Cambodia: FOOD!

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:

  • The main courses:

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A noodle and tofu soup.


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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!


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A curry with Khmer noodles. One of the best curries I have ever had! Very sweet, veggies cooked to perfection, it was beautiful.


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A amok (veggie version of course), which is like a good curry.


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A nice, fresh pomelo and banana flower salad. Whenever I feel safe in a restaurant, I order raw veggies.


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A tofu lok lak. Traditionally it’s anything but vegetarian, but the tofu variation was great.

 

  • The crazy fruits:
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    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.


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    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.


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    Our daily intake of fruits. Delicious half sized bananas, juicy rambutans and majestic dragon fruit.

     
  • The sweets:

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Dough: plain one, filled with coconut jam or banana, they were all great!


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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!


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Mmmm… Pumpkin cake… Served in a banana leaf. Might be specific to Ratanakiri.


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Che chuoi, similar to the Vietnamese che, but probably sweeter and with lot of egg based stuff.


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A pumpkin and coconut muffin, another Ratanakiri twist on dessert with pumpkin!


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Again a pumpkin treat from Ratanakiri. It looks terrible but does taste good.

  • The snacks:

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That delicious rice cake is grilled, filled with greens and generously soaked in some kind of sweet vinegar.


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A bamboo stick…


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…and once peeled off,  it’s a tube of sticky rice with beans and coconut. Yum, I could eat that everyday…


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A banana paper roll!

 

 

  • The drinks:

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We tried all of those drinks over 2 days. That’s how good they are, the winner being number 5!


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The local beer, actually quite good!

 

  • The weird:

 

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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.

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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.

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