Monday, May 7, 2012

Phnom Penh: Eating Our Way Through The Town

As we headed to Phnom Penh for a 4-day weekend, we anticipated a bi-partisan (Khmer + Western fare) feeding frenzy of epic proportion.  Eat we did and most of the meals are documented here: 

Gavin trudges through his first meal, a bowl of noodles and fish in a green curry aptly titled "Khmer Noodles" at a swarming rest-stop just a few minutes away from the Cambodia/Vietnam boarder. 

Hand-pulled fried noodles topped with an egg and beef. Like the majority of street food in Southeast Asia it's immensely greasy and slightly satisfying, leaving you swollen and tipsy.  There are several eateries serving similar fare on Street 178 between 13 and Sothearos Blvd.

A pitch-perfect beefsteak and pomme frites for him, sauteed whitefish sauteed in a white-wine & lemon reduction, carrots vichy, and potatoes au gratin for her.  Dinner enjoyed streetside at the unassumingly brilliant Le Bistrot de Paris @ #52 Pasteur (51) Street. A-Mazing.  We both licked our plates clean.  Inexpensive, no-frills French tucked into a sordid block of girly bars and frequented by toothless, tattooed Gallic expats.  With glasses of house red wine for two and bread, our bill came to an astoundingly reasonable $12.

Latenight pizza snack at the Pink Elephant Pub @ #343 Preah Sisowath Quay

Full English Breakfasts for two on the indolent riverside at Yike @ #185 Preah Sisowath Quay.  Standard, but yum.

A post S-21 pick-me-up across the street from the horrific museum at NGO-mainstay Boddhi Tree @ #50 Street 113.  Banana smoothie for him, lime juice for her.

A fantastic courtyard to wind down with some Steve Roach-esque new-age tunes after the emotional ripping of S-21. Boddhi Tree proudly claims to be the first "slow-food" establishment in Phnom Penh. 

The sticky rice with mango and drinks were constructed with care and proved to be delicious.  The hungry giant's inability to eat out without ordering a main dish proved to be disastrous here.  His Chinese-style noodles were gelatinous, over-sauced, and overbearingly sweet.

Coconut smoothies, coffee, and a hummus platter at Yejj @ #170 Street 450, across the road from the Russian Market.  Yet another NGO-run eatery which provides disadvantaged kids with a vocation and skill-set in the hospitality industry.  Unfortunately, like so many of these joints in SE Asia, the smiles were extensive, but the food was hit or miss.

More pizza at Happy Herb Pizza @ #345 Preah Sisowath Quay.  I thought the pizza was actually better here than at Pink Elephant, better quality cheese.  According to some seasoning experts, the pizza didn't seem quite as happy as next door though. 

Late night drinks and vegetarian dumplings at Noodle House (corner of Street 5 and 130) in the glittering heart of the red-light district.  Decent fare and ample opportunities to observe the courting habits of aging, pink sex-pats and their lascivious ladies of the night.

Due to a lack of adventurous in the blazing mid-day heat, we headed back to Yike @ #185 Preah Sisowath Quay for a late breakfast on Monday.  Since it was already past noon, we thought it might be nice to just get on to lunch!  A Thai chicken and veg stir-fry for him, and Vegetarian Amok for her.

A shared snack of catfish topped with a chili lemon-grass sauce, served with rice.  We consumed this at one of the modest cafes just outside of the Killing Fields as our tuk-tuk driver frantically tried to repair his "broken" vehicle.

During our meal, the young, effusive proprietor schooled us on the financially back-breaking customs of traditional marriage still pervasive in Cambodia.  He proclaimed that the average dowry (presented by the groom to his prospective parents-in-law) is generally around $10,000 for a middle-income family in Phnom Penh.  A monstrous sum by most standards, but especially in a nation attempting to repair itself after severe trauma.  His conclusive statement on this particular cultural anachronism: "I stay freedom!  No wife for me, yet!"

Pizza again?!? Three times in three days?  Happy Herb just hit the spot.  Far out, man.

After a bit of begging, I got to eat some frozen yogurt at Tutti Fruitti @ 321 Preah Sisowath Quay.

The bold (and decidedly misleading) claims of Tutti Frutti:

Unfortunately, only a few hours later Gavin would be rendered bedridden by food poisoning/mystery flu (possibly) from something consumed above (maybe too much Happiness?) and spent the next 15 hours living off water and Gold Fish crackers and bread from The Blue Pumpkin @ 245 Preah Sisowath Quay.  Moral of the story, don't eat at ONE of these places.


Carol said...

Wow, some of your best food photos to date, too bad it ended with Gav getting sick.

Nellie said...

Thanks Mom!