16 November 2014

Cambodia | Siem reap's other non-temple adventures (part 3 of 3)

This is the last part of my Cambodia trip which documents my adventures in the non temple region of Siem Reap.

Pub street & night market

Siem Reap has lots to offer apart from the famous Angkor Wat. When in Siem Reap, must go to Pub Street.  It's also the most happening place in Siem Reap any night. Pop English songs played loudly in the bars that lined up the street. Tuk tuk drivers trying to get business. Beggars and disabled come here but they do not pester for donations. 

Pub Street is also an alcoholic's and smoker's dream come true. Cheap booze and cigars. You can get beer for as low as US$0.50.

Are we talking about the same cocktail?

Sorry mama.. I was thirsty. The water was $1.50 but the beer was $0.50.
So beer became our daily supper event before we go back hotel.

The night market nearby tests your bargaining skills. One tip is don't display too much interest. And bargain at 50% of the prices. Pretend to walk away. If you are in groups, you have more bargaining power and ask for more discounts if you are buying more than one item. But if the item is really cheap already, don't still gien beng. Let people earn some money lah. 

Open concept massage house are available if you don't mind noises from nearby restaurants and occasionally a whiff of the kitchen's oiliness. Fish spas are very common too but we were kind of grossed out by it. Our favourite massage place was Master Feet near Old Market. US$6 only for a shoulder+head+legs massage. And it was ultra good!

Cambodia cuisine

Cambodia cuisine is less spicy than Thai cuisine. Major ingredients include lemongrass, pepper, palm sugar, fish sauce.

One of the famous Cambodian dishes is the Lok Lak, which is usually sliced chicken/beef and stir-fried in soya sauce and black Kampot pepper. We had one at Khmer Family Restaurant which was near the temple area. It was so good.. the meat was well marinated with the spices and sauces.

And not forgetting amok! The Mekong river cuts through Cambodia and hence seafood forms a major part of Cambodian cuisine. The catfish is commonly used in amok and it is steamed cooked in curry, coconut milk to create a creamy, souffle like texture. The best version we had was at Romdeng in Phnom Penh. We got to eat another version at Khmer Kitchen in Siem reap, which was not as nice as it is more soupy.

Luckily the banana blossom salad and lok lak were not too bad. In fact, the banana blossom salad which was sweet and crunchy left an impression and I picked it as my dish during a cooking class which I attended subsequently. The whole meal was less than US$15.
Banana blossom salad

Cambodians loved their barbecues. We tried one at Cambodian BBQ. And they served shark and crocodile meat? Not sure if it's the real thing but the shark meat tasted like normal fish meat, and the crocodile meat tasted like chicken!

Dessert time was corn ice-cream
And I ordered their iced lemon tea. Everytime. Somehow Cambodia's version had the right ratio of sweetness to sourness, unlike the overly sour or overly sweet version I usually get. And every restaurant's lemon tea was awesome.

Old Market
The old market was frequented by both locals and foreigners for day to day goods. There was a wet market located in it. Our cooking class's teacher brought us to tour the wet market and purchase the ingredients we need for our cooking class.

Hmm not sure why must the chicken legs straightened this way?
An auntie selling pre-made sauces.

Different types of rice

Cooking class
We signed up for a cooking class at Le Tigre for US$14. It was one of the best decisions we made. After attending the cooking class, I appreciated Cambodian cuisine even more because each dish required so much effort and time to make. For example, a simple banana blossom salad had probably more than 20 ingredients. Just the sauce required at least 5 to 6 ingredients to be chopped and mixed up. And I believe most South East Asian cuisines require effort, time and dedication to cook. Totally falling in love with South East Asian cuisines, including Singapore.

Our teacher was really humorous and patient. But I don't understand why she keep saying, "It's Ok.. " to me when I was cooking? HAHA. And I loved how she tried not to waste food. For example, she taught us how to make garnishes from the extra carrots.

So many ingredients for a banana salad
The amok paste production process really burnt all my fats. I had to pound lemongrass, tumeric, finger root, shallots, garlic into a fine paste. Reminds me of Little Nyonya.

And presenting to you our masterpieces... Needless to say, every dish was awesome because it was made with lots of love and dedication!
Spring rolls
Fish amok - The other 2 Australians who did the class with us praised this version made by me!
Beef lok lak
Dessert was banana with coconut milk
This marks the end of our Cambodia trip. We took Jetstar back and arrived I think 0.5 hour ahead of schedule because it flew back earlier. I think because all the passengers boarded. I like how close Cambodia is to home. We were back in our sunny island in just 2 hours :)
The resort-like airport
Bye bye Cambodia!
Other parts of this trip:

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. The pictures look beautiful.. Love the busy and colorful pub street. one can also try visiting greatescapecambodia.com for some fun and adventurous escape room games in Siem Reap.
    Best things to do in Siem Reap


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