A town so full of culinary and creative treasures it’s impossible to find them all in one short trip. Step forward the treasure hunters at Taste Siem Reap…
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in Cambodia, whether you were born here or arrived on yesterday afternoon’s flight from Bangkok, there is always so much more to discover, and that is as true of Cambodia’s unique culinary landscape as it is of its cities, forests and mountains.
And by far the easiest way of finding out more is to let someone else who knows that landscape intimately do all the thinking, planning, organising, scheduling, transporting and everything else for you. In other words, a food or discovery tour. Taste Siem Reap has been doing exactly that for the last five years and they have developed a whole range of tours that are designed to help their guests find the best of Siem Reap, whether they’re into art, shopping, cocktails, vegan food or a delicious taste of Cambodia.
The creation of Evi-Elli La Valle, Taste Siem Reap was born out of her frustration at the number of tourists who (used to…) come to Cambodia but only stay for three nights. There’s no way anyone can appreciate even a fraction of what Siem Reap has to offer in such a short space of time, so she figured out a way to help people experience as much as possible in the time that they have.
“Why limit yourself to one venue for the evening when you can dot around town trying a few different places in one night? The size of Siem Reap, and its beautiful new roads, make the tours possible and it’s usually only five or ten minutes from one place to the next.”
The Taste dining tours are constructed exactly like an ordinary meal is, with an aperitif, starter, main course and dessert. The only difference is that each course is enjoyed in a different venue, each of which is selected for its excellence in a particular domain.
For Evi-Elli, offering a great food experience is at the heart of her tours, but great food is a full-sensory experience which is why she seeks out venues that offer beautiful environments and careful attention to service too.
“I want our guests to come away with a taste of the best of our little town,” says Evi-Elli. “People often like to do our tours on their first evening, as give a little orientation of the city. And the next day, they almost always go back to their favourite place on the night.”
The three-course Khmer Discovery Tour includes an opportunity to savour the officially legendary Amok prepared by Sugar Palm, founded by Kethana Dunnet, before finishing up at Malis for dessert which will always include one of our signature dishes, the Kampot Pepper Crème Brûlée. “I think it’s so important to end on a high, so Malis is the perfect dessert spot,” says Evi-Elli. The Khmer Discovery Tour has been instrumental in dismantling wide-ranging misconceptions about Cambodian food.
But Taste Siem Reap offer more than that. Whether your passion is food, or cocktails, art, shopping or finding out about the divine little out-of-the-way places that so many visitors to Siem Reap never discover (and more’s the pity for them), there’s something to be found in what they have put together. “We recently had Cambodian guests who had never heard of Theam’s Gallery or been to any of the places that we visited,” says Evi-Elli. “For them, it was such a great alternative for an evening out in Siem Reap”.
Until recently, all of Taste Siem Reap’s tours ran in the evenings, but they recently launched a new daytime tour which blends contemporary art, French and Khmer cuisine and a chance to discover Siem Reap’s best-kept secrets, including two of the loveliest garden restaurants in Siem Reap, Le Cul de Sac and Endora.
Evi-Elli is also the brains behind Satu which can be found at FCC Angkor by Avani. This is a one-stop shop for some of the best design brands in Siem Reap and Cambodia, including Eric Raisina, Garden of Desire, Ammo, Herbal Kulen and Jaya Organics. There so many more that it’s frankly impossible to give a true impression of the range here. But you can always find out more by joining one of Taste Siem Reap’s tours…
More information on: www.tastesiemreap.com