Monday, January 25, 2010

Cambodia : What I Ate (and Did Not)

Overall I found Cambodia not very exciting in terms of its culinary offerings.

Unlike Bangkok or Penang where you're spoilt for choice.

Nevertheless, there were items that I enjoyed very much. Price-wise, on average local food cost anything from 5000 riels to around USD4-5 per item. Street food is of course cheaper than those in restaurants; fancier places charge more. A good cup of fancy coffee costs around USD2. And I think there is an unwritten 'local and foreigner price' policy in place; I may be wrong.

Breakfast at Le Tigre de Papier, Siem Reap.

Grilled fish with mango salad. Mild and light.

Amok Chicken, a Khmer specialty. Very similar to Ayam Masak Lemak I thought. Lots of ... basil?

The Soup Dragon in Siem Reap, where I had my breakfast twice, it opens early and serves good hot Pho Bo, Vietnamese beef soup.

The Soup Dragon's menu.

Pho Bo and its accompaniments.

My last breakfast at Siem Reap - after having pho bo (again); strong coffee, morning paper.

Chocolate fudge with vanilla ice cream at The Blue Pumpkin, Siem Reap. Really yummy! I was here three times for dessert :)

The Blue Pumpkin serves its own premium ice-cream and sorbets. Above average prices, lots of bakery choices, cool settings upstairs, service is efficient - cold towel even! Open for breakfast as early as 6 am. One of the fancier outlets here. Gets crowded with after-dinner crowd and with people buying discounted bakery items after 8 pm.

The cool, all-white 'upstairs' at The Blue Pumpkin, where you can literally kick off your shoes and stretch your legs on the 'sofa beds'.

Duck eggs, like balut? Nope, did not try this one.

I call this the Baguette sandwich. Very simple and tasty. 2000 riels I think it was.

Fried rice at the night market, Siem Reap.

Condiment : chilli, pounded with garlic and sugar, with fish sauce. Sweetish and not hot enough, I had to ask for chopped chillies and soya sauce.

Vegetarian fried rice for lunch at one of the stalls outside Ta Prohm. The big drama for the day was that the daughter of the stall owner got into a hair-pulling, kicking fight with a girl from another rival stall. They were at it for minutes and I think they would've escalated to biting each other if the police hadn't arrived. I was so hungry the incident didn't dent my appetite.

This was supposed to be Pad Thai, it certainly did not look like one however it was still quite good, a little bit on the mild side. Dinner at Temple Bar Balcony, Siem Reap.

Freshly baked loaves of baguette, soft and chewy, yummy on its own; Kampung Thom. In Phnom Penh, they also sell freshly fried char kui and chempiang.

Jiminy Cricket.

Are these tarantulas? They sure look like 'em.

Grasshoppers galore.

Meatball noodles soup. Smelled rather funky. An acquired taste. Phnom Penh coffeeshop.

Standard coffeeshop condiments : Fish sauce, pickled chilli padi, soya sauce, sugar, pepper, lime wedges.

Smoked/BBQ bananas, Phnom Penh.

Come to think of it, I didn't eat three meals every day. Some days I just snacked cos I was not that hungry, and as usual I was chugging so much water it filled up my stomach. Drinking/RO water was provided free in most of the places I stayed in, otherwise you can buy them from around 35 cents onwards for a local brand.


  1. i think they all look yummy to me. I esp drool over the one with mango slices. And they've got dragon for soup there? hehe. but with the signage it looks quite like our restaurants here in Msia.

  2. JIPP : Hehe, no dragons unfortunately... Yes, the signages are just like those we have here. What I like is how some outlets maximise the use of space effectively, even between alleys.

  3. Aud,

    You should have taken a pic of the stall owner's daughter's fight and posted it here. Would make a good picture story, hehehe.

    I saw snakes and rats sold as food along the roadside near the Catholic church in Siem Reap. Creepy, man ...

    Balu gives me the creeps too. It's something that I won't eat unless it's a matter of life and death!

  4. Hi Julie,

    Afterwards I thought I should've recorded it - it was quite vicious with family members from both sides taking part in the verbal abuse too. I was expecting them to 'tag-team', haha! Alas,hunger ruled the mind and I just wanted to eat :)