I realize I’ve been fairly slack on blogging over the past couple of months. No excuses are ever sufficient, but it is largely because I have spent a lot of time with friends recently, and it is difficult to set aside enough time write, particularly when I’ve been doing a lot of off the cuff travel planning. As of last Friday, I finished up about five weeks in SE Asia. Believe it or not, I do things other than eat while I travel. SE Asia didn’t blow me away food wise (other than my eating exploits in Hoi An, which I documented sufficiently a couple of weeks ago), but what I found most rewarding about my time there was reeducating myself about the Cambodian civil war (if you can call annihilating a huge quantity of your own people who aren’t really fighting back a civil war) and the Vietnam war. Anyway, just wanted to write a quick catch up post.
Melbourne foodie posts on the way…
So here again comes another post that is not about food. But given the significance of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom — for their religious, historical, and cultural importance, all of which has led to world heritage site status and a spot on the list of the seven wonders of the world — I feel it necessary to share some photos. My dad also shared an interesting link with me — check it out here.
Tonight, thanks to Alex’s careful review of ‘delicious’ magazine, we ventured to a vegetarian restaurant in Siem Reap (the launching point for Angkor Wat) called Chamkar. Dinner at Chamkar was the best meal I have had in Cambodia. We tried the signature dish ‘rediscovering tofu’ (I actually needed to rediscover it because I have lost interest in bean curd of late), which was tofu stuffed with fried pumpkin, curry paste, and toasted peanuts and served with an onion and green pepper chutney. It was very tasty.
However, I preferred the other dishes we tried, which were all fresh and leafy — a nice change from the endless curries and stir fries that tend to overwhelm the menus here. We had a vegetarian version of the Cambodian green mango salad, without fish sauce, but with toasted peanuts and fresh herbs.
Fresh spring rolls made with green mango, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, and herbs, served with a sweet coconut, peanut and chili sauce.
And finally, probably my favorite, a rice noodle salad made of wide rice noodles tossed with herbs, tomato, cucumber and lettuce in a sesame sauce.
Stay tuned for some pictures of Angkor Wat coming soon.
Cambodian, or Khmer, cuisine is, in many ways, similar to the food of Thailand (although it is generally not as spicy) and Vietnam (with whom it share a French colonial history). There is also a hint of Indian and Chinese influence throughout. I would say that I haven’t been overwhelmed by the food here — it is good, but I don’t think it is as exciting, spicy, or flavorful as Thai and Vietnamese food (the latter of which I can’t wait to put away in a week and a half). I’ve had trouble finding a meal to blog about, because while most things are good, I haven’t found them to great (or solidly horrible, which, of course, would also be worth a post).
When I was in France a couple of weeks ago, one of the group’s none-skiing past times was sampling different flavors of potato chips. Our favorite was definitely the “cheeseburger.” It tasted exactly like McDonalds pickles and ketchup. I have now found a chip that blows the cheeseburger out of the water. What this is doing in Cambodia, I have no idea.
Here are a couple of other snaps…