Whether you’ve spent the day discovering ancient temple ruins or simply relaxing by the pool, the intense heat that Siem Reap enjoys just about year-round means that a sweet, preferable cooling treat is often more than welcome. Thankfully, temple town is blessed with an array of great spots at which to tuck into delicious local and international desserts. Here’s our pick of some of the best spots to indulge your sweet tooth in Siem Reap.
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‘The nectar of the gods’ is just about the best description we have heard of the delicious goodness served up by Gelato Lab, located on the small lane of Alley West, along from Pub Street in Siem Reap’s Old Market area. This ice cream joint has a rightfully loyal following, and the extensive selection of ice creams and sorbets are freshly churned in-house each day, resulting in flavours and textures that we reckon are just about unbeatable.
Choose from the likes of salted butter ice cream, as well as outstanding, vegan-friendly sorbets such as the Cioccolato organic 80% Papua New Guinea dark chocolate, Siem Reap mango and dragon fruit, sweet mandarin from southeastern Cambodia’s Kandal province, passion fruit from the Mondulkiri mountains in the east of the country, and strawberries from Chiang Mai in neighbouring Thailand. It’s these dairy-free sorbets that also earned Gelato Lab a deserving place in our round-up of Siem Reap’s best places for vegan food.
Daily, 9am-11.30pm; Alley West (behind Pub Street); 085-757-590; www.facebook.com/gelatolabsiemreap
This new arrival on the Siem Reap foodie scene is dead serious about desserts. Taking its name from the Khmer word for ‘bread’, Bang Bang is a new venture from the folks behind Siem Reap favourite The Hangout, and turns out expertly baked western-style breads (including some spectacular sourdough loaves) and a daily changing menu of delicious, homemade cakes, including – music to our ears – a great selection of vegan options.
Wednesday to Sunday, 9am-7pm; Taphul Road (opposite Idea Decor, and along from Hotel Angkor 89); www.facebook.com/bakerybangbang
Widely recognised as one of temple town’s finest restaurants – and so deservingly in our list of Siem Reap’s best Cambodian restaurants – Malis serves up not just top-notch Cambodian curries and other time-honoured dishes, but also a short but stunning selection of desserts. This is the place to get a taste for some of Cambodia’s famous local desserts – like jasmine-infused mousse with crunchy rice and coconut ice cream, and young palm fruit cooked in coconut milk and served with coconut jelly and vanilla ice cream – as well as modern Asian fusion sweets such as taro dumplings with durian ice cream, and a Kampot pepper and coconut milk crème brûlée with jasmine ice cream, all in the grand surrounding of this plush restaurant.
Daily, 6am- 10pm; Pokambor Avenue; 015-824-888; www.malis-restaurant.com
It is indeed possible to do good while stuffing your face with cupcakes, and Bloom is a case in point. This non-profit café (run by NGO Bloom Asia, which aims to empower poverty-stricken Cambodian women) turns out an amazing range of cupcakes that taste just as incredible as they look, all while providing worthwhile hospitality industry training for disadvantaged locals. Impressive larger cakes are also available to order for birthdays and other occasions. Bloom is the perfect way to while away an afternoon of coffee and cake in air-conditioned comfort – and it’s within walking distance of the Old Market area and countless other gorgeous boutiques, just in case you’re still in need of some additional retail therapy.
Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm; Mondul Road (off Central Market Street); 017-800-301; www.bloom-asia.org
Sister Srey Cafe
Sometimes we should eat non-processed sugars that won’t expand the waste line! That’s why we love heading to Sister Srey Cafe. With a reputation for being the heart of Siem Reap’s yoga community due to gorgeous healthy food, Sister Srey is also a social enterprise. The must-try dishes for clean eaters who have a sweet tooth is the raw passionfruit cheesecake. Gluten free, vegan and processed sugar free, this divine cake is also guilt free! Sister Srey also offer a few other raw sweets options, along with an ever-growing menu of healthy, clean-eating options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. They also do great coffee, but you probably already knew that!
Tuesday to Sunday, 7am-6pm; Near the Old Market; 097-723-8001; www.sistersreycafe.com
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel
Back at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, our own food and menu – encompassing both local specialities, healthy dishes, and international comfort foods – includes a number of delicious Khmer desserts that serve as the perfect introduction to the sweet end of Cambodian cuisine, alongside some much-loved international favourites that we just couldn’t leave out. Look out for our fabulous temple pumpkin custard, a slice of steamed Cambodian sweet pumpkin stuffed with coconut egg custard, and our delicious sesame-battered local banana fritters served with ice cream and all the trimmings.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to explore the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants that Siem Reap has to offer, while also being within easy reach of the famous Angkor Wat temples? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast (including vegan options, of course!) and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.
Where is your favourite place to eat dessert in Siem Reap? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Gelato Lab; Malis; Bloom Café