P and I are now on the road for our Southeast Asian adventure! We’re visiting Cambodia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, and along the way I will try to update as often as I can. I apologize in advance because some better-quality photos are on my camera, which I will upload after I get home!
In any case, we started out our adventures in Siem Reap, Cambodia, jumping-off point for the beautiful temples of Angkor.
Naturally, it was also the jumping-off point for our eating adventures!
One of my must-eat places in Siem reap is Angkor Palm. We found it in our handy Lonely Planet Guide, where it came highly recommended. The first night we were in town, we came for dinner. I must admit, we hadn’t studied up on our Khmer cuisine as we should have so, faced with indecision, we went with the Angkor Palm platter for two. What a great choice it was! The platter featured their legendary fish amok (a Cambodian curry), pork spare ribs, fried morning glory, fresh spring rolls, and a mango salad. (Photos to come).
The green curry was my favorite. It was a bit sweeter than Thai curries, but had the same heady spices and herbs – lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and sweet basil. The consistency was a bit soupier than that of Thai curry. The morning glory was also more flavorful than what I’ve had in Hong Kong. There was an ample dose of garlic in the stir-fry, along with what seemed like chicken stock. The mango salad was full of fresh herbs and, when served with the great sweet and sour dressing, was just the antidote for a hot evening.
On our second visit for lunch, we sat outside again. The environment in the restaurant is quite nice because they, along with many other restaurants in the old market area, have both a verandah and an indoor area. There’s no air conditioning in the restaurant but the ceiling fans cool the area pretty well and they, along with wide wicker chairs outside, lend a colonial vibe to the place. The location makes it great for people-watching along the busy road.
First, the lemon shake I ordered appeared. It was a delicious slushy of coconut milk and lemon juice, creamy and – most importantly – cool.
The fresh spring rolls had the most bouncy vermicelli and wrap. The wrap wasn’t hard and tough, but was just the right amount of chewiness. It was stuffed with shredded carrots, sprouts, pork, roasted peanuts, and sweet basil.
Our beef loc lak came as a heaping collection of cubes with cucumbers, green tomatoes and onions. There was a red sweet and sour sauce that covered the beef as well. And of course, it was served with the loc lak brown sauce with plenty of black pepper, lime juice, and countless other secret ingredients. It had a terrifically bold and bracing flavor.
And of course, it was all served with the ubiquitous and oh-so-delicious jasmine rice. I do think jasmine rice is my favorite (at least for now) because it’s fragrant and light. It was ideal for soaking up all the sauces while still holding its grainy, tough texture.
All told, Angkor Palm was our favorite restaurant in Siem Reap, and it’s definitely worth a stop in the area. Once you’ve enjoyed Khmer food here, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place in Siem Reap.
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