O VER a hundred new restaurants have opened on the eastern side of the Japanese friendship bridge to cater to the large increase in weekend tourism.
Traveling along Route 6A from the bridge you can see on the left side of the road wide open plains and a large lake with aquatic plants growing in it, to the right people are busy cultivating their vegetable plantations.
Along the road you can not help seeing hundreds of restaurants on both sides, all of which sell Banh Chheo and barbecue in addition to the other food.
Many Phnom Penh residents have turned to the 7 km stretch of countryside over the bridge called Chroy Changwa for weekend picnics and recreation.
Restaurant owner Srey Poeu said: "My business has only been open a few months and already I'm making 100,000 riel on Saturday or Sunday.
"I get both Cambodian and foreign customers at my restaurant [called Chamka Trabek about 5 km from the bridge]."
A group of young Phnom Penh people said: "We enjoy coming to Chroy Changwa very much because it is a lovely place, and very near- you can come in the evening and return home before it gets too late.
"There are many restaurants on the lake so that we can sit taking in the fresh air and enjoy eating our favorite food Ban Chheo."
Banh Chheo is a popular Cambodian pie. It is made of bean sprouts and chopped chicken or pork covered by fried egg and wrapped in a flour pastry.
It is served with salad and sauce and is usually a favorite alternative for people having a picnic or party.
The owner of Chan Kiri restaurant, 4 km from the bridge, said: "I always get many customers on the weekends and they usually enjoy eating Banh Chheo.
"I make a profit of 10,000 riel on weekdays, and on weekends I can make two or three times that amount."
She said the restaurant opened after the bridge was fixed, and beforehand the place was very quiet because Phnom Penh visitors could only get to Chroy Changwa by boat.
The three popular health resorts close to Phnom Penh: Keb Thmey, Kien Svay, Ampe Phnom, report a drop in business since the opening of the bridge
A Keb Thmey fruit seller said: "Before the bridge opened I made 50,000 riel from selling fruit on weekends, now I make less than 10,000 riel.
"I think people have turned to Chroy Changwa for weekend recreation and relaxation because it is newly opened and quite near."