Food and drink is now available for purchase on trains in Cambodia. This includes not just water, beer, noodles and packet snacks which you could buy cheaper at the convenience store before you board the train, but also proper freshly cooked food.
Trains in Cambodia do not currently have a restaurant car, but they do have a carriage with a kitchen inside which is located at the rear of the train. Train staff on Cambodia trains are not doing a trolley service at the present time, or being proactive about advertising the catering facilities on trains, so if you want to buy something you need to make your way to the kitchen car.
Kitchen on a Cambodian train
To get served you need to put your head inside the door way of the kitchen and ask for what you want. English is generally spoken by someone in the kitchen as is Khmer, and some Thai and Vietnamese. Drinks, snacks and free hot water for noodles is available. They also serve dishes with rice. The chicken and rice dish pictured above cost $2. The food was OK and it came with a bag of pickle which improved the taste, and I was given a plastic spoon to eat it with. I can report no ill effects from the food. It tasted freshly cooked.
Food at Train Stations
The alternative to buying food on the train is to buy it before you get on the train. The options to buy food at Phnom Penh Railway Station are a bit limited at the moment, so you might want to stock up before you get to the train station. The only place we found to buy food at Phnom Penh Railway Station itself was a sandwich vendor located to the left hand side of the main entrance to the station.
Sandwich stand outside Phnom Penh Railway Station
The range of food on sale is much better at Takeo Railway Station, which is the first stop after Phnom Penh Railway Station on route to Sihanoukville. Cambodian style street food is sold by a range of vendors who set up track side awaiting the 8 trains a week passing through this station. You can get chicken and fish off the grill, as well some rice and noodle dishes in bags. The ubiquitous boiled egg, a favourite train snack food in Cambodia and Vietnam, is also available.
Food vendors at Takeo Train Station
There are a few food vendors operating out of Kampot Railway Station, which is the second stop on the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville route. The vendors at this station mostly sell fresh fruit and cold drinks. Given that the train stops at Kampot for up to 40 minutes you might have expected there to be more on sale at this station.
Food vendors at Kampot Train Station
If you are travelling by train in the opposite direction from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, it is worth noting that there is no food at all sold at Sihanoukville Railway Station. If you are travelling back from Sihanoukville we recommend that you either buy food to take on the train in the town before you get to the train station or alternatively buy some chicken and rice on the train like we did.