rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

did we miss cambodia?

with 2 comments

Yah we totallly did, didn’t we? I went to Cambodia in April and I don’t think I have one freakin post about it. That is shameful.

I had been trying to go to Cambodia for awhile and the SBFs (take some guesses as to what that stands for) flew in from California so we could hop around Southeast Asia for a bit more a few months ago. Cambodia is especially meaningful to Julia since her family used to live in Cambodia and she still has family there. We were in Phnom Penh for a few days and her Uncle played host and tour guide for us.

Our adventures include a dimly lit restaurant where I inadvertantly agreed to eat these.

phnompenh

If it isn’t painfully apparent, those are snails.

We were super tired and not very hungry but went to dinner to wrap the day of sightseeing up. The restaurant (no idea what the name is anymore) is pretty popular for it’s seafood. Julia’s uncle reached down into a bin of water and pulled up what we both thought were clams and asked if we liked them. They were his favorite, btw. We nodded and took our seats. A few minutes later we were greeted with a bowl of snails in a brown sauce with some red pepper thrown in for some color.

You should have seen me and Julia’s face.

Like good girls we dutifully ate. They actually tasted fine. A little gummy but not jaw achingly rubbery. The sauce was good too but I just could not get over the fact that I was eating a snail. Everytime I popped one of the little bodies out of the shell and into my mouth I just kept hoping that I didn’t have to deal with any textural issues with the various organs I was also munching on. Shudder.

I’m skipping ahead a few steps as always.

Our first meal in Phnom Penh was Phnom Penh noodle soup.

phnompenh2

Pretty much every kind of meat you could think of – fish ball, squid, beef, liver, shrimp, pork, you name it it’s in there. It’s kind of like pho but not as herby or pungent. A little sour like tom yum but not hot. Just like Cambodia itself – it’s somewhere in the middle.

Julia’s uncle took us to one restaurant, Thmorda, about 7 times. We think that he wanted us to eat somewhere nice that wouldn’t upset our dainty American stomachs. We were a little disappointed to not venture out further but couldn’t be mad about the hospitality. We had plenty of good food there (like the noodles above) and …

phnompenh7

Looks like bahn mi huh? Tastes like it too. Baguette: check. Pate: check. Various meats: check. Pickled carrots and daikon: no check. Cilantro: no check. Cambodia’s version uses pickled shredded cucumbers and a sprig of green onion instead.

Here’s something you have to try if you’re ever in Cambodia… lok lak.

phnompenh5

Fried beef cubes, fried egg, fried potatoes, and some veggies. The real power is in the dipping sauce.

phnompenh6

Salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and crack. Okay no crack. But it’s pretty addictive. Yum.

While were in PP we stopped by the oldest stupa in the city which is surrounded by a park (where ps we saw snail shells not unlike the ones we ate the night before – oh wow). Julia’s little cousin bought us these to try. I forget what they’re called but they are fun to eat especially since they aren’t sticklers about litter.

phnompenh4

Each one of those bumps can be popped out. From there you pinch one end until the white seed is free and then you eat the seed and discard the rest. It’s hard to describe the texture and taste but it’s not hard like a nut. Firm yes but not hard. Not dry either. I want to say it’s kind of cucumbery (the firmer fleshy part of the cucumber) but not slimy. Oh I dunno. Try it if you get the chance. It’s not strange tasting at all.

I leave you now with a byproduct of colonialism.

phnompenh3

Tasty tasty baguettes in Asia.

More on Cambodia to come. 🙂

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Written by joann

August 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Posted in southeast asia, travels

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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