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Travel Report: Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap. April 2020.

Sladja and I were on our way to Kulen National Park one humid Siem Reap morning when I suddenly had a brainwave. “Shall we grab a couple of flat whites from Krousar?” Needless to say, her answer was a resounding “yes”.

Visit Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

Siem Reap is a city with a thriving cafe-restaurant scene. In fact, over the last three months, we’ve visited as many of SR’s eateries as possible. Thus the idea was born to publish an exhaustive overview of Siem Reap’s plentiful food and drink options. But then Coronavirus struck and virtually three quarters of the places we’d been to closed their doors! Some are on a break, others might well be closed for good. Luckily, one of our favourite joints, Krousar Cafe, is still soldiering on!

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

Coffee time at Krousar Cafe Siem Reap

Jason whipping up a couple of flat whites.

“Two flat whites coming right up!” chirped Jason, Krousar’s hardworking Australian co-founder. Hailing from the city of Perth, he fell in love with Cambodia during his first visit back in 2013. At that time he worked for an NGO that built toilets and wells for poor families.

APTBY A Place To Be Yourself NGO Siem Reap Cambodia.

A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY).

Later, having relocated to Siem Reap permanently, Jason started his own NGO, a drop-in space called A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY). Finally, the idea of Krousar Cafe was born and it opened in July 2019. Launched in partnership with his mother Marj and partner Tola, their motto is “We are family!” Because they are quite literally a family, and due to the fact that they wanted their cafe to feel as welcoming and cosy as possible.

“Mum’s passion is in the kitchen, Tola’s is behind the coffee machine, and mine is in people”. 

We Are Family Krousar Cafe Siem Reap

At Krousar Cafe it’s all about home-cooked food of the highest quality. Sladja and I certainly felt that during our first visit here back in February. From their squidgy, cheese and tomato toasties and fluffy chocolate muffins, to the creamy coffee and ice-cold fruit juices, we instantly knew we’d found somewhere special.

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

Lunch at Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

A very Krousar breakfast!

So much of what is great about Krousar is in the little details. Like the way Tola always throws a “bong” onto the end of his sentences. This Khmer word is an affectionate term that translates roughly as older brother or sister. Elsewhere, the wifi is always strong for people who come to work, Marj often stops by our table to ask how we’re doing and I love their gorgeous collection of cups, mugs and saucers.

“We probably spent about 3 years collecting cups and saucers each week from a local second-hand shop. They just piled up in our small room while we saved money”.

Cups and mugs Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

For a while Sladja and I treated Krousar purely as a breakfast joint. Once we’d worked our way through the various toastie fillings, I decided to take a punt on their $4 cooked breakfast. I was not disappointed.

Breakfast ast Krousar Cafe Siem Reap

Bacon, baked beans, scrambled egg, butter and brown toast. Just $4.

One afternoon we figured on bucking the trend and came to Krousar for dinner. “Oh my god, cottage pie!” I cried, and wasted no time in ordering it. Jason actually added this to the menu after a customer suggested it. Of course it proved popular.

“If someone has a craving for something that is not on our menu, or they want to adapt from our menu, we always try and accommodate”. 

Dinner at Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Front: Krousar Cafe’s wonderful Cottage Pie. Back: Fried Chicken & Rice with Green Mango Salad.

Every day Tola takes a trip to the local markets for fruit and veg, while meat is sourced from reputable local companies. They also offer vegetarian alternatives, such as an inventive pumpkin and eggplant lasagne. And yes, Krousar is also vegan, paleo and keto-friendly. I wish we could say we’ve tried everything on the menu, but alas we seem to keep ordering the Cottage Pie.

Cottage pie takeaway Krousar Cafe Siem Reap

Cottage Pie takeaway from Krousar Cafe.

One evening, deep into a week of self isolation at our apartment, we even took advantage of Krousar’s delivery service for a sudden craving while watching a movie. It was after 21:30 in the evening and, typically, it was the tireless Jason himself who came to deliver it! Not pictured, but equally enjoyed, was a heavenly slice of Lemon Cheesecake for good measure!

Fresh fruit juices Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

A Pineapple Shake & Carrot, Apple & Ginger Juice.

In these turbulent times of closed doors, social distancing and increased anxiety, it’s wonderful to see a place like Krousar battling on. Moreover, they really deserve it as people who are clearly in this business for all the right reasons.

“We believe that family is not just blood and that everyone needs a little love, warmth and support in their lives. If at the very least that is what we provide to customers, then we feel like it’s a job well done”.

Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

So if like me, you’re stuck in Siem Reap and you need a bit of comfort in your life, why not order that cottage pie for wherever it is you’re hiding out.

Self isolation service Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

The Self Isolation Service, from Krousar Cafe.

Feeling claustrophobic? Come and visit the cafe! The waitress that serves us always wears a mask and they have an open-air courtyard where you can keep yourself to yourself.

Flat whites to go Krousar Cafe.

Krousar Cafe, Siem Reap.

“You want sugars with these?” asked Jason, with an arched eyebrow. “One in each please” I replied, as behind me someone ordered an Eggs Benedict with homemade hash browns. “Cheers, have a good day!” And then I was out the door, into the van and speeding off towards a much needed escape at Kulen National Park.

Home cooked lasagne Krousar Cafe Siem Reap.

Marj working on her legendary lasagne.

Want to get in touch with Krousar Cafe? Drop them a line through their Facebook page. Alternatively, you can follow them on Instagram via their handles krousarcafe and aptby_kh.

Like this? For more on Siem Reap’s excellent cafe, restaurant and bar scene, check out my detailed guide on Where to Eat and Drink Siem Reap.

You can also read my exhaustive overview of What to See and Do in Siem Reap.

Looking for a roof over your head? Check out my articles on Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.

5 Comments

  • natty4t

    This has made me rather hungry!

    April 13, 2020 - 4:15 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Too right! We were there this morning and had a giant feed that kept us full for the rest of the day.

      April 13, 2020 - 4:20 pm Reply
  • Chris Axon

    That food looks great. I like the new site header (I haven’t called by for a while…) Stay safe and keep blogging.

    April 13, 2020 - 4:49 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Chris, hope you are bearing up in a world without football. Greater things at stake of course. Stay safe and healthy.

      April 13, 2020 - 4:57 pm Reply
      • Chris Axon

        Thanks my friend. You know what, I am not missing it. I think it’s me at my pragmatic best. Other things way more important. Football can wait. Take care.

        April 13, 2020 - 7:31 pm

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