Travelers incorrectly believe that the street food sold at stalls around Pub Street in the Old Market quarter is authentic. It’s not—not the fruit shake sellers, nor the Nutella pancakes. There is one exception and that’s the ubiquitous sugar cane juice sellers that you see here as well as at local markets, backstreets, and the riverside every afternoon and evening.
Follow your ears. Expect to hear the sound of the long pieces of cane being crunched through the crusher or the sounds of swarms of bees buzzing around. The juice will be served in a plastic cup or plastic bag with a straw. If you struggle with the drink in a plastic bag idea, as many foreigners do, then point to a cup. It’s nearly always served over ice and the ice is nearly always safe, thanks to the French who established ice factories across the country during French colonial rule. However, if you’ve not been in the country long or have a weak stomach, skip the ice, just in case.
Sometimes Cambodians will add extra sugar to their drinks. Watch carefully and say no if you see the vendor reaching for some, as it’s sweet enough. It’s a terrific thirst-quencher if you’ve been out in the blazing sun all day – and a fantastic pick-me-up if you’re starting to feel that heat.