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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9 pieces of worms:

Rasa Malaysia

Their street vendors food are not very good, some of them are quite unappealing in appearance especially those sold at the Old Market. Well, at least your pau looks decent and interesting.

Did you see fried bugs vendors on the streets?



Don't u find the coconuts there are much bigger? At 1 restaurant, we insisted that they chop open the coconuts for the flesh. Took quite sometime to convince them to do it but well worth it!


rasa malaysia: some street vendor's food were very good actually... old market's food was ok too.. some didnt look too good but tasted really good

tummythoz: yeahhh!!! i was taking forever to finish the coconut water.. keep on drinking but still wondering how come still go much left.


Definitely my kind of place !

Already fell in love with Angkor Beer ( @ blogsight )! Brought back any ah, will buy from u at RM5.10/can ,ok! I need 6 .


tonixe: i wanted too lo.. wanna buy the whole crate.. but custom there sure cannot liua.. plus my bagage already over weight .. *sign*


Sadly, the pau you ate is pretty much the only pau available in Cambodia - and it's not that fantastic.

I've eaten quite a bit from the Old Market in Siem Reap, and I'm glad that you managed to find some good food amongst it all - it can take some heavy digging to find it.


phil: I saw this guy selling plain pau... i didnt try it after my first experience with cambodian pau.

Did you know what they still different food at the same stalls in the Old Market at different hours? Kind of hard catching all of em


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