I don’t really have much of a sweet-tooth, and would take a decent block of cheese over a bar of chocolate any day of the week. Recently, however, I’ve been craving sweet treats (I blame the weather), and have accidently found myself on a one-woman mission to track down Siem Reap’s most delicious desserts. I know, what a hero I am for taking that task on.
While this has taken somewhat of a toll on both my wallet and my waistline, it has – for better or worse – resulted in a fairly encyclopaedic knowledge of Temple Town’s sugary bounty. Here are a few of my favourites.
By far the most dangerous discovery on my quest was Paris Bakery, which can be found on Wat Bo Road on the corner of Street 26. As the name suggest, this corner café offers a selection of pastries and baked goods worthy of the French capital, ranging from creamy éclairs and tangy lemon tarts, to flaky almond croissants and pain au chocolat. The prices are already very reasonable considering the ingredients involved, and after 6pm almost everything is subject to a 50 percent discount. Use this information wisely.
It would be impossible to discuss Siem Reap’s best baked goods without mentioning the Bang Bang Bakery team. I’m talking seriously indulgent cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, apple crumbles, tarts… the list goes on. At the moment Bang Bang’s goods are only available at the Sunday Farmers’ Market, but their new bakery will be opening its doors – I hear in Kandal Village – any day now so watch this space.
While a great piece of cake is like food for the soul, it’s not always what you’re in the mood for on a sweltering day – and let’s be fair, we’ve had a few of those around here recently. When the heat is on, something cold is called for and that’s when I make a beeline for the Gelato and Coffee Lab on Alley West (opposite Smateria). Lovingly crafted from the best ingredients, their offerings include salted caramel, tiramisu, and local twists like chocolate and Kampot pepper. By far my favourite, however, is the vegan-friendly chocolate sorbet – an absolute revelation.
If you want to keep it healthy while also meeting a craving for something sweet, there are, thankfully, plenty of options around. Arguably leading the way in all-things healthy eating is Vibe, Siem Reap’s first – and only – vegan restaurant, where you’ll find an aesthetically pleasing selection of smoothie bowls, raw cakes, including raw salted caramel and chocolate, protein balls, and – I kid you not – healthy doughnuts. The raw cheesecake at Artillery and the avocado, banana, and chocolate cake at Sister Srey are also excellent guilt-free treats.