11 Apr Kep Crab Market
Quietly tucked away on the southeastern shore of Cambodia, is the town of Kep. This seaside town once bustled with Cambodia’s elite. As home to country’s intelligentsia, the town’s wealth and excesses naturally became the target of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Dilapitated mansions riddle the mountainsides and stand as a monument to Kep’s former glory. Today they provide a surreal backdrop to this lazy fishing village.
At the heart of Kep is a vibrant market that has given this town new life. While most Asian markets lore you in with colorful fruits and elaborate displays of local produce, this market has one purpose: seafood. Local fisherman can be seen carrying in the day’s catch and sun bleached fishing boats line the water’s edge.
Whether you prefer shrimp, fish, or crab, it can all be found here. The hardest decision you will have to make is whether you want them raw, dried, cooked, or still alive. For just a few dollars you can buy several pounds of fresh caught crabs and for a few cents more, you can have a local kill and cook them while you wait.
Grab a freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, your favorite seafood, and find yourself a shady tree to host an impromptu picnic. If you’re looking for a more predictable dining experience, wander over to one of the local restaurants attached to the market. They all offer waterfront views and you guessed it, crab. While you can literally watch the chef walk over and buy your crab from the vendor outside his door, don’t expect to pay market prices. These restaurants offer two things that the market doesn’t – an easy to read menu and a hefty price tag.
Travel to Cambodia
Bonus : You can’t travel to Cambodia without trying fresh Kampot pepper. These small green peppercorns are worth their weight in gold. Not literally of course, but they are an absolute must. Restaurants are smart enough to cover your crab with mounds of these delicious delicacies.
If you decide to dine at the market, find yourself a local vendor selling green Kampot pepper and buy as many as you can afford. Then find your way to the local ATM, max out all of your cards, and buy more. Seriously, they’re that good.
For more on traveling to Cambodia, including Kep, check out our Cambodia Field Guide.