Kep is known for its fresh seafood, especially the crab, which is absolutely excellent – literally straight from the ocean to your plate. No visit to Kep is complete without at least one fresh seafood lunch or dinner at the oceanfront. The Kampot Pepper Crab is a local culinary classic – fresh from ocean crab fried or steamed with generous bunches of fresh green and black Kampot pepper corns, some of the finest, most famous pepper in the world.
Traditional dining venues include the Crab Market and pockets of dining gazebos strung along the seaside. The Crab Market is made up of a dozen rustic oceanfront crabshack restaurants, most with a very local, friendly atmosphere offering a wonderfully unsophisticated dining experience at the water’s edge. As the Crab Market has become more popular over the last few years some of the restaurants have become a bit too accustomed to tourists, reducing portions and raising prices. Generally speaking, the touristy places are slicker and easier but the scruffier places more authentic and down-home.
At Kep Beach, picnic platforms line the road and another group of platforms line the Oceanside park near the Big Crab statue. Just find an empty platform, sit down and the seafood vendors will come to you. Most of the vendors have English language menus. Place your order and they’ll have your seafood cooked and served within 10 minutes.
Almost all of the hotels and guesthouses in Kep have restaurants and bars, some quite good. Most serve a wider variety of dishes than the local vendors including western and international dishes as well as fresh seafood dishes. Several guesthouse restaurants are located along Road 33a within a few hundred meters of the oceanfront road traffic circle.
After dark, most of Kep closes down, though a few places including Breezes on the beach, Toucan Bar in the Crab Market, and Kep Rock Cafe near the Vishnu statue restaurant, as well as some of the guesthouse restaurants are open into the late evening. Some of the seafood shacks at the Crab Market stay open as late as 10PM or 11PM.