Visiting Kep’s Crab Market and tasting some culinary highlights are one of the most tourists’s favorite things to do in Cambodia.
Kep today is known as a quieter Sihanoukville alternative for expats and Phnom Penh weekenders, and it’s also popular with tourists making their way along the coast toward or coming from the Vietnamese border. Above all though, especially among Cambodians and even those who’ve never had the chance to visit, Kep is synonymous with crabs. It is considered as the crab capital of the region.
Crab Market is a selection of wooden shacks on stilts built over the sea, and it started life as the name suggests: a simple seafood market where the local fishing boats would bring their catch for sale. It’s now evolved into a string of waterfront bars and eateries. As visitors began arriving, some of these rustic shacks had the idea of cooking up the boats’ catches to serve to tourists and as business boomed make-overs abounded. Now, alongside still fairly traditional and basic local eateries, you’ll find cocktail and tapas bars, as well as a pizzeria and an internet cafe. Kep’s becoming chic again!
Plenty of great spots to eat and drink are here, but a couple of sundowners at the friendly Toucan tapas bar followed by a plate of fried crab at the neighbouring and excellent French-owned La Baraka restaurant is one of the best ways to spend an evening anywhere in Cambodia. The local seafood dishes are sumptuous, the service attentive, and should someone in your party not eat seafood or Khmer cuisine, they have excellent wood-fired pizzas on offer as well as a selection of classic French dishes.