Blog Cambodia Experiences Food Phnom Penh


On our first full day in Cambodia our phone was stolen. And not even in some dramatic blogpost-worthy action-filled chase scenario… Nope! Just from the table where we were sat working at our hostel. It was a complete non-event. pizza

A non-event that meant we would spend the best part of our second day frantically running around Phnom Penh, grabbing strangers for translations and filing reports at various police stations to send off to our insurance company.

After a good 6 hours of being pointed in various directions and finally admitting defeat for the day, we were tired and in desperate need of a pick-me-up. And our research for came up with just the thing to help…


Pizza. It’s always a winner, right? Good day or bad, you can’t beat a slice or five of thin and crispy bread with gooey melted cheese- happiness on a plate. In Cambodia, turns out you can one-up on that plate of happy with the local speciality pizza.

Located in all the big cities, especially around the tourist hotspots are ‘happy pizza’ joints, where the secret ingredient in your cheese-laden heaven is a good sprinkling of marihuana.

While not entirely legal, the cops here don’t care enough to do anything about it (or, to be honest much else!); better things to do like watching TV shows and sitting in lawn chairs with their bellies out.


Besides, the magic ingredient features regularly in traditional Cambodian cooking (for ‘medicinal purposes’ obvs!) and is readily available everywhere you go- bars offering joints for a dollar and vendors on mopeds hustling on every street corner.

Sharing a room with other non-smokers, but keen to try anything once(!) We set off with our dorm-mates from the hostel, high in hopes and low in expectations. When we eventually found the restaurant, it was all very ordinary- only adding to our scepticism.


Being two couples and a solo traveller, we ordered two large (sharing) pizzas and one small between us; made to “very happy” specification. Our waiters hesitance should have really rung alarm bells at this point- he ran to the kitchen with the order after only one pizza was requested, and looked a wee bit squiffy at us when we continued to order more… We all just thought he was giving us the standard ‘bloody tourists’ look…

When they arrived at our table, it was hilarious how un-hidden the mystical magic ingredient was- there we were thinking it would be inconspicuously baked into the crust away from the prying eyes of local police when actually, our pizzas (all decidedly non-veggie topped) made it look like Popeye had come to town.


Still though; waiters hesitation and obvious suspicious greenery aside, we were not convinced that anything would happen. We downed our happy pizza in quick-fast time and drowned in ketchup (they tasted bloody awful!), settled the bill and started walking back to the hostel.

Walking back, we compared possible ‘feelings’, still with the overriding sensation we had been sold duff pizzas and the ‘happy’ tag was all just a rouse to pull in tourists…



About 10 minutes into sitting on our bunk beds, shit got real. Limbs got heavy, eyes got droopy, words spoken seemingly in slo-mo bounced echoing off the dorm room walls and everything was suddenly unbelievably fucking funny…

30 minutes in and heads were lolling; half of us were on the floor and all of us were seeing in triplicate… A new feeling for us, but pretty damn obvious- we were all well and truly stoned… a state that we ultimately set out to get to. But an hour after (and I use the concept of time here VERY loosely!) we were descending into a world so far from reality that it was like looking down onto your own soul whilst completely unable to move your body…


Creating & deconstructing ideas on such a minute yet monumental level that it felt like in that room, on that night, the world’s problems would all be solved! The reality was a dorm room full of trapped backpackers; paranoid that the spare bunk bed would be filled by a poor unsuspecting traveller, not quite ready to experience our drug-addled state.

Whether our reactions were particularly strong because we don’t ‘do’ the pot thing (like, ever), or this simply happens to everyone- we’ve no idea, but even the following morning we were still feeling the effects… Leaving us in not exactly the best headspace for our planned trip to the killing fields that day…



Maybe our research could have been a little more in depth. Hindsight (and a full 24hours hangover later!) led us to the internet, where other post-high bloggers advise that you should only really eat a maximum of 2 slices for a ‘good fix’ of about 10hours… Based on our reaction (length and intensity!), we would advise trying even less than that…

Also, maybe don’t double-down like Andrew by ordering a ‘happy shake’ on top either… Too much of a good thing ‘n’ all that!

Us? Well, we’ll chalk it up to a bucket list experience- just another weird food to add to our round-the-world collection, but safe to say, we’ll be sticking to our usual Hawaiian from now on… HOLD the happy.

Have you / would you try happy pizza? Or does a standard Margherita just do the trick nice enough? Let us know in the comments below!

1 Comment

  • Reply
    17/12/2016 at 10:00 am

    Would of loved to be a fly on the wall!!
    Not sure that eating happy pizza is on anybody’s bucket list…..but guess had to be done ✅

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