A seafood café by artists, for artists

The fried octopus and prawn skewers. All of the seafood is delivered each day from the coast.
The fried octopus and prawn skewers. All of the seafood is delivered each day from the coast. Eliah Lillis

A seafood café by artists, for artists

For Prom Putvisal, it wasn’t enough to work on his own lithography and painting projects and teach at an NGO, while also building masks and sets for theatre productions, so he decided to open a small café catering to fellow artists.

He says he built his simple outdoor restaurant, called Tos Dak Tich, on a side street in Tuol Kork, to “relieve stress”. Prom can be found outside on most nights tending to a small grill on the sidewalk, on which he cooks seafood brought daily from off the coast of Sihanoukville.

Prom’s restaurant is not offering anything revolutionary – the grilled octopus, steamed crab and shrimp skewers are relatively basic – but its bohemian-meets-traditional-Khmer-arts vibe makes it stand out. Ever the artist, Prom has painted murals on every wall of Hanuman, the monkey god from the epic Reamker, the local adaptation of the Ramayana. T-shirts designed by Prom depicting Lakhon Khol, or masked dance, are for sale and hanging on the walls.

Prom Putvisal with a Hanuman mask he made.
Prom Putvisal with a Hanuman mask he made. Eliah Lillis

“Most of the clients who come here are artists or have an artist background,” says Prom, who graduated from the Royal University of Fine Arts in 2011. “Of course they come here to eat but also to talk amongst themselves about their art. They come and discuss here what they should be working on next.”

Sympathetic to the limited resources of his artist friends, Prom’s restaurant is reasonably priced. Each oyster, which is served with a drizzling of fried garlic and a chili and lime sauce, is only 4500 riel ($1.12). Perhaps Prom’s most unusual dish is the raw blue crab with mango salad ($2.50), in which the acidity of the sauce helps to cook the crab. Less adventurous eaters can try the steamed rock crab with Chinese noodles ($3.75), or stick to staples like the fresh fried prawns and octopus.

The name, which means “Let’s have a bit”, gets at what Prom is going for – to have a snack, a few cans of Leo, listen to music and kick back with friends, either new or old.

Tos Dak Tich is located at 227 Street 138 in Tuol Kork. Its hours are 6-10pm every day. 098 758 998.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,