Before I get to Day 3, let me say that we had a great time in Cambodia experimenting with new food. I always like to try new foods and at times I get more excited about the food than anything else when traveling. Carrie might think I travel just to eat, as if I don’t get enough at home. Anyways, see some photos below and I will describe briefly a few dishes we had including ones not pictured.
I know what you are thinking, why aren’t there more pictures? Well truth be told during lunches we were taking a break from pictures and at dinner…well I will explain that below.
Anyways the two meals pictured have both Angkor Beer and Anchor beer both of which are good but I think Angkor beer besides having a way better logo tasted creamier and had more of a full flavoured taste. Honestly the anchor beer just tasted like water. However, for 50 cent drafts I guess it was worth a try.
The first meal pictured is at lunch near Angkor Wat at a tourist type place with still decent food, I do not have the name written down and no need to recommend it. The coconut you see in the top photo is a dish called Amok which is a mix between curry and soup and contains a type of meat, traditionally fish but we tried our first one with chicken and it was pretty good. It was much milder than curry and therefore not heavy and hot which was good for the weather but it still had enough spice to pair well with the rice.
The second meal we had at Khmer Kitchen on Pub St in Siem Reap is a place you must go if you are in Siem Reap (both Pub street the restaurant). The food was wonderful. The picture is of our meal which was made up of Khmer Curry and Chicken Loc Lac (Lok Lak). The Khmer Curry was wonderful. It was a good mix between Indian Curries which are heavier and Thai Curries which are lighter but spicier. Thus it had a creamy coconut milk taste that was well balanced with the spice. The Loc Lac is stir fried marinated meat and served with a black pepper and lemon/lime sauce that I thought was very refreshing. It was a very unique way to pair a light sauce with a stir fry dish. I almost felt as if it cooled me down. Quite nice and again I would recommend this restaurant.
The second day we had lunch at another small restaurant between temples and Carrie and I had fruit shakes, Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry which was superb, and Khmer Curry that was lackluster. Again no need to recommend this place except for the stir fry and even then no need to go out of your way to find it.
The second night we had dinner at Angkor Palm restaurant in Siem Reap which was an upscale place (dishes around $5 USD instead of $3USD) and we had Fish Amok (but this time cooked in banana leaf so it was less soupy), ginger chicken, and unripe mango salad. I would recommend the ginger chicken and the fish amok was an interesting dish to compare to the amok we had on the first day, but the mango salad was too sweet and covered in sauce. Not as refreshing as the Thai style and not something I would order again.
Following dinner Carrie started feeling sick and we headed back to the hotel so she could get to sleep early. In fact about two hours later I woke up and started feeling ill as well. So we were both beset with what was likely food poisoning of some sort despite our precautions and we spent day 3 like the photo below: <>
Despite this minor setback we had a wonderful time in Siem Reap and were happy we saw the temples before falling ill. We are still fighting the remnants of some GI problems a few days later but it doesn’t make us want to travel any less. In fact, now that we missed parts of Siem Reap we might just have to head back there to see it again.
Cambodia really put things in perspective in a lot of ways. The history of the temples was amazing as was the craftsmanship of the carvings and statues. However, what was just as fascinating was that the people we met were so nice and optimistic, despite the recent history of the Khmer Rouge who killed 25% of the population just being deposed 30 years ago and the civil war in Cambodia ending just 20 years ago. Cambodia was closed to tourism in my lifetime and to see the resiliency, the friendliness, and the joy of the Cambodians really puts a smile on your face.
It also made me appreciate all we have as these people struggle to live on a dollar or less a day. It makes you realize that experiences, friends and family not material items make people happy and it makes you cherish the comforts of home even more. The access to safe drinking water, decent roads, good education, basic medical, etc are all taken for granted and this trip was an eye opener to one of the more impoverished places I have traveled. It was a wonderful trip to soak in some history, religion, culture, and slow down my life for at least a couple of days.