Street Food Ha Tien Border

street food ha tien

The border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia which links Kep with Ha Tien is actually one of the easiest and quickest places to cross between the two countries, as well as being the gateway to both Kampot on the Cambodian side and Phu Quoc on the Vietnamese one.

Being a border area it is also pretty bustling for travelers and thus a cool place to hang out. And should you find yourself on either side of said border you will be pleased to know you can get yourself some scran.

Why cross this border?

Usually this border is crossed en-route from Kampot and on your way to Phu Quoc. To get to the border also involves around a 45 minute drive from Kep, with both cities being reachable by train. One can also go south to Sihanoukville and Cambdoias southernmost islands.

The main reasons to go into Ha Tien is to transfer to the ferry to Phu Quoc. This is the main Vietnamese tourist island and boasts cheap hotel, restaurants,, bars, as well as the very interesting Phu Quoc prison.

Getting from Ha Tien up to Saigon takes about 7 hours meaning coming through and via Cambodia is probably a more interesting option.

Street Food Ha Tien Border (Vietnamese side).

The difference in economics can be seen as soon as you go over into Vietnam, with the sheer lack of stuff being sold testament to the fact trade is mostly going one way.

On the Vietnamese side there is very little except for an office offering transport to the city and ferries, but there is at least a few vendors selling pho and one guy who was cooking up some decent BBQ, although he seemed tone visiting street food cart rather than a regular.

Crossing the border from here is easy and done by foot meaning long as you have the paperwork you’ll get an easy rode..

Street Food Ha Tien Border Cambodian side

Once you cross from Vietnam into Cambodia you will be amazed at the change of pace of life. Yes Cambodia looks slightly less developed, but it also looks like it has life, with the long road and indeed connecting beach being full of street food, but also markets selling to cross border traders.

And this can be every happy site when you are craving Khmer food. And craving it so much I was that I went to the first vendor I could fine, who happened to be in the car park of one of the casinos on the border. They did standard Khmer BBQ, pong tia kun – which is basically Cambodian balut, but also a dish that was completely new to me – pong muan ang bur!

What is Pong Muan Bur (ពងមាន់អាំងប័រ)

While I cannot speak that great Khmer I have enough to translate this to “egg chicken with butter”. And that is pretty much exactly what it is. A chicken egg is cooked from a clay/porcelain egg cup while butter is added to it and it is mixed.

It is then served lightly undercooked, or rather still cooking with you mixing it about so that it dies not stick to the bowl too much. And what do you get? A culinary sensation! This stuff is the bomb, being not only the perfect Asian/French fusion, but also something close enough to what we would get at home.

Oh and I actually forgot the true kicker about this dish! While I am not sure if this is the done thing, or rather if I invented it Kampot pepper was added and combined with the butter made this something I ended up having thrice!

Khmer egg dishes are indeed plentiful and good and I am not sure I have found a cuisine that utilises them so well.

You can read about Egg Proma here.

And the casino – AKA Haitian Vegas

So if you travel by land outside of Cambodia be it to Thailand, Laos, or Vietnam you will notice a shit tonne of casinos. This can make some areas quit literally casino towns, such as Poipet – where there was famously a recent huge fire that took a number of Thai lives.

Others namely Anlong Veng have just one solitary casino, right next to the grave of Pol Pot. Why all the casinos at border towns? Well Cambodian have made casinos legal for foreigners and allows them for the most part at border town and of course Sihanoukville. This attracts the people of bordering and nearby countries, such as Thailand. Vietnam and China to come for gambling which is illegal in their own countries. And of course it certainly helps that nationals of these countries really like gambling.

And this such a thing that even the tiny Haitian Casino is able to offer month long packages despite there quite literally being nothing on the Cambodian side for 45 minutes. Although to be fair even Rason in North Korea has a casino.

The Haitian Casino is actually quite a strange affair with the hotel being not all that large and the gambling section very modest. This mostly consisted of a games room with people playing live. I did not see any blackjack here, but baccarat was certainly front and center.

In the reception there was actually slop machines and a digital roulette machine. I took my 300,000 dong and despite going to down to 50k managed to walk out with 400k.

Not a bad casino, to be honest I was more impressed with the Pong Muan Bur……