Fantastic food in Siem Reap

Going to Siem Reap in Cambodia was without a doubt one of the best trips (and certainly the most meaningful on a grander scale) I have taken since re-locating to Manila.  The country is stunning, the people are incredible and truly moving, and the temples are awe-inspiring, but I expected all this.  What I did not expect was for the food to be so good!  Cambodian food is like a mixture of Vietnamese and Thai and takes some of the best aspects from both.  Plus, most dishes are about $3-5.  We felt like royalty ordering and devouring so many dishes and I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of food everywhere we went.  Nothing works up an appetite like exploring temples all day.

Green mango salad, which is like papaya salad – I’ve seen (and eaten) this in the Philippines but to be honest it was way better in Cambodia.  It was tangy but not too spicy and the perfect starter, hence we got it at every meal we had.

Amok – the traditional Cambodian dish that is present at almost every restaurant.  This was three different kinds – fish, chicken, and mixed seafood.  It’s like a mild curry served with rice.  Seriously delicious – I actually preferred it to Indian curries or even Thai curries as it was flavorful but also wasn’t all about the sauce and was more about the actual substance of meat and vegetables.  So good!

FRESH ROLLS.  I have to say, the fresh rolls that I had in Cambodia were perhaps the best I’ve ever had.  I’ve always been a huge fan of fresh rolls and can devour an entire plate of them in one sitting no problem, but I’d always thought of them as a Vietnamese specialty.  The Cambodian ones aren’t too different but have less emphasis on shrimp.  The dipping sauce is peanut-y and delicious and everywhere we got these they were just so fresh.  I was really impressed that a country as poor as Cambodia had such high quality fresh ingredients (that didn’t make me sick).  Loved these and obviously forced the guys to order them at every meal.

Will you look at that?  VEGETABLES.  So good.  Honestly I miss just making vegetable stir fries, so when I see one in a restaurant I order it in a second.  This was was delicious, especially combined with the amok!

One night we went to a Cambodian barbeque restaurant where we could have such delicacies as ostrich and kangaroo – see pictures above for how helpfully they labeled the meats.

You cook the meat yourselves and they put hot broth in the outside of the meat cooker where you can then cook noodles and vegetables that they give you.  It’s a pretty fun marriage of Korean barbeque and Japanese hot pot.  Way to go Cambodians – you really know how to cater to your tourists.

AWESOME Cambodian crepe, filled with a mixture of minced chicken and shrimp.  The way they presented everything was wonderful as well – simple, but pretty, with lots of orchids as decoration.

Eating in Cambodia was really fantastic – hunger enhanced by temple exploration, company who were willing to share everything and order heaps of stuff (so important for food blogging purposes of course), and surprisingly fresh and delicious combinations of ingredients served to us in a great atmosphere.   It was a truly meaningful weekend and the food made it even better!

Also, apologies for the longer times in between posts…I only like to write about food that has really affected me or been quite interesting, and now that I’ve lived in this part of the world for longer I am becoming a bit more discerning and not wanting to write about everything.  However, later this week I head back to Australia for a few days and that will be fodder for multiple posts, as I plan on going insane baking to come out of the biggest hiatus I’ve ever had.  So prepare thyselves for a storm of blogging in about a week…

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