Travel Report: Marum Restaurant, Siem Reap.
Marum Restaurant, Siem Reap.
April 2020. My visit to Marum Restaurant already seems like an age ago. But actually it’s been just a few months, back when the world was an entirely different place. Sladja and I had just finished checking out the amazing Miniature Temples of Angkor, where we got to meet and chat with the great Dy Proeung. Wandering somewhat aimlessly in the general direction of home, we stumbled upon Marum at the precise moment both of us realised just how incredibly hot and bothered we were.
It wasn’t a difficult decision to dump the burning heat of the road for the sheltered coolness of Marum’s leafy beer garden. Taking a table under a parasol near the main building, a giant wooden villa, we scanned the menu and ordered a couple of Green Apple Lime & Mint Freeze shakes. Just what our dry throats needed!
Marum Restaurant, Siem Reap.
It was while we were enjoying our drinks that I began reading the menu in detail. Hence I quickly realised that Marum is not what you’d call your average restaurant. In fact, the operation is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that works with street children. Opened in 2012, this beautiful restaurant and garden complex includes an onsite training school where disadvantaged locals can better themselves by training as chefs and servers.
“A training restaurant for marginalized youth”.
As such, the staff at Marum certainly take things seriously. After all, this represents an amazing opportunity to get on in life. They all wear uniform t-shirts and blue aprons. Up close, you may notice the little badges that identify your waiter as either a teacher or student.
Marum is also an eco-friendly operation committed to recycling. In addition to saying no to plastic and straws, their locally sourced produce is chemical free, while some dishes are gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and food intolerant friendly.
Inspired by the idea of dinner for a worthy cause, Sladja and I planned a date night for later in the week with the specific intention of seeing if Marum’s asian fusion dishes were as good as some online reviews suggest.
As a venue, Marum is definitely transformed in the evenings. The whole garden looked beautiful with both the villa and trees glowing with fairy lights. It was busy too, their dozen or so tables awash with couples, families and the odd hairy backpacker. Having already been warned that many of the dishes were of tapas proportions, we made sure to order a bunch of plates to ensure we came away with happy, full stomachs.
“All our dishes are designed to be shared, so grab a friend and savour a little bit of everything!”
Everything we ordered was delicious! Firstly, the waiter brought a piping hot bowl of soupy curry. Featuring, among other ingredients, eggplant, cauliflower and black bean. Really good when you lower a spoon of white rice into it and let it soak. Then came the sticky pineapple rice, served in an actual shelled out pineapple. Finally, we devoured the beef brochettes served with cubed vegetables and pickles.
In for a penny, in for a pound, we couldn’t resist finishing the night with dessert. Furthermore, we were both unanimous about what to have. It just had to be the Chocolate and Kampot Pepper Cake served within a ring of passion fruit syrup.
Sadly, Marum is one of many restaurants in Siem Reap that had to close its doors due to COVID-19. At the time of writing, they are hoping to reopen in the last week of April. For the latest information, head to their Facebook page.
You might also enjoy this cool article from grantourismo, in which Marum head chef Toun Saren gives his thoughts on the local food and drink scene.
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.
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