Across the river from old town Siem Reap, down a bumpy dirt road, is Marum Restaurant. Supported by the well-known NGO Friends International, and run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO working with marginalized youth in Siem Reap, Marum features refined eats, inspired by local cuisine.
Lights sparkle amidst the trees in the large courtyard, while the open air kitchen and interior of the restaurant sit just behind. The staff consists of a mix of “teachers” and “students," an educational opportunity for at-risk kids under the guidance of experienced service and hospitality workers.
The menu, a compilation of vegetarian, fish, and meat tapas, ranges from stir fried tree ants to duck embryo. We start with a safer bet, crispy rice noodle salad with tofu and sweet potato spring rolls, then share mushroom and brie rice balls, as well as coconut, beetroot, and a young bamboo salad. The plates are decent sized and tasty, ranging from $3.75 to $5.25.
Marum is a beautiful and serene restaurant, with delicious food and a staff of eager and smiling teenagers, but best of all, it’s a place that’s bettering the lives of the people and community around it.