After spending several weeks in Siem Reap, Cambodia (really, I’ve been here off and on since February of this year), I’ve become a regular at a few different local restaurants in town. The one that I go to most often, which I found on my second day in town after walking nearby the Old Market and Pub Street and peeking in to see where the most Khmer were eating, was called Rina Rino.
With a big yellow awning, next to quite a few other local eateries lining the street, this unassuming place is often bustling throughout the day and has quite the crowd of people that rotate through as of late afternoon to pick up a quick order of already prepared takeout for their family’s dinners.
They also sell draft Cambodia beer for $0.50 USD, and make some stiff and decent cocktails starting from $1.25 each. There are a large variety of shakes available to help stave off the sweltering heat, with smalls at $0.50 or $1 for the large. While it takes awhile for the food to come out and never all at once when in a group, it’s flavourful in terms of Cambodian cuisine, and is freshly made. They must only have a couple of burners in the back, as each dish tends to arrive at the table one by one, and it will be piping hot.
At this point, I’ve tried plenty of the dishes and now have established a few definite favourites.
The Fresh Spring Rolls can be made with Prawns or Chicken, and come with a sweet and salty dipping sauce, that likely consists of chilis, sugar, and fish sauce. They are a very large serving at $1.50, and a good share starter.
Fresh Spring Rolls
My absolute favourite is the Spicy Fried Eggplant with Pork, a savoury dish with basil, eggplant, chilis and what may be oyster sauce. I’ve tried this with chicken as well, but the sauce for this is made differently and is more thick and sweet, so I definitely prefer the version with pork. Each of the main dishes are also served with plate of rice, so at $2.50, this is also excellent value for such a tasty meal.
Spicy Fried Eggplant with Pork The Prawns and Pomelo Salad is refreshing, but I also find it to be a bit too sweet and creamy in terms of the sauce. I would prefer a light flavourful sauce myself, so don’t often order this anymore. It’s filled with peanuts, basil, plenty of prawns, fresh pieces of pomelo, and shredded carrots and green and red bell peppers.
Prawns and Pomelo Salad
Finally, the Fisk Amok, a traditional Camodian dish that I’ve had at several restaurants throughout Siem Reap, is great. The version made by Rina Rino is the best that I’ve had in town, including the one that I’ve heard raved about at the Sugar Palm Restaurant. It’s a steamed fish dish, with coconut cream and curry base, along with kaffir lime leaves as a garnish. This one is also served with morning glory stir fried in garlic and oyster sauce and steamed rice.
If you’re looking for a great atmosphere and Westernized Cambodian food in Siem Reap, Rina Rino is not for you. However, if you want some really good local food that is well prepared and flavourful for Cambodia, served by sweet and friendly staff, this is definitely the place to go! You can find it along one edge of the Old Market near Pub Street.
Rina Rino Restaurant
Old Market, Siem Reap
Kingdom of Cambodia