For travelers to Battambang, the chief attraction of Nary Kitchen is its namesake, the kitchen, both for its cooking classes and reputation for safe food that doesn’t upset sensitive foreign tummies. The staff are happy to let you check out their gleaming kitchen, which makes for a reassuring start to a meal. The restaurant is also one of the few in Battambang with genuine vegetarian dishes (it can be hard to avoid fish and oyster sauce elsewhere!).
Located down a side street in Battambang, Nary’s has a quieter atmosphere than restaurants in the town center. The restaurant’s fare includes Khmer traditional food, as well as other typical Asian and Western dishes. Fish amok is a specialty, and fresh spring rolls are always popular. On average, a main meal will cost you about three dollars.
Nary Kitchen is also Battambang’s original Khmer cooking school. It’s run by genial, talkative Doot, who is fluent in English and French, and his wife Nary, who oversees the cooking. Nary learned her recipes on the family farm as a child.
Classes, which cost $10, are preceded by a shopping trip to the market, to show you how to identify the freshest organic ingredients. Classes teach you to cook four courses including a dessert. The class takes three hours, and can be held morning or afternoon. You get a recipe book (in English and French) to take away.
Nary Kitchen is on Street 111, near the western end of Psar Nath (the main market). It’s easy enough to find, but you if needed your tuk tuk guy can phone for directions. Don’t let him mix it up with ‘The Kitchen,’ another eatery.
The restaurant is open from 7 a .m. until 11 p.m., or often later if everyone is having a good time.
Cooking classes are twice a day, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and cost $10 per person. It’s best to book for the cooking school in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org or 012 763 950).
Street 111, near Psar Nath, Battambang
T: 012 763 950
By John Macgregor.