Kampot is a foodie town, and that holds true even after most restaurants close — usually around 10 p.m. But fewer options and your current state of inebriation should not deter you from venturing out to satisfy those midnight munchies — particularly if it’s earlier than 1 a.m. (After that hour your options become rather grim and you’ll find yourself stumbling around to the handful of bars still open begging for a packet of Kampot crisps.) If it’s nighttime and you’re hungry, I’ve put together a list of the best late-night eats in Kampot.
Pop-Up Food Truck
The unique Pop-Up Kampot food truck sets up shop on the eastern edge of the Old Market near the start of the park. The truck takes advantage of their position and also ‘pops-up’ a whole outdoor seating area right in the middle of the city frequented by both tourists and expats on a nightly basis.
A German man and his Khmer wife run the show and serve a mixture of Western and Khmer food with a large emphasis on traditional German dishes. Few things pair better with cheap beer than a Nuremberg Sausage with Potato Salad, Beef Ragout with Spätzel, or a Frikadelle Meatball with homemade bread. The dishes range from $1.50 for a hot dog to about $3 for one of the German specialties.
Open Monday to Saturday, 5 p.m. til 12:30 a.m.
Corner of South Old Market Street and Park, Kampot
Bobor: Khmer rice soup with chicken
I first discovered bobor in Kampot two years ago with the help of a flamboyant, blue-haired Finnish friend and several gin and tonics. This common, but underrated staple of Khmer cuisine involves soaking rice in a giant pot full of hearty chicken stock for several hours until it becomes a starchy, nourishing porridge — the Cambodian equivalent to mama’s chicken noodle. The simple soup contains rice, sliced chicken (or butchered pieces of bone and meat you carefully gnaw around, depending where you go), and crunchy bean sprouts with crispy garlic and fresh scallions piled on top.
Once you receive this steamy bowl of comfort, you can garnish it with the contents of any of the multitude of jars spread across the table. Chili flakes, lime slices, sugar, fermented beans, picked chilies, and soy sauce can all be added to taste as you go along, turning one soup into several as you gradually enhance the flavor. Plus, eating soup to sober up is hydrating too! I prefer the open air restaurant across from Nelly’s Bar because she always uses nice slices of chicken breast, tends to be open later, and it’s only $1.25.
Open daily until around 2 a.m.
Street 722, Third down on the left from Nelly’s Bar, Kampot
Num pang: Khmer sandwiches
Similar to a Vietnamese bahn mi, num pang translates to ‘bread’ or ‘sandwich’ in English. The Khmer people love baguettes almost as much as the French colonialists, who first introduced them to the kingdom of rice. You can find baguettes everywhere in Kampot, but the best place to get a num pang is at the Durian Roundabout. I prefer one particular Khmer lady who sits at the north-east corner.
Cambodian num pang starts with a toasted baguette sliced and spread with what I learned is a sugar and egg white mixture and not palm sugar like I thought. Phew. Then comes several more sauces, including something that looks and tastes like a thick, fatty, porky jam. Not done yet, they place a slice of cucumber, a fresh scallion, chopped, roasted pork belly, thin slices of pork paté, chilled papaya salad, and a spicy vinegar dressing on top, all for $1.25 or less.
Open daily, 4 p.m. until midnight (sometimes earlier)
Durian Roundabout, Kampot
Durian Roundabout or between the Saltworkers and 2000 Roundabouts, Kampot
Street Food Street
Stumbling onto Street Food Street only a few blocks away from the Old Market takes you decidedly out of any familiar Western fare and directly into the normal culinary life of local Cambodians, with a whole street of dining options. When I say this street is busy during rush hour between 4 and 6 p.m., I mean busy! But if you’re heading over after 11 p.m., you’ll avoid the hectic dinner stampede and be treated to a variety of cheap Khmer and other typically Asian foods.
Fried rice, noodles, soups, curries, sandwiches, cooked meats, and desserts abound between the neon Old Bridge and the Durian Roundabout. The CP Five Star will occasionally still be open after 11 p.m. for the dirtiest of all the late night eats, fried chicken. There are also several good option for vegetarians looking to eat local, and most of the main meals are about $2 or less.
Open Every Day, 10 a.m till 10 p.m. or as late as 3 a.m.
Old Bridge Street, Kampot
NachoTacos appeared in the middle of the high season this past year to thankfully fill the giant, Mexican food void in Kampot. The bearded, tattooed Brit serving up authentic, Mexican-style tacos hand-makes all the tortillas, salsa, and hot sauces good enough to drink from the bottle. Although it started as a pop-up in various kitchens around town, NachoTacos now has a portable cart usually located outside one of the bars on the South Old Market Street.
NachoTacos caters to both carnivores and herbivores. Meat-eaters should try the tender ‘mojo pulled pork’ based off a traditional Cuban recipe or the Adobo Chicken with lots of garlic and turmeric charred on the grill. Vegetarians can enjoy a traditionally spiced mushroom or eggplant depending on the evening and the very filling three-bean mix that’s converted some of Kampot’s staunchest carnivores. Just look for the red-and-black cart with a fire-breathing dragon painted on the front.
Open Thursday to Monday, 6:30 p.m. til 1 a.m.
Outside Barcode or Sharpen the Axe, South Old Market Street, Kampot
T: 016 608 836
A knock-off of the familiar brand Subway, Subworks manages to capture the essence of the U.S. chain while greatly improving in product quality. A little pricier than the other late night options, Subworks provides tastes that cannot be found anywhere else in town. Think turkey sandwiches with classic cranberry sauce, salami with cream cheese and gherkins, or pulled beef smothered in gravy.
If that isn’t enough for you, Subworks also cooks up scotch eggs the size of your head or lets you build your own sub. All the sandwiches come on fresh baguettes and you can load on the veggie toppings for free. They also deliver, so check out the menu on their Facebook page if you can’t be bothered to move from your barstool or your hotel.
Hours 11 a.m. til 1 a.m.
A29, South Old Market Street, Kampot
T: 077 523 170