With its thriving restaurant scene Siem Reap is pretty well served in terms of different cuisine, but now its first vegan café has joined the mix – Eternal Green which has opened in Charming City.
Run by Japanese couple Shingo and Asako Alie, the vegan tea house serves a range of muffins, cookies and raw tarts, as well as herbed ciabatta bread made with rapeseed oil that has already proved a firm favourite among the local expat crowd.
There are also vegan munchies such as sweet potato chips and roasted garlic potato, plus a large selection of fair trade teas, traditional Japanese teas and fresh juices and smoothies.
Shingo says it has always been his dream to open a vegan café and shop and promote a healthy, green lifestyle. He and his wife left Japan along with their seven-year-old son after becoming concerned for their safety following the 2011 accident at
Fukushima nuclear power plant. He says he was worried about the effects of radioactive contamination on his son’s body.
“We lived far from Fukushima, near Osaka in Akashi City,” he says. “But now Japan is dangerous. We left and came to Thailand, then here, first to Phnom Penh and then to Siem Reap. My wife really liked Siem Reap.
“I want to spread the vegan lifestyle message which is good for the global environment. For example, rather than using artificial seasoning we want to provide snacks that are made using natural ingredients that are friendly to the body.”
Snacks include sundried tomato and basil muffins which go very nicely with a homemade ginger ale, made with fresh ginger and cinnamon. The vegan apple cake with cashew nut cream also looked tempting, as did the minty pineapple smoothie.
The family lives above the café which has a hippy, trippy look to it, covered in fairy lights and large colourful wall hangings from Thailand. Shingo says they spent some time on party island Koh Pha Ngan and wanted to bring a “love and peace,” dance culture vibe to the café.
Seating is Japanese style on cushions on the floor, with low tables, and there is a tiny shop at the front selling all-natural shampoos, shower gels, herbal teas and mosquito repellant.
Visitors cannot fail to spot Eternal Green as Shingo, formerly part of the dance scene in Japan and an avid graffiti artist, has painted the letters high on a green background above the door, also painted green, as are both balconies on the three-story building. Keeping the green theme, he has painted green tendrils and leaves creeping all the way up to the top.
Eternal Green is off Charles de Gaulle Road, past Le Meridien Angkor by Borey Prem Prey market. It is open seven days a week, 2.30pm-9pm.