Owwwww. Jet lag. I’d like to be able to soak my eyeballs in a tumbler of Berocca right now! After a 40 minute speed boat ride, a 25 minute car transfer, a 1 hour flight followed by a 12 hour flight and finally a 1 hour tube journey, we have arrived home from holiday in South East Asia. Despite looking haggard, we returned inspired, humbled, educated and overloaded with dirty washing.
Our trip started in The Kingdom of Cambodia. Having never tried any Cambodian food, we were expecting a mix of Thai and Vietnamese but Cambodian cuisine was different, not to mention damn tasty! The food is meatier than we imagined. We had ½ a Khmer BBQ chicken each on our first lunch break and huge meat kebabs for our first evening meal… and the meat sweats as a result!
Our lunch platters overflowed with BBQ’d meat, satays, nutty Khmer salads, deep-fried prawns and pumpkin balls with sweet and peppery dipping sauces. This was followed by refreshing watermelon, pineapple and dragon fruit. We waddled out of the restaurants, grateful for afternoons of climbing temple steps!
We’d later speed off for dinner in a little tuk-tuk and enjoy a traditional Cambodian curry. Sometimes served in a young coconut, this was delicious pork or chicken curried with coconut milk, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, infused with lemongrass and galangal. There were also lots of seafood dishes – red snapper, catfish and prawns – soups, stir-frys and salads.
So to sum up, Cambodian fare is meaty, it’s fragrant, it’s not too spicy and it’s delicious! I’d recommend a visit for many reasons, one of them being the food!
Siem Reap Restaurant Recommendations:
1. The Touich – number 1 on Trip Advisor and we could see why! This is the best restaurant we visited. The food, service and atmosphere were excellent. Make sure you book ahead. Recommend the Sautéed Beef with spice and lemongrass along with Assortment Brouchettes. http://the-touich-restaurant-bar.blogspot.com/p/restaurant-and-bar.html
2. Viroth – upmarket al-fresco restaurant targeting tourists. Great ambience and good food. Pretty romantic actually :-) http://www.viroth-hotel.com/restaurant.php
3. BBQ Suki Restaurant – great set lunch menu including tasty Khmer BBQ’d meat.
Cambodian Chicken Salad
Here’s my recipe for a Khmer chicken salad – zingy and fresh with salty peanuts and chilli.
For the salad:
– 2 carrots, sliced into thin strips
– ½ small white cabbage, thinly sliced
– ¼ cucumber, sliced into thin strips
– 1 green chilli, finely sliced
– 300g cooked chicken fillets, cooled and cut into strips
– 3 spring onions, finely chopped
– Good handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
– 1 clove of garlic, crushed
– Handful of salted peanuts, crushed
For the dressing:
– Juice of 1 lime
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tbsp spoon white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
– Few drops of fish sauce
– Salt and pepper
1. Combine all of the salad ingredients into a bowl and mix well
2. For the dressing, juice your lime and add the oil, vinegar and fish sauce, along with a pinch of salt and pepper
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix well, leave for a couple of minutes for everything to combine
4. Turn out onto a plate and finish with a squeeze of lime, a drizzle more extra virgin olive oil and a sprig of coriander.