Cambodia Pub Street Siem Reap: Where to eat

In the town famous for being the gateway to Cambodia‘s Angkor Archaeological Park, lies an infamous street known as Pub Street. A street popular for drinking, deep-fried insects, banana pancakes, and happy pizza among other things. Located east of the Old Market area, this is where all the tourists go during their stay in Siem Reap.

This colorful thoroughfare has become synonymous with nightlife in the city, offering a dynamic fusion of international cuisines, lively bars, and unique shopping experiences.

Whether you’re looking to savor Khmer culinary delights or dance the night away, Pub Street is the go-to destination once the sun sets on the ancient temples of Angkor.

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Pub Street Siem Reap

History of Pub Street

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, Pub Street has become synonymous with vibrant nightlife and cultural fusion. This section uncovers its intriguing past and transformation.

Origin of the Name

Pub Street got its informal name from the numerous pubs and bars that started springing up in the area, catering to tourists visiting the nearby Angkor Wat temple complex. Initially known as Street 8, the moniker ‘Pub Street’ naturally took hold due to its descriptive ease.

Evolution Over Time

You’ll see that Pub Street wasn’t always the bustling hub it is today. In the early 1990s, it was just another unpaved road with a few local businesses.

With the influx of tourists, entrepreneurs recognized an opportunity, and by the early 2000s, the street began to transform. A pivotal change was the decision to pedestrianize the area at night, enhancing its appeal to visitors looking for leisure and entertainment.

These days, Pub Street is teeming with pubs, restaurants, shops, bars, cafes, and art galleries.

Angkor What was first on the scene in 1998. Followed by the Red Piano and the Soup Dragon. But what made the street popular, especially for Red Piano, was the arrival of the Tomb Raider crew in 2000. One of the bar’s signature cocktails is even named after the movie. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The selection of cuisine you can find is diverse so I’m sure that there would be something that would catch your fancy. Some of the establishments are open the whole day. But the street comes alive after sunset, drawing in the tourists who just finished their temple run.

Parallel to Pub Street is a pedestrian-only alley that seemed to be its quieter version. If you feel overwhelmed with the crowd, it’ll be a good idea to go here instead.

Read also: Misadventures and Stories of Kindness in Siem Reap Cambodia

What and where to eat in Pub Street, Siem Reap

Banana Pancake

My first meal in Siem Reap, Cambodia wasn’t even a proper meal. But since we’re on the Banana Pancake trail, why not give it a try?

There were a lot of street vendors selling banana pancakes in Pub Street. You only have to approach one cart to get your fill of this roti-crepe hybrid snack. You can choose your filling to pair with the banana – milk, Milo, chocolate, or strawberry.

Of course, I chose chocolate! It was fascinating to watch them make these yummy snacks in front of the adoring and hungry crowd.

Here’s a video:

Other street food

Food carts and food stalls are also abundant throughout Pub Street. One can find fresh fruit slices, pickled fruits, corn on the cob, BBQ skewers, coconut juice, sugar cane juice, fruit smoothies, steamed buns, and more.

For the adventurous, fearless, and curious crowd, you can take your pick of exotic street food. Snakes, spiders, crickets, and silkworms are ready to be devoured by those who dare.

Khmer House

After that sweet treat, have a taste of Khmer cuisine and Cambodian beer. The one where we went to can be found in Pub Street Alley. It was nestled between posh and pricey restaurants. Their prices are reasonable and you can get your money’s worth for the amount of serving.

We ordered their version of fresh spring rolls (I know, I know, Vietnamese!) and Khmer Amok. Both were really good and of course, we paired it up with a cup of steamed white rice. I have eaten a LOT of spring rolls in my life and while this one was not that memorable, I do remember it as freshly prepared.

Amok is a popular Khmer dish that uses coconut milk. It is usually steamed in a banana leaf cup. You can also find other versions in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. It also has distinct flavors of lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric. The result of which is a delicate balance of sweet, fragrant, zesty and creamy.

You can wash it all down with Angkor Premium beer, one of the most popular beer brands in Cambodia. It is a lager beer with only 5% of alcohol volume. It is smooth and has a full rich flavor. And not as bitter as Philippines’ Red Horse Beer.

Food serving time was prompt and service was good. Despite the language barrier, the servers were all polite.

Golden Coconut

Tired from our temple run that ran from dawn to dusk, we went straight to Pub Street to replete our energy. This time, we ended up in Golden Coconut just because it was the best seat from the entertainment across the street. (Who can turn down a free show? Lol) The eatery’s front side is open to the sidewalk.

Like Khmer House, the prices here are affordable (mostly in the $4-$6 range). It is a simple restaurant frequented by locals and foreigners alike. Sometimes, though, it is best not to expect anything for that price range. Especially with the food and service. We ordered their version of Beef Lok Lak as well as stir-fried rice noodles with vegetables and egg. Both of which were quite tasty. Although the beef could use a little more tenderness.

There is an ongoing debate that Beef Lok Lak is not an original Cambodian cuisine, but rather Vietnamese in origin. It closely resembles Vietnam’s Bo Luc Lac (“shaking beef”). Years of enmity would have the Cambodians insisting that the dish is theirs, though. Beef Lok Lak is stir-fried marinated beef slices usually served on a bed of vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Golden Coconut’s version is served with fried egg and fried rice.

Soup Dragon

Located at the end of Pub Street, we decided to check out this 3-storey restaurant not knowing that it was quite popular in downtown Siem Reap. It was our last day in Cambodia and we were looking for a place to eat and rest away from the scorching sun after our Royal Gardens and Old Market jaunt.

Actually, it was the free Wi-Fi that lured me in. LOL. It was not until we were looking at the menu that we realized that Soup Dragon is a Vietnamese restaurant. They are known for their Pho and Spring Rolls. But they also offer Western cuisine and other Asian dishes. They have a menu so extensive that I was wondering how they were managing their kitchen. Their famous Hot Pot “Soup Chhnang Dae”, Green Mango Salad, and sliced chicken with nuts are all worth a try.

The hot pot is big enough for more than two persons and I definitely challenge you to fit it all in one pot. Haha.

Pub Street Siem Reap restaurants: More dining recommendations

  • Have ice cream at Blue Pumpkin to beat the heat
  • Try Angelina Jolie’s favorite cocktail at Red Piano
  • If you like drinking beer in every country you visit, try Cambodia’s Angkor Beer or Tiger Beer
  • Have BBQ at Cambodian BBQ Restaurant
  • Try the curry and other Khmer dishes at Traditional Khmer Food Restaurant
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Pub Street Nightlife

When you visit Pub Street, the energy of the nightlife is palpable. The street is lined with bars where you can enjoy a rich assortment of beverages ranging from locally brewed beers to exotic cocktails. The Angkor What? Bar and Temple Club are notable hotspots that offer a lively atmosphere well into the night.

Must-Visit Bars:

  • Angkor What? Bar
  • Temple Club
  • Miss Wong Cocktail Bar

Street Performers and Entertainment

Your night exploration in Pub Street isn’t complete without experiencing the talented street performers that take center stage each night.

Keep your camera ready for impromptu shows that include traditional Apsara dance performances and skilled fire jugglers that light up the street with their daring acts.

  • Entertainment to Watch For:
  • Traditional Apsara Dancers
  • Fire Jugglers
  • Live Music Bands
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Traveler Tips

When visiting Pub Street in Siem Reap, you’ll want to keep a few key things in mind to ensure an enjoyable experience. These tips are aimed at helping you make the most of your trip.

Best Times to Visit

Peak Season: From November to February, Siem Reap experiences cooler weather, and Pub Street is bustling with activity. It’s best to visit in the early evening when the street comes alive with vibrant colors and enticing aromas.

Off-Peak: For a more relaxed experience, consider visiting between June and August. This is the wet season, so bring a rain jacket and be prepared for short bursts of heavy rainfall.

Safety and Etiquette

Personal Belongings: Always keep a close eye on your personal items. It’s wise to use anti-theft bags and keep valuables out of sight.

Respect Local Culture: Dress modestly and be mindful of local customs. Public intoxication is frowned upon, so drink responsibly. Always ask for permission before taking photos of people.

Location and Accessibility

Access to this iconic street is straightforward, whether you’re navigating on foot or by transportation.

Take note that Pub Street is located parallel to the Siem Reap River, which cuts through the city.

Nearby landmarks include the Old Market and Angkor Night Market, making it easy to locate Pub Street as you explore these popular attractions.

Getting to Pub Street

To reach Pub Street, you typically have several options. If you’re staying in Siem Reap city center, you may find it convenient to walk, as the street is centrally located and pedestrian-friendly. However, for greater comfort, especially at night, consider the following:

  • Tuk-Tuk: The most popular local transport, a tuk-tuk can get you to Pub Street from anywhere in the city for a reasonable fare. Remember to agree on the price before starting your journey. You can also charter a private tuk-tuk in Siem Reap.
  • Taxi: If you prefer air-conditioned comfort, taxis are available, but they may cost more than a tuk-tuk.
  • Bike or Motorbike/Scooter Rental: For the more adventurous, renting a bicycle or renting a motorbike/scooter allows you to explore at your own pace.

Shopping at Pub Street

When strolling through Pub Street in Siem Reap, you’ll find an abundance of shopping options that range from uniquely local souvenirs to diverse handicrafts and a bustling marketplace filled with vendors.

Souvenirs and Handicrafts

As you wander the lively street, stop by the quaint stalls to check out the intricate handicrafts, perfect for mementos of your trip. Keep an eye out for:

  • Silk scarves and wraps are available in a spectrum of vibrant colors.
  • Silver jewelry, often adorned with delicate designs and locally sourced gems.
  • Don’t miss out on the chance to purchase handmade Khmer art that captures the spirit of Cambodia.

Marketplace and Vendors

Your shopping experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the marketplace, where vendors offer a variety of goods:

  • Local spices and flavored teas, which you can sample before buying.
  • Street food delights, letting you taste the flavors of Cambodia as you shop.

Learn how to cook Khmer cuisine

Why not join a cooking class while you’re in Siem Reap? Check out these options from GetYourGuide and Klook:

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(This post was originally published in January 27, 2016 and updated in 2024)

How was your Pub Street experience? What was your favorite?


Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.


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