The cost of dining may well be on the increase across Phnom Penh but there are still a swathe of places offering plenty of bang for your buck. AsiaLIFE singles out some of the best.

Kaifun

There is no need to splash the cash to fill up on food at Kaifun because here all items on the menu are $1.50. Taking its inspiration from Singapore’s hawker centres, which offer a selection of snacks at affordable prices, Kaifun replicates that typical tapas eating experience in a courtyard setting. Diners can eat inside or at the outside shaded deck area, which skirts a courtyard containing a clay pizza oven, blue VW Kombie van transformed into a taco truck, and a street barbecue cart. Rice and noodle dishes are made inside. Dishes include chicken curry rice, pork belly, vegetarian pizza, chicken burger and Cuban sandwich. The low prices nudge towards the portions, which are small, but ordering a few to share between friends makes it fun.

25 Street 334.
Tel: 023 900 545.
Open daily from noon to 9pm
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Poki Poke

Since introducing its “sushi in a bowl” concept to the capital in 2015, Poki Poke has been popular with Phnom Penhers wanting to refuel without breaking the bank. For those not in the know, poke hails from Hawaii, where the raw fish salad is often served as an appetiser. Drawing influences from Japan, the dish traditionally contains raw fish, soy sauce and wasabi, however, this eatery’s revamped version sees brown or white rice tossed into a bowl, with the choice of salmon or tuna sashimi, mackerel, chicken or prawns. Next up is choosing from an array of additional ingredients, ranging from crabmeat, avocado and potato salad, to cucumber and masago egg. This is then topped with a dressing, varying from spicy oil to mayonnaise. With regular bowls ranging from $1.50 to $2.50 and large bowls from $2.50 to $3.50, what’s not to like.

71 Sothearos Boulevard.
Tel: 017 570 923.
Open daily, from 10am to 9pm.
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YamYam

With a second branch set to open at Vattanac Tower any day now, YamYam has been satisfying stomachs with its quality street-style food, served at rock bottom prices, since opening on Street 310 less than a year ago. Aiming to present Chinese and Khmer street food in a trendy, indoor setting, owner Bryan Bai has tried to keep prices below the $2.50 mark. The menu takes in familiar favourites, such as Chinese pork bao, spring rolls, tempura and kuy teav noodle soup served with pork or seafood, dumplings and rice dishes. The buffet lunch is also a hit, offering six Khmer dishes and a soup for $2.50. The great news is, they’ve just started doing deliveries during lunch, so you don’t even have to leave home to stuff your face. The casual diner’s hip vibe is rounded off by contemporary murals on the walls, created by local street artists.

69 Street 310.
Tel: 070 890 000.
Open daily, from 6am to 9pm.

Irrawaddi

BKK1 stalwart Irrawaddi has been pleasing Phnom Penhers’ purse strings for a decade, with the Burmese owner refusing to push up prices despite them rising all around her. Specialising in authentic Burmese food, the menu’s astonishing affordability has not compromised on quality. For $2.50, the lunch set changes daily and takes in a main dish, such as prawn curry, soup and a small salad, including tealeaf and long bean salads. This is followed by a plate of fruit and sweet Burmese tea. Outside of lunch, prices remain reasonable – between $2 and $5 – and take in hilsa fish stew ($4), spicy shrimp ($3.50), coconut rice ($2) and baked aubergine salad with spring onions ($2.50). Angkor beer is the only alcohol on the menu ($1) but diners are welcome to bring their own wine or beer without being charged a corkage fee.

24 Street 334.
Tel: 099 614 641.
Open daily, from 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 10pm.

The Vegetarian

This simple eatery definitely won’t burn a hole in your pocket with its super cheap menu, where dishes start at $1. The clue is in the name and The Vegetarian only serves meat-free food. Dishes on offer are mainly Khmer – although a few other Asian delights are thrown into the mix – with the compact menu taking in treats such as lotus root in cashew cream and tofu puffs. Despite the rock bottom prices, the portions are healthy and diners won’t leave hungry. Sat at the end of Street 19, near Sihanouk Boulevard, the restaurant boasts a tropical garden to the front that hides an intimate courtyard, with wooden tables and chairs scattered in the dappled shade, as well as a small indoor eating area.

158 Street 19.
Tel: 012 905 766.
Open daily, from 10.30am to 8.30pm.