Around the World in Houston: Discover Cambodia

Photo courtesy of Cambodian Culture Preservation of Houston

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

From a Galveston coffee shop serving daily Cambodian eats to a Cambodian Buddhist temple, here’s how to experience a piece of Cambodia in Houston.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

Asia Fest – Asia Society’s annual Asia Fest celebrates Asian Pacific American heritage through family-friendly and creative activities, community performances, exciting artwork and vendors, and plenty of tasty fusion cuisine.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • Asia Society Texas Center The Asia Society Texas Center focuses on enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach. Look out for film festivals, family days, student programs, art exhibits, and markets.
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage AssociationFormed in 1992 and serving the Greater Houston area and beyond, this heritage association strives to promote awareness and increase understanding of the Asian/Pacific American culture and its diversity through education and celebration. The group focuses on May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and continues with programs, events, and educational opportunities throughout the year.
  • Arts of Asia at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston The Museum’s collections of Asian art span nearly five millennia and encompass the cultures of China, the Himalayas, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Cambodian Food & Drink

  • Happy Coffee Shop – Alongside the usual café items like croissants and cakes, this unassuming Galveston coffee shops offers a daily selection of Cambodian specials thanks to its Cambodian owner.
  • Asia Market Thai Restaurant This popular Thai restaurant serves Hor Mok, a steamed fish curry in banana leaves that is similar to the culinary tradition of amok in Cambodia.
  • Hu Tieu Nam Vang Hong Phat You’ll find Phnom Penh-style rice noodle soup, known as hu tieu or kuy teav, at this Asiatown spot.
  • Mein This Cantonese eatery offers a pan-Asian house wonton noodle soup, an amalgamation of flavors from the places that owner Mike Tran has lived in, including Cambodia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Made with thin egg noodle, shrimp, pork belly, shrimp and fried wonton, minced and crispy pork, garlic oil, and XO sauce, plus chive, cilantro, green onions, and soy sauce, the 16-ounce soup is a meal in itself. You’ll also find water spinach, Phnom Penh pho, and noodle soup.
  • 99 Ranch Market Hit any of the three Houston-area locations of this Asian to shop for extensive varieties of rice, noodles, spices, curry pastes, fresh produce, meats and seafood, and special finds like fermented sauces; and check out the food court, which slings authentic eats from across Asia.
  • Hong Kong Food Market This colossal market in Chinatown’s Hong Kong City Mall spans the continent of Asia, offering tastes of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Language Classes, Groups & Meet-Ups

  • BerlitzThis learning center offers flexible programs for adults and children, with languages including Khmer.
  • Cambodian Culture Preservation of Houston Join this private Facebook group to connect with Cambodians in the Houston area.
  • Khmer House-Houston This Facebook group is open to the public, connecting Khmer in Houston and around the world.

 Other Notables

  • Wat Angkorchum Cambodian Buddhist TempleThis Cambodian Buddhist temple sits off Kuykendahl.
  • Little Cambodia About 30 miles from Downtown, Rosharon is a small Cambodian farming town that cultivates water spinach. After suffering devastation from Hurricane Harvey, the refugee community is trying to get back on its feet, recently receiving a grant from the American Red Cross (which awarded Sewa International a $500,000 grant to rebuild homes).
Previous articleFall in puppy love at the Bark in the Park Dog Walk at Grand Central Park
Next articleFeel the magic of community at Royal Sumikat’s Future Tribez mural at Sawyer Yards
Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .