussie-run spot serves up a great brunch and solid coffee. The Vegan Breakfast Bowl is a home run and there are multiple vegetarian options, such as the Smashed Avo and Red Velvet Hotcakes. They do soy coffees at no extra charge and also offer cashew and coconut milk. Tip: come on Wednesday when all espresso-based drinks are only $1 and enjoy working in their cozy, air-conditioned upstairs room. Lot 369 has two locations in the city: in the centre of Russian Market and right near the Independence Monument, behind Wat Langka.
Location: Lot 369
6. Vibe ^
Located in the cool Russian Market neighbourhood and a popular place with the health-conscious and Instagram foodies – everyone knows Vibe! It prides itself on being Phnom Penh’s first 100% vegan café, promoting a plant-based lifestyle, publishing a cookbook and supporting local charity. As the name suggestions, you’ll come here for the vibe. It boasts a natural feeling rooftop and swinging chairs, making it a great place to park yourself for the afternoon to get work done. Although I’ve tried various things on their menu, the Live Sandwich blew.me.away. Maybe I was just really excited to indulge in some hearty rye bread for the first time in a while, but the flavours were amazing, it came with a side salad, and I left very full.
7. Artillery Arts Café
Located in an artsy alley, the exterior of the café will certainly draw you in and the extensive healthy menu will make you decide to stay. Artillery caters to the health-conscious, with clear labelling for vegan, raw, paleo and gluten-free, as well as the menu stating their goals of supporting local farmers and being an environmentally-conscious business. Build-Your-Own-Macro Bowl is a great way to load up on healthy toppings but they have a vast breakfast, lunch, dinner and smoothie menu; with stars like the Falafel Waffle Benedict and the sweet potato Disco Fries with cashew cheese dip… so it looks like you’ll have to plan your visit back soon.
Location: Artillery Arts Café
– INTERNATIONAL CUISINE –
8. Bong Bonlai ^
This is a recently opened restaurant, translating to “Vegetable Friend”, tucked inside the cute courtyard of YK Art House Hotel. An all-vegan menu with many innovative options- Moussaka, Keftedes, French Toast, King Mushroom Aussie Burger – it will likely blow your non-vegan friend’s minds! Most Sunday’s they offer a brunch where all plates are $1. Do not be deceived, these are very small appetizers, so make sure to order lots amongst your group.
Location: Bong Bonlai
9. Pelican Food Company – Australian/ Polish
The menu displays quite a variety, from the star Aussie Meat (and meatless) pies and pierogis. This cool brunch/lunch nook supports a lot of small local businesses and environmental campaigns. I still think about the roasted veggie and hummus sandwich I had a few weeks ago there. You won’t regret it ordering that one.
Location: Pelican Food Company
– ASIAN FOOD –
10. Mama Wong’s Dumpling and Noodle House
A great spot along bustling Bassac Lane, a street lined with bars and live music, Mama Wong’s has good options for veg-lovers, such as dumplings, noodles and popcorn cauliflower (10/10 would recommend).
Location: Mama Wong’s Dumpling and Noodle House
Honourable Cafe mentions:
Although I have not been to these restaurants, and therefore cannot vouch for them from personal experience, online reviews speak highly of these restaurants and their online menus show some fantastic vegan options.
11. Enso Café – Western
A Western-style brunch café, with an atmosphere fostering a good working environment, serving quinoa porridge and eggplant lasagna, vegan shepherdless pie and an extensive drink menu of caffeine, smoothies and cocktails. They also have a refill station for products such as shampoo and dry foods.
Location: Enso Café
12. Farm to Table – International
A restaurant focused on local, sustainable and organic food, the location is in a leafy green courtyard with a garden and chickens walking around the restaurant. Although not a vegetarian eatery, each section of their menu clearly identifies vegan options. Additionally, they have pledged to reduce their food and garbage waste!
Location: Farm to Table
13. Friend’s the Restaurant – Western/ Asian Fusion
Commonly seen in a ‘2 days in Phnom Penh itinerary’ compilation, Friend’s is a social enterprise run by an NGO called Tree Alliance, which aims to support street children and marginalized youth for over two decades. They have a section on their menu dedicated to “veggie lovers” starring ingredients such as cashew nut cheese, gnocchi and zucchini fritters.
Location: Friend’s the Restaurant
14. Backyard Café – Western
Sister restaurant to Vibe, this flexitarian spot does offer a multitude of vegan-options in a very cool, Instagram-worthy spot.
Location: Backyard Café
15. Masala Dosa Street Kitchen ^ – Indian
A completely plant-based spot solely dedicated to the incredible dosa. What more could you ask for? This place has a huge selection of dosa meals, so good luck choosing.
Location: Masala Dosa Street Kitchen
Cheap and Budget Friendly Cafes:
If you scrolled past the mid-range options to this section, we are on the same page! Now we have reached the restaurants that are close to my heart and where I’ve spent most of my meals…because who doesn’t want a delicious lunch for $2? Although most of the mid-range spots usually offer a better atmosphere, the following vegetarian restaurants in Phnom Penh are quite clean and are great if you are enjoying a quick meal.
16. Irrawaddi – Burmese
Serving dishes from the neighbouring country of Myanmar, Irrawaddi is a popular restaurant among locals and expats and is always bustling around lunch hour! Didn’t I say Phnom Penh gives you a taste of the whole world? The staff team are incredibly friendly, and the vegetarian section of the menu is so large, you will be spoilt for choice! You will not go wrong ordering any of the salads or curries but be sure to try the unique-tasting Tea Leaf Salad, a classic Burmese dish. This could easily tie for one of my favourite places to eat lunch in the city.
17. Coriander Indian Restaurant – Indian
It would be appropriate to follow with my other favourite lunch spot, as they offer a fantastic value lunch set. You won’t be short on choice with their vegan options, such as not-too-oily samosas, full veg thali meal, chana masala, soya masala, and even offering an incredible tofu palak, instead of paneer! The staff are so polite, and the service is prompt. The staff team are superb – they are always topping up water glasses and offer free snacks while waiting for your meal. 11/10 recommend.
Location: Coriander Indian Restaurant
Price $3.5 lunch set
18. Vitking House * – Khmer
These spots are VERY popular with locals and the only place I’ve ever waited in line to get a table in this city (although it was a Friday night). At this all-vegetarian place get the fried mushrooms and thank me later. This is a good place for meat-alternatives. A bustling vibe with couples and families. (2 locations)
Location: Vitking House
19. Sweet Root Vegetarian * – Khmer/ Vietnamese
I have frequented this small place many times and although the menu does not have any English, there are pictures and the staff speak good English. They have a daily special which is always a winner, but my favourite is the Banh Xung (cold noodles, mock meat and cut-up fried spring rolls) on Thursday’s.
Location: Sweet Root Vegetarian
20. Surn Yi Vegetarian * – Khmer/ Taiwanese
The menu is almost equivalent to a novel. A huge variety of pizzas, burgers, and Asian cuisine with free iced tea included. You write down the item numbers on an order sheet and pay at the register first. All tables were filled on a weekday lunch with expats and locals. I ordered a “fried steak” on noodle soup and I think it could have fooled a carnivore. I can’t wait to come back to this small spot, although it is slightly messy near the counter with stacks of boxes.
Location: Surn Yi Vegetarian
21. Café Soleil * – International
Strange smell, but that may have just been the day we went there. I ordered the tofu amok which tasted very traditional and was accompanied by red rice, which was a pleasant surprise.
Location: Café Soleil
22. Kabbas – International
Kabbas is a hit with tourists from all over the world, as you can see by the notes written from happy customers hung up all over the walls! The staff speak good English and know what vegan is and can point you to the many options. I opted for Khmer curry, which I loved and came back for another time.
23. David’s Homemade Noodle – Chinese
David’s is an always-bustling spot where you can watch them make hand-pulled noodles, which is entertaining if you’ve never seen it before. It’s family-run so sometimes it is loud with cute kids running around. Time after time the fried/soup noodles and dumplings (which I’ve confirmed the veg and tofu versions are both vegan, without oyster sauce) are always excellent. The owner made a genuine effort to come over and chat and ask us for feedback, as they are always looking to better their business. Customer service speaks volumes, so I often recommend this place to my friends.
Location: David’s Homemade Noodle
24. Sumatra – Indonesian
If you are a tempeh enthusiastic you will jump for joy knowing there is an Indonesian restaurant in the city, located in Russian Market. This is the place to get your tempeh fix, as it’s not a common food you’ll find on menus in Cambodia. We shared several dishes here and would recommend the jackfruit curry, gado-gado, soy chilli tempeh (definitely order this!) and tempeh mendoan (crispy and fried). If you enjoy Indonesian food, then I equally recommend Warung Bali, located near Riverside, with no lack of tempeh, tofu and vegetable dishes.
25. Master Ruma * – Asian
Mock meat haven made from seitan, wheat gluten or mushrooms. Some interesting options … such as ‘goat meat’. The food is very oily but if you have a fake meat hankering you can get that satisfied here.
Location: Master Ruma
If you are looking to enjoy more of Cambodia’s sights and nature, do consider visiting Kampot Province. If you are rather lazy to plan on your own, another option is to sign up for a personalized Cambodia tour in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and beyond.
26. The Snacker ^
An ice-cream stall in Russian Market that recently opened up a small indoor shop, right next to their old location, serving an array of vegan coconut-based flavours!
Location: The Snacker
27. Evergreen Vegetarian Restaurant * – Khmer
Many people like Evergreen for its extensive mock meat options, but I wasn’t overly impressed. Maybe it was what I ordered but I found the portion of my soup to be small and flavourless.
Location: Evergreen Vegetarian Restaurant
28. Mercy House Coffee Restaurant * – Asian
Another popular place with locals, this place has a very extensive menu, but English is nearly non-existent. A nice environment with trees overhanging but that also means there are mosquitos. What stands out about Mercy House was the pages and pages of the drink and dessert menu. So, if you are looking for a shaved ice or bubble tea, this may be a good spot to check out.
Location: Mercy House Coffee Restaurant
29. Maitreya Vegetarian Chay * – Asian
This fits in the category with a huge selection of decent mock meat meals. I went to this place because the location was close to me, but the food is just decent. Free iced green tea and a huge English menu of noodle bowls, fried appetizers and full hotpot.
Location: Maitreya Vegetarian Chay
30. Happy Dragon Farm Canteen – Khmer
This place is canteen style with a daily menu of a few choices, plus an everyday menu. The restaurant prides itself on natural, organic, sugar and MSG-free meals, though the meat-free options are limited. A nice spot if you are looking for really healthy food and they serve brown rice. A nice touch is their free teas, including ginger or hibiscus – the best remedy if you have a sore throat!
Location: Happy Dragon Farm Canteen
31. Vegetarian and Coffee Mi Chay * – Asian
Mi Chay is a bustling place with ample indoor and outdoor seating. They recently rebranded, updating their menu. If you are looking for deep-fried anything and everything (tofu, fish, ribs or the questionable stomach or intestines), this is the place for you. I ordered and received my huge portion of a piping hot bowl of “rice noodle soup with all kinds of meat” in 3 minutes – great for a quick work-break lunch. The mock meat was really delicious, and the broth was flavourful, but most of all I thought the $2.5 bowl was a steal!
Location: Vegetarian and Coffee Mi Chay
This concludes the list of the top restaurants for vegetarians in Phnom Penh. Be sure to let me know if you have any go-to veg spots in the city that I missed that you should check out this year! Don’t let it passover!
This article is contributed by Jordie Fischer.
Have you checked out any of these spots and which ones are your favourite?