Unlike in Phnom Penh or at home, there are not many grocery stores or supermarkets in Battambang; you will have to go to the open air markets. Where to shop for groceries in Battambang? There are various grocery stores selling imported goods, but the best place to shop for groceries in Battambang is still the local markets.
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Here are some places to go for food in Battambang and some tips to make the most of your shopping experience:
Choose your market
Among many markets in Battambang, Psar Boeung Chhoeuk and Psar Nath are the ones that most foreigners go to.
Situated right by the river in the town center, Psar Nath is derisively known by Cambodians in Battambang as the tourist market thanks to the number of visitors coming through. The frequency of tourists also makes prices considerably higher than those at Boeung Chhoeuk.
However, opening late, Psar Nath is a go-to stop for after-work grocery shopping for not only Cambodians but also foreigners. Not only very late, on the south side of the market, the fruit stalls are often open past midnight.
Northwest of Psar Nath, not far from the bus stations, Boeung Chhoeuk offers much more variety than Psar Nath at much lower rate, but at around 11AM, the food vendors start to leave. Good here is sold on the ground floor, with seamstresses on the second (if you want to rent a dress for a wedding or need cushions made, keep it in mind).
There is a wide range of Western products, including muesli, canned beans, lentils, baking supplies, cheese, natural yogurt and even tahini at Chea Neang Drink Shop, commonly known as the Western shop.
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Similarly, large supermarket Heng Chhay Li Grocery Store stocks canned and packed foods and drinks, cheeses, fresh milk and yogurts together with some frozen items. It is also a suitable place to break that $50 or $100 bill.
And White Rose, primarily known for its smoothies, sometimes has them for sale is a special tip for those who are looking for avocados, which rarely available at any of the markets. Walk up to the fridge at the front and take your pick.
Psar Boeung Chhoeuk
- Open time: daily from before dawn, closing late afternoon
- Address: Street 105, Battambang
- Open time: daily, from before dawn, with some stalls staying open as late as midnight
- Address: the meeting point of Street 3 and Street 113, Battambang
Chea Neang Drink Shop, aka the Western Shop
- Open time: daily from 6AM. to 8PM
- Address: Road 3, west of Psar Nath, Battambang
- Telephone number: 012 697 497
Heng Chhay Li
- Open time: daily, 7AM to 9:30PM
- Address: Borei Road, between roads 1 and 2, Battambang.
- Telephone number: 053 655 5556
- Address: Corner of Street 2 and Street 121, Battambang
- Telephone number: 012 693 855
Learn a bit of Khmer
Being fluent In Khmer is not necessary; you need to learn only the numbers together with several phrases that will get you far and help to reduce the prices. Ask Anih, t’lai pon man? (How much does this cost?) when pointing at whatever you want to buy, and you are off. When you are offered a pig’s head or some unidentifiable herb you do not want, ah tay, orkun (no thank you) is also useful. Remember that numbers are sometimes a bit differently expressed than in English, so it’s not 50 or 50,000 riel if you are quoted ha sep (50) for that bag of peanuts. It may be 50 hundred or 5000 riel. Confirm by waving money at them or asking pram poan if you are unsure.
Become a regular
If you regularly frequent the same vendors, prices drop, even if you are going shopping at the more expensive Psar Nath, so find out and stick with a few vendors that usually have what you are looking for. You can save money by chit chat with them a bit each time you visit.
If you want to go to Boeung Chhoeuk, it is advisable to go early, but try not to wait too late in the day even if you are going to Psar Nath. The earlier you go, the less picked-over everything here will be, and it will have been sitting in the heat with flies buzzing around, for that much longer.
Don’t be too polite
Don’t wait for a vendor to take notice of you standing there. Start pawing through tomatoes and he/she will give you a dish or bag to put them in. Similarly, don’t be too worried about respecting personal space. It is okay to gently push past as people are not going to make a huge effort to move out of your way.
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