Cambodian food didn’t wow me at first. Actually it was even the opposite, and on my first week there I was a little disgusted by the different smells and the mostly greasy dishes. I lost my appetite for a few days and absolutely nothing I could see looked any good to me. It was bad. I never turn my back to food, but here I was, ready to loose weight.
There are vegetarian and vegan restaurants everywhere we went to (like in Vietnam), but I just couldn’t find anything new and exciting. That was until we arrived in Battambang, stumbled upon a small vegetarian eatery that I still remember fondly. We went there three times and it was consistently delicious. I was still struggling to finish my dishes but I was finally enjoying the Khmer food!
Food definitely is part of the travel experience for me, missing on the local gastronomy would be nothing short of depressing! I refuse to eat anything else than local food and do not understand why so many foreigners keep going to westerner restaurants. That’s why I dedicate a post to food for each country, it is important! Anyway! After Battambang we went to Siem Reap, where loads of street food was out, and then, I realized where lied the appeal of Cambodian food (at least to me): street desserts! They are freakin’ unbelievably varied and everywhere! After 3 weeks in Vietnam where there is no dessert, what a relieve! My sweet tooth satisfied, everything about that first few days that started off so bad was forgotten. I loved to eat again, damn it!
Less blah blah, more photos:
A noodle and tofu soup.
Those noodles reminded me of the spaetzles we have in Alsace (in France) and could be found everywhere in the street. They’re so good!
A curry with Khmer noodles. One of the best curries I have ever had! Very sweet, veggies cooked to perfection, it was beautiful.
A amok (veggie version of course), which is like a good curry.
A nice, fresh pomelo and banana flower salad. Whenever I feel safe in a restaurant, I order raw veggies.
A tofu lok lak. Traditionally it’s anything but vegetarian, but the tofu variation was great.
- The crazy fruits:
The left fruit is hard outside and actually good inside. The right fruit looks like a weird set of balls, has spikes and smells so bad I couldn’t put it in my mouth (not related to the previous point). People who dared to taste it (Jean and Tungsten) said it was not that bad compare to the smell.
That looks like a longan from the outside, that looks like a rambutan from the inside, that’s everywhere in Angkor, but that will kill you. Even the ants would turn away from it.
Our daily intake of fruits. Delicious half sized bananas, juicy rambutans and majestic dragon fruit.
- The sweets:
Dough: plain one, filled with coconut jam or banana, they were all great!
The best thing EVER! A rice flour coconut (cream and grated) filled crepe. Once ready it’s rigid, like a big wafer crepe but so much better!
Mmmm… Pumpkin cake… Served in a banana leaf. Might be specific to Ratanakiri.
Che chuoi, similar to the Vietnamese che, but probably sweeter and with lot of egg based stuff.
A pumpkin and coconut muffin, another Ratanakiri twist on dessert with pumpkin!
Again a pumpkin treat from Ratanakiri. It looks terrible but does taste good.
That delicious rice cake is grilled, filled with greens and generously soaked in some kind of sweet vinegar.
A bamboo stick…
…and once peeled off, it’s a tube of sticky rice with beans and coconut. Yum, I could eat that everyday…
A banana paper roll!
We tried all of those drinks over 2 days. That’s how good they are, the winner being number 5!
The local beer, actually quite good!
Technically a root. Lotus seeds are found inside that thing. It looks weird from outside and from inside.
– Spiders. They fry them alive with all their hair and legs and everything apparently, because they’re too hard to kill without crushing them and what would be left to eat, right.
Those big insects (some as big as a thumb) are eaten as potato chips. People buy them before going on a bus and snack on them for example.