Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cambodia Part 1

First stop after leaving the airport, regardless of the cooked fishballs and fresh tau kwa in my carry-on luggage, was somewhere where we could get a good solid dose of Cambodian food.

Papaya salad, fish amok, beef sour soup and some excellent fried chicken. Amok restaurant however, is a slight disappointment... Khmer Kitchen was much better. It was still all pretty decent tasting, just that I felt that the flavours were a little muted, the sour soup not tart enough, the amok not spicy or coconutty enough. Maybe it's due to the fact that Amok restaurant caters alot to the caucasian crowd. It was good enough though, we were so full after that.

The next day started a little late, so no breakfast and a very ordinary rice lunch with stuffed bittergourd soup and some stir fried long beans. One thing we were quick to notice however, was the copious use of MSG in our food. Something had to be done there, but we let it rest for now.. Our late afternoon visit to Pasar Toutompong distracted us with a delightful aroma...

We had no idea what it was.. could have been dog meat for all we knew. My non-meat-loving friend was drooling... how cool was that?! Served with a super crunchy, hot toasted, light-as-air baguettes, slathered with a sweet butter inside, the alternate mouthfuls of fragrantly sweet barbequed meat, and light chewy crunch was oddly satisfactory. We had four sticks of meat and two baguettes altogether and I think it cost about USD1.50. I cannot remember, but I know it was a ridiculously tiny price for such a wonderful snack. Locals were just coming and going, and it was fascinating to watch.

Walking around after that, we saw a little stall that had, amongst all the other packaged snacks some trays of little sweetmeats, just like the kueh kueh we have at home. These green ones looked fascinating, so we bought one to try for 300riel 5cents USD, they were good, not too sweet, filled with some light brown coconut, the skin like mooncake snowskin. Not a coconut fan, W wasn't too impressed, but I quite liked it.

Walking back to our place, we saw this one shop selling some kind of fritters.. they were huge, and we though maybe it was banana. I was really disappointed though, it was more batter than anything else. i could hardly see or smell the banana. W liked it.. she's a more batter than banana person I guess.. Or maybe it WASN'T banana... I still have no idea.. Anyone knows?

Dinner was a coup.....

I've read about beef Loc Lac, and heard bad things about it too but never really tried it. Fortunately for me the first version I've ever had also had to be the best! Beef cubes were perfectly done medium and the sauce, tasty and peppery, perfect with the steaming mound of rice. One more thing to go on my list of things to eat in Cambodia. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place, although I can ask my friends if anyone is interested. Definitely worth the find, and the 3 or 4 usd price tag.


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