For the uninitiated Poipet is the border city that site between Cambodia and Thailand. It is not the only border crossing, but it is bar far the busiest and most important. As a border city there’s a lot going on here, such as Street Food Poipet, which is rankly epic…..
Unless you are crossing the border there is not much reason to come here, the football team has now gone, and the town is rather sleazy. As a border town, aside from the border there are casinos, with one last year famously having a series fire.
Aside from the casinos, which tend to have Thai and Chinese guests every 3rd shop seems to me “massage shop” and every TukTuk driver wants to rip you off. Standard border town stuff…….
Sleeping in Poipet
There are bugger all hotels in Poipet and the ones that there are, much like Sihanoukville are Chinese. Now that they are Chinese need not be a problem, but your general bang for buck tends to change.
Quite literally one day before in Battambang I was enjoying a great hotel with a pool for 30 bucks, whilst in Poipet the same price got me dirty hotel with a rock hard bed. Supply and demand…..
Eating and drinking in Poipet
When it comes to Poipet this really is a town with a huge personality disorder. Part of the Poipet draw is the casinos, but Vegas this is not. These tend to be caused in dirty old casinos full of Chinese and Thai’s. These have been a bit controversial with there being a huge fire in one last year.
Because of the casinos there also needs to a bunch of stuff to keep the foreigners happy, so there is every grade of Chinese restaurant, KYV’s with pretty hostesses and more “massage joints” that you can shake a stick at.
And then there is the more rough and ready Cambodian part. This looks and feels like any other small town within the Kingdom, with the restaurants street food being OK and enough to survive.
And then there’s the Ace in The Hole, the Night Market
Poipet Street Food at Poipet Night Market
The pinnacle of Street Food Poipet is not only the best the town has to offer, but perhaps one of the best ranges and quality of street food that I have managed to get in all of Cambodia.
Located next to the “famous” Circle K, that is not all that good, you have perhaps 7 rows of stalls selling basically every type of Khmer street food you could image, but also a whole heap of Thai stuff. It is after all on the border, with it literally ending up like Thai and Khmer street food had a beautiful baby.
And the street food Poipet and Thai marriage does not end there, with the vendors also accepting Thai baht.
So to street food at Poipet night market. There was plenty of Khmer style meat and sausages, but instead of being cooked in the regular brother were done in a Thai style hot sauce, very good.
Other greats there included spring rolls, which while you see a lot in Cambodian restaurants are less common on the street. Ans instead of Khmer lort cha/ fried noodles, the accompaniment of choice was Pad Thai, which while not earths shattering was pretty damned good.
And there is the squid, Thai and Cambodian squid tends to be huge, cheap and really tasty, as well as being a street food classic. The squid here was as good as any I have had on either side of the border and was so cheap one could fill themselves on it for maybe $5.
One of the coolest parts though were the sweets and drinks, with once again there being a real mix of Thai and Khmer tastes. With this the Thai side delivered the bottled cokes, or beers that get whisked around in the ice until becoming slushy as well as actual candy/jelly sweets that they really do not do in Cambodia.
From the Khmer side they offer the classic Cambodian deserts that really should should not work, with ingredients like sweet corn, as well as even ducks eggs. It is still an acquired taste, bit one I am happy to have squired.
Which leads to the last essential street food you can get in Poipet, but not one you cross the border, Cambodian bugs, which whilst not as prevalent as at a Cambodian road stop are still there in force.
We got some fresh ones, some with eggs inside, all salty and frankly the perfect beer snack to end an uneventful night in Poipet.
I’m not now a fan of this town, but the street food Poipet has to offer means I will certainly not dread passing through as I often do….