Tonle Sap Restaurant may not be the best restaurant in Siem Reap that offers buffet dinner but I had a wonderful dining experience here. For just USD12/pax, diners get to savor a wide array of Asian cuisines while being entertained by a group of Cambodian cultural performers on stage.
There is a fusion of Asian cooking comprising mainly Indo-Chinese food, quite a spread of Chinese delicacies and a lesser spread of Korean and Japanese delights (sushi, tempura and the likes). My tastebuds were just pining for Indo-Chinese flavours that evening so I skipped the food section that I wasn't interested in and did not bother to even take photographs of them.
There are quite a number of food stations that cater to a huge dining crowd here. There were easily 500-600 diners that evening and the atmosphere was one of euphoria. Probably like me, the patrons were excited to see such a big spread of mouth watering treat.
The food culture of Cambodia bears much resemblance to that of Thailand. Food commonly seen and eaten in Thailand were seen in the dozen other Cambodian restaurants that I patronized during this trip.
Som Tham or the papaya salad tasted equally good here.
The Thai laksas that come in curries with different flavours have always been my favorites and happiness is getting to savor those awesome aromas in this restaurant.
I can actually eat two average bowls of the laksa at one go but I have to limit what I took to two tiny bowls as there were a lot other interesting stuffs that I wanted to try.
This is another interesting food station. Glutinous rice that are individually flavoured and comes in 4 lovely colours with a variety of toppings. This make a good dessert but much as I love its fragrance I ate just a few mouthful as glutinous rice is really filling.
There's a desire to try making these glutinous rice dessert at home as they are so tasty.
The 'miang kham' is an appetizer that I am familiar with and have even made them at home. In Tonle Sap Restaurant the wild pepper leaf is folded into a cone and locked with a round piece of red chilli. The condiments inside the cone is somewhat authentic and different from the ones I tried elsewhere.
Cambodia soup noodle is a Must-Try and this station surely didn't disappoint.
A small bowl of spicy noodle to die for. It had that oomph..
This station grills an interesting crispy snack that is topped with 'kaya' or coconut jam.
Tada... ready to eat now.
There are so many types of condiments to go with main food dishes and the more spicy they look the more appetizing they appear to me.
There are also many types of vegetable salads with interesting sauces and dippings.
This fiery hot 'kerabu' looks good and tasted excellent. I went back for a second helping.
Served in little dishes as appetizers, this is something I haven't tasted before.
Raw vegetables wrapped in rice paper is one of the few items in this restaurant that appears nicer than it tastes. Needs a lot more sauces to go with it. Otherwise the taste is bland.
The buffet is lacking in expensive seafood items like big prawns, lobsters, abalone or scallops dishes but for the price of USD12 one cannot be too expectant. On the plus side there is a big variety of tasty dishes which allow patrons to be spoilt for choice.
The dessert station serves a variety of tasty local cakes.
This pumpkin custard is my favorite dessert among all that was served that evening.
A little of everything tantamount to a big hearty meal and I overate that evening.
The performance was ongoing with the 'Apsara' dances and whatnot but seemingly the lure of the food far superseded that of a cultural show.
Overall I think the food caters to the Asian palette rather than the western judging by the obvious lack of westerners among the big crowd here. Malaysians would surely love this place but westerners may not favour it as much unless he is another Anthony Bourdain who is more adventurous with exotic Asian flavours.
Tonle Sap Restaurant details:Phone: 063 963 318
Address: No. 117, National Road No 6, Sala Kanseng Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum,
Siem Reap City, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Opening Hours: Open for breakfast, lunch dinner
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