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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No meat is no problem in the city

No meat is no problem in the city

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Choosing to go without animals and animal products is often harder than it sounds, but for vegans and vegetarians living in Phnom Penh, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from

Photo by:

TRACEY SHELTON

K’nyay is Phnom Penh’s premier vegan dining experience but stil caters to carnivores.

We hope to provide a menu That is absoutely animal free and

absolutely delicious.

Veganism may be becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice, but healthy vegan food is not always easy to find.

However, if you look carefully, many restaurants in Phnom Penh do offer great food free of animals and animal products.

The most vegan-specific restaurant in the city is K'nyay, a restaurant tucked away in a leafy, quiet area on Suramarit Boulevard. K'nyay, which opened in June 2007, offers a variety of delicious, fresh, and 100-percent vegan dishes mostly consisting of traditional Khmer food. To cater to friends of vegans, some vegan options can even be made with meat if requested.

"We aim to dispel the myth that we need animal products to create mouthwatering meals," David Hunt, co-owner of K'nyay, said. "We hope to provide a menu that is absoutely animal-free and absolutely delicious."

At K'nyay, all the dishes are made in the traditional Cambodian way, with the omission of common ingredients such as prahok (preserved fish) and kapi (shrimp paste).

To start, K'nyay has a variety of healthy shakes, smoothies and juices made from fresh fruit and soy milk. The menu then offers a range of flavorful food, from appetizers such as roast red pepper soup and sweet potato and taro fries, to main dishes such as banana and jackfruit curries.

Though it's a rarity to find vegan cake, K'nyay offers chocolate and carrot cake among its dessert options.

Vegan food items range in price from $2 to $5, while options substituted with prawn, pork, fish or beef instead of tofu are $6.

Delivery is a tempting option, and K'nyay offers free delivery with orders over $5. It even uses recyclable packing and biodegradable delivery bags.

Boddhi Tree

Boddhi Tree cafe is a well-known stop for tourists coming from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum across the street. It is located in a beautiful garden setting in front of a traditional house used as a guesthouse.

Boddhi Tree has Mediterranean and Cambodian food options, many of which are vegetarian or vegan. Appetisers include slow-grilled eggplant on bread with chipotle tomato sauce, and Mediterranean warm tomato brushetta with olive oil.

Main dishes include Cambodian curry with tofu and coconut rice, and hummus and roasted vegetable pita. Items are reasonably priced from $3 to $5 and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful.      

Miao Xiang Xi Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant is a great stop for a cheap vegan lunch or dinner. The Chinese restaurant on Monivong Boulevard provides around 30 mock meat and vegetable dishes at very low prices from 3000 to 6000 riels ($0.75 to $1.50).

All the items found in any Chinese restaurant are included, but here real meat is replaced with vegan variants, such as mock chicken wings and vegetable dumblings. The mock meat is wonderful, with a great taste and texture.

Though most of the food options are vegan, a few dishes are not. Pictures are included on the menu, so examine these carefully, as some soups contain egg, and of course, the bubble tea includes milk.

At the back of the small restaurant is a mini market thatsells meat substitutes, which are rare and very hard to find elsewhere in Phnom Penh. This is quite an unusual restaurant, but the quality vegan Chinese food is top notch.

K'nyay is open from 12pm to 9pm Monday through Friday and 7am to 9am on Saturday but is closed on Sunday. The restaurant can be found at 25K Suramit Boulevard, but it is set back from the road and hidden away, so keep an eye out for the large "K" sign.

Boddhi Tree is open from 7am to 9:30PM daily, and remains open during all holidays aside from Khmer New Year. The cafe can be found at 50 Street 113.

Miao Xiang Xi is open from 6:30am to 9pm daily, and is located at 699 Monivong Boulevard, between Street 360 and Mao Tse Tung Boulevard.

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