I spent the past weekend back in Siem Reap, my first visit there in almost 2 years, with a very dear friend who was visiting from the UK. 2 years is a very long time in terms of the hospitality scene in South East Asia & I was concerned I may not be up to date with all of the best places to visit, and so was delighted when I read about the newly launched food tour company “Taste Siem Reap”
We decided to try their “Taste For a Good Cause” Tour, a 3 hour private tuk tuk tour that takes in 3 social enterprise restaurants whose goal is that of investing in their teams.
Mr Sothal, our lovely Tuk Tuk driver was ready and waiting when we arrived in the lobby of our hotel for our 6pm pick up time (timing is flexible and is decided by the guest) and we were very impressed with his friendly nature, not to mention his comfy Tuk Tuk, and driving skills!
We started at Footprints Cafe, a new opening since I last visited; 100% of their profits are ploughed back into the communities grants for educational projects.
Taste Siem Reap had confirmed our dietary requirements in advance, and after choosing a cocktail from their fun, locally inspired list, we were served our sharing appetiser platter of Mini Mushroom sliders (absolutely delicious) Sweet Potato Tater Tots, Mango Salad & Fresh Rice Paper Spring Rolls.
I was really impressed with how generous the sharing platter was & how lovely & flavourful everything was, safe to say I was extremely pleased with how our evening was starting out!
Next we moved on to Haven, a “non-religious social enterprise and a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults from orphanages and safe shelters, as well as underprivileged young adults from very rural poor areas”
I had visited Haven on several occasions when I lived in Siem Reap, however they have since moved locations to a new and beautiful semi open garden space and I was really impressed with the step up in look and feel.
The staff were well briefed on our tour, and after ordering our wine, we sat back and waited until our main courses, Fresh Fish Fillet with Green Mango, and a Tofu & Vegetable Stir-Fry (again, chosen after taking our dietary requirements down when we booked) arrived promptly.
We were again impressed with the taste and quality of the dishes we received, I was especially thankful that the main courses were on the lighter side after the HUGE appetiser platter we had enjoyed earlier!
We got back in the Tuk Tuk for a short ride over to Marum, one of my favourite restaurants from my time in Siem Reap, where we were to have our desserts.
Located in a pretty traditional wooden house & surrounding gardens, Marum is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalized young people in Siem Reap since 2005.
We ordered another drink, this time a delicious frozen Mango Daiquiri, and within just a few minutes our desserts of Fried Bananas & Ice Cream & Sticky Black Rice with Mango were served.
I must say I was very impressed with the speed and efficiency of all the restaurants we visited and I enjoyed the fact that much of the decision making and been done for us which meant we could focus on a much need catch up and gossip without being distracted by menus etc
The tour ends with a drop off back at your hotel, although we decided to stay in Siem Reap for a few more drinks in order to round off the night and Mr Sothal was only too happy to drop us off at our chosen bar.
Taste For A Good Cause – Taste Siem Reap Food Tour lasts around 3 hours & costs $43 per person (with alcoholic drinks) or $35 pp (without alcohol) which I thought was very reasonable for the service we received. I was really impressed with their organisational skills, choice of restaurants and lovely personal touches, like our itinerary being printed and rolled into a woven bamboo tube, so we always knew what was next. Definitely something to consider doing when visiting temple town!