The food truck, actual truck, has arrived in Phnom Penh

Food tacs truckThere is no end to the number of food carts in Phnom Penh offering everything from fried noodles to crisp insects.

When I walk a few blocks up the street, I spot vendors of coffee, soft drinks, bread, fruit, those noodles, something like hotdogs and barbecued animal parts, of which only some am I able to identify.

Food tacos truckOutside the French Institute, I have seen a man making crepes on a contraption that he somehow has mounted on a motorcycle.  Someone sells pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven on a bulky portable cart.

But only in that last few weeks have I noticed — there must be more around town — the actual food trucks that you see at the top of this post and just below the thumbnail images.  For additional reporting, have a look at today’s Khmer Times piecewhich I was annoyed to discover hours after completing my own.

CrepesThe tacos truck in the photo sits across the street from my gym and seems to do a land-office business.  I did see a Tweet complaining about the quality, but one Khmer-American trainer raves about the food and fantasizes about raising money to field his own truck.

As for the vehicle selling complicated coffee drinks plus basic accompaniments, its menu is limited.  Yet the list is much longer than what is available from simple coffee carts, which usually are tugged or pushed by motos.

food truck coffeeI normally encounter that truck three or four blocks from my building, and I happened upon a cluster of three or four of them “asleep” one night between there and Central Market, (Phsar Thmey).

Coffee cartIn essence, I’d guess these developments suggest a step up from street food, providing at least the illusion of better hygiene than some imagine for the carts.

Fried noodlesStill, I have to say that I occasionally sample street food here; it is no match for the variety and taste of that in Bangkok (or, for that matter, in Manhattan, where their quantity infuriates one Midtown businessman.)

In addition, many restaurants open to the street (including one called Chinese Noodle Restaurant, which I frequent) strike me as little more than glorified carts with covered seating marginally more comfortable than on plastic stools, kitchens that sport a small variety of equipment and cooled air. . . by fans in most cases.

Berverages cartI am happy to report that either sort of eatery can be both good and safe.


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