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2022-07-15

Top 5 Malaysian Restaurants in Phnom Penh for an Authentic Malay Flare

There’s one thing I noticed during my business trips to Phnom Penh: Malaysian restaurants in Phnom Penh have a limit. No more than 20 spots are serving the right Malay flare that’s up to my palate. But after a few years of going out searching for the best Malay cuisine in Cambodia’s capital city, I’ve finally rounded up a bucket list.

Known as a food haven among expatriates, the streets around BKK1 and the Riverside Path area are filled with a heap of dining hubs serving everything from east to west. French cuisine is definitely a real deal here with a fair share of Middle Eastern and Chinese dishes as well.

Some of the Malaysian food spots on this list are blended with a bit of Chinese culture in the cooking, while some others remain authentic and traditional. Without further ado, here are my five favorite Malaysian restaurants you should check out.

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Cafe Malaya

Are you looking for a homey buffet restaurant serving authentic Malaysian cuisine? I was there twice and was stunned every time. The rate per person is reasonable given the quality of the food. I love the rich curry a lot. It’s filling and a mouthful to fill my empty stomach. The ulam and sambal belacan are some other wonderful choices. Their food inclines towards the northern Malaysian way of cooking with a rich homey feel like something our mother and grandmother made at home.

 

Authentic Malay cuisine
Authentic Malay cuisine

As I remember, the menu is curated daily, which means you’re offered something different time and again. For me, this is a great hook to keep me going back, knowing that I get to be served a new yummy dish the next time I come. Café Malaya is an economical Halah restaurant. So check it out if you're in the mood for some rendang, kurma, or kari!

Mao's Kitchen

This little kitchen is one of the most stylish Malaysian restaurants in Phnom Penh on my bucket list. There’s nothing fancy about it but the add-in of a pool table and electronic dart boards to keep you entertained before the meals come is a thoughtful touch.

Mao’s Kitchen is a Malaysian Chinese eating hole rather than a Malay-online restaurant. One of my favorite choices is the seafood and Bak Kut Teh. But other than that, Mao is also known for its satay and curry which blends a rich Indonesian flare. Going above and beyond, their hospitality is second to none.

 

The curry is wonderful
The curry is wonderful

Malaysia Hut

Friendly, economical, and delicious, Malaysia Hut is a real deal in the scene of Phnom Penh’s Malaysian food. This is one of the first places I went to while I was out searching for an affordable Malay spot for a quick lunch.

Malaysia Hut came across as an excellent choice. Whenever I came, it was a full house inside, especially when lunch was around the corner.

The eatery is nestled under a big old building. My Malaysian friends were in awe. The food comes in big portions with a traditional flavor profile. Their kuehs replenished for afternoon tea breaks receive a standing ovation from the locals and visitors alike. But in my case, I can’t stress how awesome the Nasi Lemak is. I love to go for the fish every time even though I’m not really a big fan of fish. However, Malaysia Hut totally nails it. The fish is not too heavy or fishy that I like.

 

Nasi Lemak and Nasi Goreng are two of the most iconic Malaysian food
Nasi Lemak and Nasi Goreng are two of the most iconic Malaysian food

Wau Phnom Penh

Wau is a Malaysian halal restaurant that’s nestled at the back of a less-traveled street off Norodom Boulevard. Authentic Halah cuisine is served in a friendly and homey atmosphere in a buffet style. The rate per person is a steal given such a high quality of food that is constantly stocked up on the bar. They also offer prix-fixe courses which are around USD 5 for the main course.

 

A nutrition-packed breakfast to kick start your day
A nutrition-packed breakfast to kick start your day

It has an indoor and outdoor dining space but the outdoor space is cozier in the evening. As a Halal restaurant, alcohol is not available. But you shouldn’t miss out on their Malaysian tea and Milo. For those who are not sure what Milo is, think Aldi’s NRG Maxx but Southeast Asian! If you go there for breakfast, I’m sure you’ll be amazed. The combination of the rich and milky iced Milo with the hearty and savory Malaysian food is beyond imagination. It’s cheap, easy on the palate, and tasty.

And if you’re telling me you’re going during lunch, make sure to check out their durian cream candy! It’s the best treat to end your meal and beat the annoying heat of Phnom Penh.

The best time to hit Wau should be in the morning between 7 am and 8 am when the house is not packed with people and the ambiance remains quiet. But otherwise, feel free to check it out either for lunch or casual dinner.

Uncle Fu Restaurant

Last but not least, Uncle Fu Comes to the rescue to save your craving for the Singapore-Malay treats. I was caught off by the news about Uncle Fu Restaurant in Phnom Penh. It was a column written about his inspiring journey of opening up a restaurant on Street 294 after losing his favorite position as a chef after his workplace was sold off.

Soon after the door was opened in 2019, Uncle Fu Restaurant grew in popularity in town, dishing up drool-worthy meals for those who crave Malaysian dishes in Phnom Penh.

The Malaysian food here has a strong Chinese influence. They are all scrumptious and affordable.

Let’s take the deep-fried frog with ginger for instance. A generous serving comes at under USD 6. What a steal! If you love seafood, then make sure to go for salted egg golden prawns! Its buttery goodness and savory are still dancing in my mind the moment I’m putting down these words.

 

Ultimate yum!
Ultimate yum!

Friendly reminder: Uncle Fu is closed for “Rest” days on Monday once every two weeks. Plus, some of the meals require a one-day booking beforehand. For the latest updates, check out its official website before coming.

With these five Malaysian restaurants in Phnom Penh above, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled. Bookmark this curated list and enjoy!

Read more travel articles in Cambodia and inspiration from Luxcity.com.

Sally Luxcity

Written by Sally Luxcity

Head of Sales - Luxicty Hotel & Apartment.

Sally Luxcity: Head of Sales - Luxcity Hotel & Apartment. She’s been a seller for over 10 years and writes for many luxury hotels on blogging and website strategy.