Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 2: Angkor Food Heaven

Note: This is a map of the Siem Reap town and map of Angkor temples area for easier reference of the places I'm talking about.

Since LF and I wanted to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, we had to wake up super early. We took breakfast after the sunrise (that hind behind the clouds :( booboo) at a stall recommended by out tuk-tuk driver. Yes... the same tuk-tuk driver that dumped us the day before.

The stall sucks! The first corner stall at the entrance of Bayon Temple area.

Over priced USD2.50 vegetable chicken noodle breakfast in a not so nice environment. I really don't like that tuk-tuk driver. MSG filled soup with Maggie style noodles. At least the chicken tasted tender.

We know better not to listen to him and let him bring up to another "clean delicious restaurant". Let me tell you the truth about road side stalls in Siem Reap and Angkor Temple areas. Yes they are dirty to a certain extend. Yup, I saw a but of flies. Yup, the road was dusty. But dirty no water supply mamak food also like that la. Fried banana and cekodok and the yummy indian rojak and cendol also dusty at the road side.

I can't tell you to eat or not but all I can say is Eat First Think Later because you don't know what your are missing out. Keep an open mind when it comes to tasting food. Now back to my review.

We ate lunch at all the stalls in front of the Angkor Wat area. A must place to go for food! Note: USD1 = 4000 riel

Super super delicious! This is smashed up sweet potato shaped in a flat rounded cake. The cake is then BBQed on both sides until it is dry and crispy. The sweet potato is still moist and really nice on the inside. 500 riel per piece.

I bought this BBQ pulut (glutinous rice) with banana for 1000 riel.

The rice is really good, very fragrant and have a super glutinous rice texture. When heated the banana soften and the sweetness soaked into the rice. Overall tasted ok, nothing special. LF didn't like it though, she said that their banana was a little different.

From the left are hard boiled eggs in a stick. Kind of a cute way of selling chicken eggs. The two other basin contains some kind of shellfish. The one in the middle is some thing like super mini escargots, the one at the end is a larger version but still smaller than the average escargots. They sell these in cups, 1 cup for 2000 riel. They taste ok, like escargots but the smaller once really have little flesh to bite. You can eat them by picking out the flesh with a toothpick. I was given a chili dipping sauce with it but the sauce was really diluted.

Ahhh really sweet mini chili crab. You can't eat the shell but the crab meat taste really fresh and sweet. I forgot how much one cost.

In Philippines, they call this "balut", but in Cambodia, this is called poriteh koun. This duck egg is no normal egg. This is actually boiled duck embryo. 1000 riel.

You will need to crack a hole in the egg first, suck all the sweet juice out from the egg. Squeeze lime into the egg and start peeling the skin off and eat. You can also dip a little of the salt and pepper mixture that they will provide. Actually, there's really nothing special about the duck embryo after the juice or sucked out. The egg tasted bland, not fragrant at all. The texture is the same, smooth. You can really try to feel the feather that is developing.. but cannot la. And of course, eat with an open mind. Don't show and feel the "EEEKKYEARR" face before you take a bite.

Ahh this like our pasar malam "queh kak" style of frying their "lou chi fun + laksa noodles" fried noodle. The noodles are pre-fried and put a side. When I ordered a plate, the lady took some noodles out and fry it with bean sprout, "kau choy", garlic, and duck egg. USD1.

The noodle did not come out as nice as expected. Not fragrant enough even with the duck egg. But the chili that was on the table was superb. Sweet, sour and salty. Later I found out that I could have actually ask the lady to add the chili while she is frying.

Highlights for the day is the BBQ pork lean meat and ribs. EXECELENT! MUST TRY! Juicy succulent perfect piece of BBQ pork.

I bought one stick of pork for USD1. Not sure how much the rest of the BBQ stuff cost but the stalls in front of Angkor Wat also BBQs fish, beef, cow testicals?, toads, duck feet, whole pigeon and a whole chicken. I think I saw pig liver too.

After lunch, me and LF wanted to head into Angkor again for our visit but it started to pour really heavy. We ended up at another shop for shade. While waiting... we ate again :P

Initially LF didn't want to eat this dish because I thought I saw the lady pounding a spider in the mixture. Later when I asked, I realized that it was just crab legs. So, papaya crab kerabu, which is called "???" in Cambodia. The kerabu had raw shredded papaya, basil, lime, long beans, lotus roots and Prahok. Prahok looks kind of disgusting, grey in colour like sand mud, fermented fish and prawn mixture. 2000 riel.

We saw this "Yau Char Queh" stall later on ...want to try but we were too full. So...

Ta pau! They call "Yau Char Queh" "hing'" in Cambodia. 200 riel per piece.
Middle: The puff looking piece is just like Malaysian curry puff pastry stuffed with sweeten coconut. Nothing special.
Bottom right: The star piece is a deep fried flour mixture that have the similar texture to the "Mah Keok Yau Char Queh", nice.
Top ring: The flat rectangle piece was the bomb! It is actually rice paper wrapped with stuffing and dipped into flour and deep fried. The stuff was delicious, with Sengkuang strips, grated coconut, spring onions and pepper.
Top left: The cute little pau like piece contains the same stuffing as the rectangle piece. The flour used is the same flour mixture used for the star piece.
Bottom left: The last round piece is actually fried flour stuffed with air. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

LF got to know about this "Kro Klan" from a friend. Bamboo stuffed with glutinous rice. Initially we thought that the bamboo was with pulut and banana. I thought the red beans in the rice was flies! HAHAHAHA The pulut with red beans was mixed with grated coconut. Tasted ok, will taste better if they have added salt.

At the end of the day... we were stuffed. We enjoyed our "Yau Char Queh" aka "hing'" and pulut red beans in our room with a can of beer each =) LF tried Bayon Beer this time... the blend wasn't as sweet. I still prefer Angkor Beer.

We also had a local Cambodian coffee later at night. Very nice smell, tasted ok. It had more of the Western coffee small rather then the local Kopi-O smell. USD3.50 for 500grams. You can buy it from the manufacturer Mr.Chang (He's Hokkien and speaks Hokkien and Mandrine) at his shop factory almost at the T junction from Golden Temple Villa. There's another shop selling coffee nearer to Golden Temple Villa but the coffee wasn't good.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Day 1: Siem Reap food heaven

My first meal, lunch, was at my guesthouse's restaurant. The Golden Temple Restaurant is located in the middle of Siem Reap Town, only 1 minute walk to Les Artisans D'Angkor, handicraft school, and few minutes walk to the Old Market the shopping area. They also have the Temple Bar, Temple Club that is located at the Pub street.

Their bottled chili and tomato sauces are not that nice. They don't really have enough taste in them. Kind of like the cheap chili and tomato sauces sold in a few liters bottle in Malaysia. The last bottle is a vegetable seasoning. It is salty like the soya sauce but taste totally different.

I ordered the famous must drink Angkor Beer on my first meal. I also ordered that because beer was cheaper than Coke! The ice lime tea that my travel partner LF ordered cost the same. Angkor Beer is really good. Only USD0.80 man. (RM3 only!!!) I am not a beer drinker. I don't like the taste, and I can't take the gas. But Angkor's brew is really nice and sweet. I ended up burping a lot though.

Lok Lak is stir fried beef with oyster sauce that comes with a really good dipping sauce. The oyster sauce they used is different from those we have in Malaysia. The dipping sauce was really good, tasted like a mixture of tarragon vinegar, cincia lok and black pepper.

Nope, I didn't run "Amok" when I ate this clay pot mixture of fish, fresh turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, krachai, palm sugar, red hot hot whole chili padi and lots and lots of coconut milk. I didn't like the whole Amok action, too much of coconut milk for my liking but I did like the slok gno leaf (Morinda Citrifolia in Latin) that they used in it. It tasted a little bitter sweet and rubbery.

I ate the whole chili padi that was in the clay pot. I ended up drinking a lot of beer and tea to cool myself down. Really hot!

We left the guest house to do some touring around town and our tuk-tuk driver brought us to this "high class" shopping place to shop called Rajaboni Market. I saw a lot of our own Malaysian local tidbits there. Rota and Apollo was everywhere. Waste of time.

In the late evening, I was in front of Angkor Wat. I saw this man in a motorbike selling pau, Cambodian call them "Umph Rou Pau". I was later told that this was a Chinese recipe but localized. So pau is still pau, just Cambodian pau.

The pau smelt funny, I think they put a lot of artificial fragrance in it. If not, it must have been the yellow part of the pau. I'm not sure what the yellow bread part was but I'm guessing it's banana. The pau itself tasted bland. No natural sweetness at all. I believe they did not use wheat flour, but some of their local rice flour mixed with potato flour.

The inside of the pau was yucky for me. I didn't finish the pau. I didn't even like the pork sausage ("lap cheong") on top.

After tasting all the rest of delicious Cambodian food, I think I just bought the wrong pau.. or just a really unfresh pau.

We left Angkor Wat to visit the killing field then headed to the Dead Fish Tower for dinner. My tuk-tuk driver recommended the Jasmine Angkor Restaurant located Achamean Street, behind the de la Paix hotel. They serve international and local Khmer food, buffet style. The food review was good. My mom and sis personally recommended the place. USD12 per head including the traditional Apsara dance performance. For westerners, it seemed that they prefer the Bayon I (traditional shadow puppet performace, or Bayon II (Apsara dance performance) restaurants that also serves internal buffet. I think it's more on the East and West taste buds.

I wanted to try something new so me and LF ended up in Dead Fish Tower. Apsara dance performance will start at 7pm, 7.20pm a local courting dance performance, and at 8pm, a Cambodian music performance.

The ambiance is really nice. The whole restaurant has this tree house feel to it as it has different tiers and levels. To view the performance, you will need to sit at the upper tiers as the stage is also located in the upper tiers, elevated about 7 feet from the earth. You will need to remove your shoes if you are in the upper tiers.

I decided that I needed a coconut to be less heaty. There was only a tiny hole in the coconut I ordered. There was no way anyone could have eaten the coconut flesh in it. What a waste. USD1.50

This sotong dish is called Cha-Urk. Stired fried with a lot of garlic, herbs, basil, chli padi, lemon grass and a lot of daun limau purut. The limau purut leafs really brought out the fragrances and the taste (not for getting the spicyness) of the dish. Kind of Vietnamese style dish. USD3.50

This is their Thai style pork fried rice called Kau-Pad-Ki-Mau. The rice was good, and spicy too, basil, garlic and chili. USD3.50

We walked back to our hotel after dinner because our tuk-tuk driver dump us there. It seems that Dead Fish Tower don't pay commission, Jasmine Angkor did.... he was pissed that we didn't want to eat at Jasmine Angkor. We were pissed too actually... but walk was ok. Took up only about 7 mins to walk back to our guesthouse, which on the way, we passed by many mini market.

We hunted for cheap drinking water and stumbled upon Max Mart. USD0.55 for a can of cold Angkor Beer is what I needed. All I needed LOL! They sell all beer at USD0.55, you can get USD0.50 Angkor at a petrol pump (Express) further up north of town opposite the center aka new market, but the other beers cost much more there.

Back at the hotel and slept with a very full stomach.

Note: This is a map of the Siem Reap town for easier reference of the places I'm talking about.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My super big breakfast

I'm BACK!!! And I miss the food in Cambodia! I need a few days to sort things out before I can log everthing down. Boyyy this is going to be a tough job because I really ate a lot in Siem Reap.

To make reading easier, I will not post anything on my trip until I get it all typed out nicely... for now, enjoy the non Cambodia food I have to offer =P

My super big breakfast *BURBBBBB*

Two pieces of toast with orange jam and honey.

Two really yummy breakfast sausages bought from the non-halal section in Atria, Damansara Jaya's Giant. I get all my ham, bacon, sausages there always. I love their pineapple ham there! They usually have discount for Christmas with you buy the whole ham! Not sure how many kilograms though.

Vegetable mix of carrots, red capsicum, onions, potatoes, and vegetarian soya meat.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Plants from my little garden

I will be off on a holiday and won't be updating until I get back... so I'm leaving you with a long post and some home work research to do.

I have a small garden at home, but gladly mom found ways to fit all these vegetables and herbs in there. Sometimes there's just so much plants that I don't really know which is for decoration and beautification or herbs! So let me walk you through and hopefully you can help me do some research (for me hehe) or feed me some info I don't know about the plants I have in my garden.

Plant 1: "Hong Mou Yin Sai" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as English Parsley. The leaf is lanky and older leafs are thorny. The leaf gives out a very strong parsley smell. The texture is thick and crunchier compared to normal parsley or coriander. I'm not sure if there are any medicinal value to this plant but I usually chop the leafs up, add sugar, soya sauce, chili padi and lime to make a dipping sauce for steamed chicken.

Anyone hear or eaten this plant?

Plant 2: Aloe Vera is found in many gardens. There used to be a lot of Aloe Veras at my grandma's place in the past and when I pok kai (fall and hurt myself) and bleed, my grandma used to break one of the Aloe Vera leaf and use the gel in it to heal and give a cooling effect to my wound.

"Aloe Vera can be a useful treatment for a range of ailments from inflammation and arthritis, to sunburn and bites"

Anyone knows any recipe to cook Aloe Vera? It tastes really bitter when eaten raw.

Plant 3: "Sheh Yip" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Snake Leaf. The plant grows up to a meter in height. The leafs are green and narrow. I believe in some Chinese Medical Hall, they do sell the dried pounded version of this leaf in capsules. It is believe that "Sheh Yip" can cure heatyness and body aches. Since young, my dad would pluck the leafs from the garden, soak them in salt water for an hour or so, then roll it up and force me to swallow when I am falling sick due to heatyness. Till date, I'm not really sure if it works. The younger leaf taste less better, but the dark greener older and more bitter leafs gives more powerful effect. What is this leaf called in English?

Plant 3: "Dei Tham Dau" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Earth Pillow Head? The whole plant actually grows flat on the floor. When it is time for the plant to multiply, the flower and stigma grows up high in the middle. The leafs are course and hairy. My mom started planting this when she found out that this helped one of my relative to "cleanse the toxins" of her body. I can say that both my parents family have complicated medical background… hence dangerous on my parents (and me!). Mom has a sickness and since she started boiling the leafs in water and drinking it, she felt that she felt better. It really detox her and you know what, I think it really works because I really feel that she have changed, her mood is better (as I think it improves the secretion of certain hormones too). She don’t boil them anymore though, but soaks them in salt water, and then pound the chlorophyll out to drink. And....EEE YUCK! All good things taste BAD! REALLY BITTER!

My mom is willing to volunteer to be a test patient for anyone who is interested in researching this plant for medicinal purposes. She has great confidence in this plant as rumors has that this plant prevents other sickness like cancer... but you know la... how true? I don't know.

Plant 4: What is the name of this plant?

I'm not even sure if my mom planted the correct plant in the first place. She told me that the buds and flower of this plant can be boiled in water ...good for cold and cough. The thing is, I have never seen flowers or buds on this plant. I think there's another plant that looks like that but with the flowers and plants.

Plant 5: Ok, another "miracle" plant, this one for the eyes. But wait, this is no plant.... it's that weed growing every where in the park, in my garden... along the road side!!!! And mom tells me this is good for the eyes! Really ah? Don't know that this is called but mom have boiled this in water and drank it few times. .....I can actually sum it all up... all the boiled herbal plants taste EEEYUCKKKK!

Plant 6: "Hak Min Cheong Kuan" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Black Faced General. Another unproven Chinese medicinal plant to prevent cancer. The leaf is soft and thick and have course hair on it... a little sharp actually.

How true? We need more scientist to research on all this kind of plants.

Plant 7: "Kor Kong Long" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Cross the River. Mom says that this should be boiled together with the "Hak Min Cheong Kuan" to drink. The leaf looks a little like the "Sheh Yip" but this one has a darker colour and is more narrow at the tip of the leaf.

If only the Chinese were less kiasu and shared all the medicinal (and other knowledge) with the public or their family. All the information is now just passed down as word of mouth. The real research done long ago in China vanished when the brain died. So sad....

Plant 8: "Misai Kuching" in Malay and called "Mau Sou Chou" in Canotonese. In English, the Cat Whiskers Grass. The flower of this plant is very pretty and have cat whiskers like pettles. I'm not sure how true the medicinal value of this plant is proven but many local manufactures have turned this plant into tea leafs... and boy it really sells at high price! I'm lucky my family don't have to buy them when we want to drink because my aunty actually plants a lot of them and makes tea leafs for us. Best tasting herbal drink out of all the plants in my garden.

"Misai Kuching (Orthosiphon Stamineus) is a medicinal herb found mainly throughout South East Asia and tropical Australia. It is believed to have anti allergic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It is used as a remedy for arteriosclerosis (capillary and circulatory disorders), kidney stones, diabetes and nephritis.

It is trusted for many centuries for treating ailments of the kidney, bladder stone, urinary tract infection, liver and bladder problems, diabetes, rheumatism and gout. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure."

Plant 9: "Leng Ka Loke" (pronounced in Hokkien) is not Daun Sirih. Looks like it but it's not. And it's not that leaf you find at the longkang (drain) side ok...tho it grows well there because of all the "nutrients" the crawling roots get from the water. This leaf is used for dishes like otak-otak and perut ikan. Baba Nyonya's and Peranakan's would be familiar about this leaf.

I personally like slicing the leafs into thin strips and mixing it in egg to make a Leng Ka Loke egg omelet. But beware, the plant helps to "Get rid of air" "Tui Foong". You fart a lot after that LOL!

Plant 10: "Poh Ho" aka Chinese Mint. The shape is the leaf is like a larger version of the mint leaf. The leaf is thicker and hairier though. Mom says it’s good for cough. Not sure if it's wet cough or dry cough though. The leaf should be soaked in salt water first. The leaf should be place in a tablespoon of hot water, and then eaten.

And is this proven to work? I don't know la... I don't want to get sick to try.

Plant 11: Pandan. I'll whack you if you don't know this plant. Go Google it if you don't know.

And some self praise here.. I make good Pandan pound cake! HAHAHAHA :P

Oh and sometimes you will notice that some Pandan tend not to grow as big as other... as in the leafs are to slim and short. There's a few types of Pandan that I see people grow in their garden. The larger ones are easier to grow, but the leafs are not as fragrant as the smaller leaf species. The larger once that leaf grows over a meter long and have thorns should never be used for cooking. Too bitter and no Pandan fragrant at all. They will just spoil your dish.

Plant 12: Spring Onions. I have don't always have these... but I found the shallots in my kitchen growing leafs... so plant them only la. Looks so cute.

So there you go. My garden is a garden of bitter tasting (unproven) medicinal herbs. And through out my younger years, I have been taken all this leafs. I can't really remember if they really work. I don't take them anymore because... I haven't fall sick for a long long time. But if any of you are interested... well.. drop me an email and I can work it out for the plant to end up in your garden too.

Note: I am neither a doctor nor an herbalist. This post is written based on word of mouth from my relatives and mom. Although I have eaten them, this doesn't not mean you will have no allergy from it if you try them. Please consult your doctor, sensei, or use your own judgment before you attempt to give these plants a go. I take no responsibility if you fall ill, get drain damage, lose a limb, or die consuming all of the above mentioned plants.

Ok la.. I was over exaggerating, but you get what I mean right?

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Key Hiong Restaurant (Dim Sum)

Back when I was in secondary school, I used to train for track and field events I participate in. My dad trained with me in the mornings because it was dangerous for me to run alone. We used to wake up early and run from my home to Taman Megah, and do a circle and run back.

There was a time when I ran ahead... I ended up in Taman Megah first and got a little hungry.... so...

I waited for my dad and we had dim sum at Key Hiong. This restaurant have been open since a long time. They don't serve the "best" dim sum around but dim sum there taste above average. When people say "Come, lets go for dim sum" I will always say, "Ok, lets meet at Key Hiong".

They add new creations to their dim sum every now and then, so I have never got bored of eating dim sum there. They have already retained the originals that keeps me going back. And when I don't eat there, I always ta pau! (take away)

Now a days, my dad ta pau the Dai Pau, Char Siew Pau, Fishballs and Siew Mai for me and my sister when we sleep until the afternoons hehehe. These are a few of my favorites. More on that to come but let's focus on the yummiest pau. The Dai Pau.

I really didn't like Dai Paus back then. But when I tried the Dai Pau from Key Hiong, I keep insisting for Dai Pau over any pau. Of course, I only insist for Dai Pau in Key Hiong. And yeah, the Dai Pau is double... triple the size of the Char Siew Pau (hence the name Dai Pau, big pau) so it can be very filling.

The bun is really moist and soft and the inside is just nice. Most of the Dai Pau I have tasted else where are toooo dry on the inside. The Dai Pau is stuffed with a mixture of marinated lean pork, garlic, onions and half of a hard boiled egg.

The Dai Pau is a must to try!!! If not ta pau!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pan Sandwich

You know.. I felt kind of lame after doing this. I mean I could have used the toaster, so much easier. I guess I was the "itchy hand" kind of person and want to do things the hard way.
It started off with me wanting to make my bread crispy. I spread butter on both sides of my bread and flip in on my hot pan. While waiting for my bread to get crispy, my itchy hands got an eggs and beat it up. I then soaked the bread in the egg and continue "toasting".

The whole toasting thing sounded boring to my taste buds. So I ended up spreading peanut butter on the crispy buttered egg bread. Yummmm the peanut butter melted because of the heat.

I continued "toasting" my other half of the bread with the butter, egg and peanut butter. But this time, I added slices of banana on to it. It's like making a sandwich but on a pan. Ohh and I added cheese as well. The cheese melted all over the banana. Slurp!

When the two pieces of bread was put together, I got this. wahahaha! *drools* Poured some maple syrup to top it off.

In the end, looks great but the taste... normal la. I don't think I will do this again. This is why.

- Cheese and banana is just ok together. Banana with chocolate complement each other better. And cheese goes better with meat.
- I can't really taste the egg in the bread. Either use a lot of egg (or egg yoke because the yoke gives out the fragrant), or none at all.
- I still prefer the sandwich toasties compared to this.

Having tasted the just so so pan sandwich. I made another with chocolate and banana! HAHAHAHA!

I used unsweetened chocolate chips, and chopped white chocolate chopped and thin slices of banana.

Went though the same butter, bread, pan process and topped it with syrup.

Jeng jeng jeng jegggg. Black, white and yellow sandwich! Suitable for all regions! HAHAHAHA okok I'll cut it out with the lame jokes…. Sorry if I offended anyone… I wasn’t being racist and banging on skin color.

I’m banana by the way :p Yellow outside, white on the inside… if you get what I mean ehehehe.

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