Artillery Arts Cafe Tour – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

My favorite activity while exploring new cities is sampling the restaurants and deciding what I like the most. In Phnom Penh, our fav little cafe is Artillery Arts Cafe. It’s 100% vegetarian and 100% delicious. Great coffee, too!

Location: behind Wat Phnom, near the Royal Palace.

Recommended dish:  The Macro Bowl (brown rice, lentils, black eyed peas, sweet potato, zucchini, pickled apple cabbage slaw, seaweed, onion, layered with a lovely garlic tahini dressing.)

Spellchecker is telling me I’ve spelled ‘tahini’ wrong.

As Alana is an aspiring cafe-owner, she’s always eager to observe how creative restaurateurs are playing the coffee game around the globe. What works, what doesn’t, what’s unique. When we eat out (which is a lot) she’s always making suggestions to me on how the current restaurant could be improved if they did x, y or z. While I just sit there waiting for the food. Maybe one day pinches of Artillery Arts Cafe will show up in her own little place.

Anyway, the production quality of this video is pretty horrible. I’m attempting to improve my filming skills.

Here’s some observations: As an expat in Cambodia you have 3 primary lifestyle choices: live like a local, live like a Westerner, or adopt the approach we’ve been taking and flip flop between the two. The Khmer places are cheap and yummy, however you may sacrifice some sanitation depending on the place, and often employees only speak Khmer. Which is fine and expected, just thought it was worth mentioning. Your budget can stretch for months if you stick to the local way of living, or at least, the local way of eating. Alana and I eat at the Khmer place up the street and enjoy a 3 course meal with alcohol for around $10 total. That sound you’re hearing is the personal finance angels singing.

There is also an abundance of Western style dining options (I was really surprised just how many – everywhere!) in Phnom Penh, and at these establishments you’ll basically pay what you would back home. The staff are always local Khmer, but they’ll speak English well. Excellent food, but your bank balance takes a beating. The personal finance angels shame you.

South East Asia has a reputation of having an extremely low cost of living, which is often the draw prompting future expats to make the move. It is cheap here, but only if you adopt the local way of living. Your morning coffee at a Western style shop is still gonna run you $5. I tried to buy Scrabble at the mall here and it was $47 USD! JESUS. I guess we’re playing card games until we return home. Scat, anyone?

Artillery is a Western style place. I could imagine myself cutting and pasting it into downtown St. John’s.

More pictures from our Saturday lunch at Artillery:

Artillery Outside. Cool pink bike.
Artillery inside. Note steps heading up to mezzanine (I hope I’m using that term correctly). They sell arts and crafts up there, to Alana’s great enjoyment. Note 2, see all the white people. That’s how you know you’re in a Western spot.
A store in the alley named Bong. Alana bought things.
Inside Bong. I was delighted to see a hockey stick being put to use!
As we walked we came across another art gallery. As Alana explored I took a photo. Note the cute dog. He growled at first but then went back to sleep.

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