9 Cool Spots in Battambang
July 3, 2014
Sleek new resto-bars, cafés and creative spaces signal a culinary and cultural renaissance in arty Battambang. By Lara Dunston
Published on Jul 3, 2014
1. Leading the renaissance is stylish new resto-bar Jaan Bai (St. 2; +855 78 263 144; cambodianchildrenstrust.org), backed by Bangkok chef David Thompson. Expect creative cocktails, fashionable small sharing plates, pan-Asian dishes and Thai classics.
Asian dishes and Thai classics at Jaan Bai
2. Sip Cambodia's finest coffee at Kinyei Café (St. 1½; +855 17 860 003; facebook.com/kinyei), an espresso bar with rustic furniture, where Cambodia's 2013 barista champion Sakana Long makes her award-winning Cambodian Cappuccino, with palm sugar, pineapple syrup and coconut milk.
Kinyei Café boasts top-notch beans and baristas
3. Cafe Eden (85 St.1; +855 53 731 525; cafeedencambodia.com) is a brunch favorite for its bagels, crêpes and huevos rancheros. It's also the spot for sunset beers, sidewalk seating and an upstairs balcony for prime riverside people-watching. Antique floor tiles and clever touches like menus printed on wine bottles give Eden a rustic bohemian charm that's old-school Battambang.
4. Local institution Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh (145 St. 2), known simply as Chinese Noodle by expats, won't win awards for its décor, but the unassuming hole-in-the-wall serves up sublime hand-pulled noodles and dumplings made to order.
Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh serves some of the best noodles in town
5. At re-launched Sammaki Gallery (87 St. 2½; facebook.com/sammakibtb), home to Battambang's first professional barista school— courtesy of the Vittoria Coffee brand—you can get your caffeine fix while browsing local art. The light-filled gallery has a library and community space where Phare Ponleu Selpak performing arts school graduates like to peruse books or edit films.
Light-filled Sammaki Gallery
6. Check out an eclectic range of Cambodian-made gifts at the hippy-chic boutique of local artist Khchao Touch and her curator husband Darren Swallow. Jewel in the Lotus (76 St. 2½; +855 9 260 158) sells retro posters and CDs from Cambodia's Golden Age, traditional kramas (scarves), hill tribe textiles, and handmade soaps and incense.
Original Cambodian cassette tapes
7. Operated by Battambang artist Mao Soviet, Make Maek (66 St. 2½; +855 17 946 108; makemaek.com) is a contemporary gallery with an artist-in-residence program, library and regular new exhibitions.
Make Maek gallery
8. Rent a retro 1970's-style bike or a mountain bike from Battambang Bikes (60 St. 2½; +855 97 482 4104), a hire shop and community space for cycling enthusiasts, with complimentary Wi-Fi and coffee. Owners Jam and Tha also offer art- and architecture-themed tours and country rides.
9. Swallow's Lotus Gallery & Bar (53 St. 2½; +855 9 260 158) is a snazzy new bar and gallery set in a restored shop house. With regular DJs, performance artists and experimental sound events, there's always something going on. A Culinary Institute of America-trained chef helms the kitchen, doing classic burgers, and dishes with a southern-U.S. twist.
Lotus Gallery & Bar's stylish interior