Next, our merry band of eaters traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to witness the majesty of Angkor Wat. Boy, is Cambodia hot. Really, really, really hot. I was shocked that I could eat anything but all that sightseeing does stimulate your appetite, especially if there were 2-3 fresh fruit juices and smoothies in between for icy cold sweet refreshment.
Our insane hotel breakfast: fresh fruit including dragon fruit and the sweetest pineapple ever, homemade yogurt that is thick and sweet, flaky sweet pastries like coconut cake, simple veggie soup, and made to order veggie omelet with soy sauced green beens. Yup, ready for a brutal day in the sun!
Cambodian breakfast: soft noodles with beef, morning glory (a green like a more stemmy spinach) and a fried egg.
Lok lak: peppered beef, rice and fried egg for a roadside breakfast after watching the sun rise over the temple. The deceptively simple chicken broth on the side was amazing – savory and delicate.
Cambodian street food: chargrilled fish.
Survival in the heat: fresh kaffir lime juice with simple syrup to adjust for sweetness (why don’t they do that here in the US? it’s brilliant).
Miss Wong’s serves up small bites alongside their vintage Shangai-inspired cocktails like this tea-infused broth packed with earthy mushrooms, tofu and bok choy.
A fluffy Chinese bun with barbecue pork for B.
More traditional Khmer food: aromatic coconut chicken soup with prawn spring rolls and beef and mushroom salad
Traditional Khmer dessert: barely sweet coconut cream and fresh fruit.
Fight fire with fire: on an exhaustingly hot day the only comfort was a dip in the pool with an ice cold Angkor beer and fiery Thai basil-shrimp stir fry with fried egg poolside.
Fish with kampot pepper, caramelized pork, stir fry veggies and chicken skewers.
Fruit crepes: mango, dragonfruit, papaya with a passionfruit dipping sauce.
Fried bananas with caramel. I’m not a huge banana fan, but the tiny bananas in SE Asia are so sweet and flavorful that we always had some around.
There was a ton of other things to try that we just didn’t have time for, so we stopped by the local market to bring even more new tastes home. Everything is labeled clearly with instructions and the wonderful Cambodian people are eager to help you.
For home, we stocked up on some a mok seasoning (for curried fish a mok), kampot black pepper, dried fruits, and loose leaf teas. I’m ready to start cooking!