Andre Akito


Tevy’s Place is a small restaurant with big dreams. Serving both Khmer and Western food, it is definitely one of the more well-known restaurants in Siem Reap, not just for its food, but also for the main activities it’s involved with. Located in an upbeat part of town, the restaurant is owned by Tevy, an inspiring woman who has faced many adversities throughout her life. Tevy’s also uses her restaurant as a space to give back to her community. She now helps and collaborates with different organizations to make an impact in Siem Reap mainly through women empowerment, education and plastic waste reduction.


August 23, 2022

Tevy’s Place – On a Journey of Hope

Since she was a young child, Tevy enjoyed using kitchenware as toys. At such a young age, she had already found her passion and since then, had always dreamt of one day having her own restaurant. But at the age of eight or nine, that dream was completely shattered when the Khmer Rouge soldiers came and forced everyone out of their homes. Tevy, togehter with her family and many others around Cambodia were forced to move to work in the countryside.

For the next years, all men, women and children had a very difficult life. Everyday, they had to wake up and go to work from 4 o’clock in the morning until sunset. It was an extremely hard work and, at the same time, food was very scarce her family often didn’t have any food to eat.

Everyone lived in fear of doing something wrong. The slightest mistake could have gotten them killed. It was a truly dark and hopeless time for those that lived through the regime. Tevy lost three of her sisters and her father to the Khmer Rouge; to this day, she doesn’t know where they buried her family. As Tevy said, it was a very ‘cruel, sad and torturous time’.

Tevy's Place - A small restaurant with big dreams

Fast forward to today, Tevy finally has her dreams realized. She now runs one of the most successful and best restaurants in Siem Reap. But it hasn’t exactly been easy for her after the end of the Khmer Rouge period in 1979.

In the beginning, she studied Engineering in Uzbekistan as part of a Russian-sponsored program and later found a job as an administrator in Phnom Penh. Having enough money saved up, she quit her job and boldly opened her first restaurant. Sadly, not long after, she was evicted from her restaurant property to make way for a library. Broke and with nowhere to go, and with her mother under her care, she moved to Siem Reap looking for new hopes and opportunities. 

It was there that she reconnected with Cecil, a kind Irishman who was a customer of hers at her restaurant in Phnom Penh. Cecil helped her get back on her feet and helped her find a small space to sell vegetables at the Old Market in the city, where Tevy worked for a few years.

And one day, just as fate would have it, they found a little space on Street 26 and decided to open what is now proudly known as Tevy’s Place. Today, the restaurant isn’t just a place where Tevy has finally fulfilled a lifelong dream; it is also a community space where she trains women that come from unfortunate backgrounds on how to work in restaurants and how to cook both western and Cambodian food. She also works with and supports others, such as small local farmers and suppliers at the Phsar Leu Market and around Siem Reap. She is also heavily involved with educational organizations such as SeeBeyondBorders, PEPY and CICN and is highly passionate about reducing waste and eliminating the use of plastic in the community.

Just as Cecil has helped and mentored her, she now  firmly believes that the restaurant isn’t just about fulfilling a life’s dream, but Tevy’s Place is also now a place for her to help and transform other’s lives. 

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