Pan-fried sanday fish with tiger eggplant, caramelised palm sugar, fresh peppercorn and green mango
Wat Damnak Village, Sala Kamreuk Commune, Siem Reap
+855 77 347 762
At Cuisine Wat Damnak, chef Joannès Rivière aims to introduce diners to indigenous, often rare ingredients, some of which you may never even have heard of, let alone tasted. These include fruits such as ambarella, feroniella and kuy fruit; local fish and shellfish unique to the Mekong and Tonlé Sap lake, and fresh lotus seeds, wild lily stems and edible flowers. Some are highly challenging to source through the local market channels, but Rivière goes the extra mile and hunts them down, working with foragers and fishermen directly to ensure his food represents Cambodia's unique pantry.
Born and raised near Roanne, a small town in the Loire region of France, Rivière seems an unlikely protagonist for this style of adventurous cuisine, but he has been cooking in Cambodia since 2003 and has built a formidable reputation as one of the country’s finest chefs. His skill behind the stove, combined with Cuisine Wat Damnak’s setting in a traditional Khmer house and garden, make it a truly remarkable restaurant.
Images: John McDermott Photography, Sam Jam