Review: Romdeng

21 December 2016

I made my way to Phnom Penh on the same plane that took me to Vientiane (that’s how Vietnam Airlines does that route), so in some ways you can say I had a 3-day layover. But the flight was busy, full of bloody backpackers…just what I need… At least they were going *TO* Cambodia, so they aren’t rancidly odourous yet…

Anyway, we got to Phnom Penh and I managed to get through all the immigration mess because I had the foresight to get a visa beforehand — instead of applying for one at the border. But it took awhile for the bags to come out. Nevertheless, I found my car and we were en route to town — held up thanks to the all-powerful Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cavalcade heading out of the VIP terminal…

A long drive into town and I saw the different parts of the city, from highly developed to starting to become developed. We got to the older part of town and to my hotel, a cute little boutique place near the Royal Palace called VMansion. Nice rooms, very unique design. I just chilled in the room for a bit and the hotel had a working computer, so I managed to get some stuff done that I couldn’t thanks to that heavy HP brick I’m carrying around…

I ended up going out for an early dinner as I had not eaten all day. I walked a few blocks from my hotel to one of the best-known places to eat in town, Romdeng. It’s the sister restaurant to Makphet in Vientiane, where I had a rather lacklustre lunch…but let’s see how this place is.

For one, service was already better. I ordered and chilled with a nice cocktail. If I drank mostly beer in Hanoi and wine in Vientiane, I was doing cocktails here in Phnom Penh. Enjoyed it and my appetiser came — and I smiled.


It’s been probably 2 decades since I’ve had spiders, and these tarantulas were very nice. Meaty, much nicer than the ones I had before. Nice little glaze, with a delicious pepper sauce. Nice start!

As I was hungry I ordered 2 main courses. As they brought the dishes out, they told me I had one more rice if I needed it. I did. First was the five-spice pork belly…


Not bad, the Kampot peppercorns were a nice addition. The second dish features beef, basil and red ant…


Pretty good, but there were too few ants. Nice sauce here, and helped me put down more rice. An okay meal overall, I settled up and headed out. Expensive for local standards, but the raison d’etre of this restaurant is to help disadvantaged youth to learn a trade, so I’m all for helping out while filling my tummy.

I wandered back to my cute hotel and despite it being still rather humid and uncomfortable, I chilled at the bar and had a cocktail or two before I retired up the stairs and crashed out early. Another early morning tomorrow, and the heat and humidity will really challenge me…

Romdeng [រំដេង]
#74, Street 174
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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