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A place to get clothes clean and dry and a caffeine high

Missing Socks Laundry Cafe owner Junqi Gan and her barista/co-owner Khan Siang Oie.
Missing Socks Laundry Cafe owner Junqi Gan and her barista/co-owner Khan Siang Oie. Nicky Sullivan

A place to get clothes clean and dry and a caffeine high

The doors will swing open on Siem Reap’s first 24-hour laundromat and cafe tomorrow, and the owners have offered an open invitation to drop in for an introductory $1 coffee during their first week.

Missing Socks Laundry Cafe is the brainchild of 30-year-old Junqi Gan, who already had a cafe in her home town, Kota Bharu in Malaysia, but wanted to expand.

She decided Siem Reap was the place to be.

“I wanted to grow, but it’s not the best time to do that in Malaysia, and the market is very competitive. Then Siem Reap came to mind. I had been here before, 10 years ago, and I took a look at how the town is growing and decided to check it out again,” she said.

She roped in two friends and now business partners, Chia Heng Tan and Khan Siang Oie, for two visits last year, during which they hit on the idea of a laundry cafe. “They’re really booming in Malaysia right now, and we were surprised that there are none here yet,” she said.

The laundry part of the cafe consists of three heavy-duty washer-dryers, each weighing 200kg and able to take up to 10 kilograms of dirty duds. One 30-minute wash is $3, including the detergent, which is automatically added – so no need to carry that along. Drying will take another 20 to 30 minutes, at $1 per 10 minutes.

Inside, the cafe is modern and minimalist, with a smart, pared-down look that comes in part from the premise’s former incarnation as a spa.

The barista is 29-year-old Oie, who developed his passion for and knowledge of coffee while living as a barista in Melbourne, the cafe culture capital of all Asia.

Their main food feature is waffles, including a waffle burger, and the short menu includes $4 breakfast and lunch sets. Cake fans are well catered for too, with homemade carrot cake, banoffee pie and more.

Missing Socks Laundry Cafe is on the Stung Thmey Road junction, just past Golden Temple Hotel and Spa. They are open from 7am tomorrow – don’t forget your laundry.

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