Drinking in Cambodia is a lively local culture. Thanks to the heat and the humidity, which makes you thirsty. Avoid drinking water from the tap, especially in the provinces. It is rarely purified and may lead to stomach complications. Mineral water is produced locally and can be bought per bottle at
stalls and shops. If you have a weak constitution you can better opt for one of the better brands, like Evian.
Tea is the national drink in Cambodia, but nowadays it is just likely to have beer in your glass. In every city or town is a stall, which sells a few cans of beer. Angkor is the national beer, produced in vast quantities in a big brewery down in Sihanoukville.
A beer brand from the neighbouring country of Laos is "Beer Lao". It's very drinkable and is also one of the cheapest beers you can get. Tiger beer is produced locally and
is popular draft in Phnom Penh. Most Khmer restaurants have a bevy of "beer girls", each promoting a particular beer brand. They are always friendly and will leave you alone if you prefer not to drink. The brands represented in Cambodia include Angkor, Heineken, Tiger, San Miguel, Stella Artois, Carlsberg, Fosters and Becks. Can of beer are sold for around US$1 in local restaurants. In the countryside is a shortage of refrigeration. Go native and learn how to say "Som teuk koh" ("Ice cubes please"). That's right, drink your beer on the rocks!
Som teuk koh
Local wine in Cambodia is generally spoken rice wine. It's popular with the minority peoples of the Northeast. Some rice wines are fermented
for months and are super strong, while other brews are fresher and taste more like a demented cocktail. If you are invited to join a session in a minority village is it rude to decline. Other local wines include light sugar palm wine and ginger wine. Foreign wines and spirits are sold in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap at bargain prices.
The wine from Cambodia: On the road between Battambang and the temple of Phnom Banan you will find the only vineyards in Cambodia. It's only 10 kilometers (just about 20 minutes by car) or so away from city center. It’s a bit of a rural area, so along the way you can see traditional Cambodian houses – elevated!
When Leng Chan Thol and her husband Chan Thay Chhoueng decided to grow grapes for wine production just outside Battambang city, people thought they were crazy. Mr Chan Thay Chhoueng started growing fruit grapes in 2000.
The vineyard is the brainchild and business of Mr Chan They Chhoeung. You could almost miss it if you blinked; a small blue signpost on the left hand side of the road with the name of the owner in English and Khmer and a small painting of a bunch of grapes.
<click for more>
All well-known soft drinks are available in Cambodia.