Food options in Sen Monorom are plentiful to the point of intimidation. Despite being a small town, Sen Monorom is the capital of Mondulkiri and there are no shortage of restaurant choices for all budgets and tastes. Here are a few reviews to get you started, but don’t be afraid to strike out on your own food adventures!
One of the major perks of dining in Sen Monorom is no matter the distance to a main road, in this case only 200 meters, you will dine among the trees. Cinnamon Cafe dishes out sweet and savory treats that will have you coming back for more. In fact, you can even find their baked goods a little farther in town at Hefalump Cafe. Their crepes manage to come out with that perfect texture that comes with years of experience, both light and rich. Those with a love of American-style cinnamon rolls take note, the cinnamon rolls here are not smothered in sugar and frosting; they showcase the cinnamon and buttery dough with a light glaze. Be sure to brush up on your Khmer before going so you can chat with the owner’s charming mother.
While we’re on the subject, Hefalump Cafe is a great spot for coffee lovers. There, you can order your choice of locally grown Chay Mao Mondulkiri, a Southeast Asian blend from Feel Good, and Lavazza in styles from French press to cappuccinos, iced or hot. In addition to the baked goods mentioned above, the menu covers breakfast staples like smoothies and lunch favorites like spring rolls. Just don’t get your heart set on a dish. Their small size means that when they sell out of something, they are out for the day. There are a few tables to sit at out front of the cafe, but you will want to keep walking to have a seat in their back garden. It is also possible to book tours with the Elephant Valley Project through the cafe.
Monorom Pizza has the distinction of not only serving up a good cup of hot lime juice that rivals any coffee or tea for wake up power, they also have the most knowledgeable tour operator in Mondulkiri on-site. While the breakfast menu lists the typical morning fare at good prices, the real information you want is whether or not there are any donuts available. Pizza lovers should be sure to stop by for arguably the best pizza in town in a range of sizes rather than the “one size fits all” approach that can leave solo travelers with too much or groups with not enough. Travelers wanting tour information, especially those looking for treks beyond an elephant experience, should aim for late afternoon or dinner visits for a better chance to catch Mony, the tour operator, at the restaurant.
As midday approaches, this is the time to search out Bamboo Cafe. Located on Route 76 in the center of town yet somehow managing to stay almost completely hidden from view behind a curtain of their namesake and seating areas shaded by foliage and man-made coverings that provide a very enjoyable setting for a leisurely meal. This is another wonderful family-run affair with a happy staff ranging from the younger children in school uniforms handing you menus on their way out for class, to the laughing aunties in the kitchen waving as you explore the grounds. Their menu includes Western dishes, but they sometimes miss the mark. Stick with their Khmer offerings which are spot on and fairly priced.
After a long day of treks, elephants, waterfalls, or relaxing in your guesthouse, any empty tummy in search of carbs should beeline to Mondulk…Italy. Housed in a shipping container, it is a bit easy to overlook this Italian eatery, so keep your eyes peeled for their sign next to the road, almost directly across from the Tela station on National Road 76. The prices are a bit higher than most restaurants in town; however, you do get what you pay for with home-made pasta and sauces, quality imported cheeses and meats, and a selection of good wines to pair with any dish. Be sure to save room for their daily dessert selection and the fluffiest cappuccinos east of the Mekong.
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
200m up the Sen Monorom Street, Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri
T: +855 (0) 89 897 016
Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
National Road 76, Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri
T: +855 (0)71 548 3868
Open daily, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
141 National Road 75, Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri
T: +855 (0)97 755 9509
Check website for seasonal opening hours
National Road 76, Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri
T: +855 (0)96 674 2693