Archive | July, 2011

Cambodia, Part 2: Real Food

30 Jul

My last post was all about snacks: now we’re moving onto the main course. Khmer (the majority ethnic group in Cambodia, and how most Cambodians refer to Cambodian things) cuisine isn’t particularly well-known outside of Cambodia, and I had no idea what to expect when I went to Siem Reap. It shares a lot of similarities with Thai and Vietnamese food, as well as having some Chinese influences, but with one major difference: it’s not spicy. At all. Even imports from Thailand, like tom yum soup, don’t include the chili. Instead, Khmer food gets its peppery kick from copious amounts of raw garlic and pepper, which is a specialty of the Siem Reap region.

A platter of Khmer specialties. From top left: fish amok, chicken curry, green papaya salad, "summer" rolls, crispy pork ribs, and stir-fried morning glory

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Holiday in Cambodia

25 Jul

First, apologies for the long hiatus. I knew it had been a while since my last post, but…a whole month? Time flies when you’re, uh, flying, I guess. But never fear: I’ve been eating a lot of new and sometimes tasty things to share on the blog.

Thanks to my superhuman scheduling abilities, I found myself with back-to-back trips to Chicago and Cambodia. (Cue the Dead Kennedys.) Specifically, Siem Reap, a remarkably charming town most famous for its proximity to Angkor Wat and about a billion other ancient Hindu/Buddhist temples, some of which were featured in the movie Tomb Raider.

Ta Prohm, aka the "Tomb Raider temple," one of many, many temples we saw

Like all the SE Asian cities I’ve been to, Siem Reap is full of enterprising people with carts selling food. Some of this is as benign as grilled bananas with coconut milk; other snacks are a little more, shall we say, exotic. Here’s a sample, starting with the least challenging.

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