Assigned its Soviet moniker due to its proclivity for stocking Moscow’s goods during the Cold War, all manner of pirated wares and locally made trinkets now replace Communist comestibles at this crowded, ramshackle bazaar. Instead of being housed in a single building, the Russian Market has mostly grown by a process of agglomeration whereby individual store holders piece together their patch of real estate with sheets of corrugated iron, cut-rate cement, and hubris. The result is mayhem but there is some semblance of organisation thanks to the Khmer tradition of grouping like businesses together.
The northeast corner is full of Daelim and Honda motorcycle parts and tools, the northern outside edge is fruit (both imported and local), and the northern central section contains meat, veggies and dried foods. There is a band of small fast food vendors through the centre on the western side. Slender alleys of pirated clothes and shoes are on the eastern side and run all the way to the southern end, with a centre section full of cheap tailors. The southernmost edge is pirated DVDs/CDs, software, and tourist t-shirts. The southwest corner is carved paraphernalia and stoneware. Nestled amongst these spontaneous provinces, you’ll also find practically everything else that you’ll want to ship home from Cambodia: crockery, lamps, handbags, silks, jewelry, photocopied books, Buddhist kitsch at prices lower than practically everywhere in Asia.
As a food destination and much like the above photo, Russian Market is a mixed bag. Thanks to the low zinc-coated ceiling, the dull oppressive heat is your inescapable shopping companion and due to this, the standard of fresh fruit and vegetables is passable if you arrive in the morning and slowly degrades as the day progresses.