Sunday, May 1, 2011

Khmer Saravan, Phnom Penh

We had planned to visit restaurants of the Mith Samlanh NGO program - where they bring in street children and basically give them jobs. They have three cafes open in Phnom Penh - Friends, Romdeng and Mith Samlanh cafe, unfortunately all three were closed for the Cambodian new year! They were only slated to reopen the day we were leaving Phnom Penh :( We had no choice but to ask our nice driver for a recommendation, and we were again whisked away for lunch by Sisowath Quay.

Apparently this place was well-known amongst tourists, with a huge number of tourist reviews written all over the walls! Guess it feels a little safe, though it didn't stop the waves of Cambodian children peddling us all-you-need-to-know-about-Phnom-Penh-books for USD 1.

Weren't really up for fish amok since we just had one the day before (which was lovely) - we decided to try other local foods and so ordered the Khmer curry. This deceptively tiny bowl of curry with ground pork was served with lotsa raw vegetables, whcih we soon realized was another recurring theme of Cambodian fare. Can't go wrong with some nice crunchy vegetables in curry dipping sauce - kinda like carrot sticks in blue cheese. The curry itself was quite peculiar, with the taste of lemon grassy taste of green curry, but yet was not spicy at all. Also had a strong hint of peanut. A little strange but not bad.

Golden frog - comes in squid and chicken too, but opted for the stranger frogs. We were expecting whole frogs but were mildly disappointed when it was only the frog leg. First deep fried frog leg I've had, the batter was typical flour, the frog itself was rather chewy, guess that's the texture when you fry it. The sauce was rather abysmal D: tastes like distilled pure assam mixed in black pepper, mildly spicy but insanely sour my mouth almost black holed causing a rip in space time continuum. Not a good pairing, not good by itself, not good with anything I would assume, just not good.

Morning glory (kang kong) pan fried in garlic and chilli - taste was salty but mild otherwise, not as flavourful as the Thai version, not as strong as the sambal version, it was alright.

Paid about 12 USD for all of that with rice. Heard lots about the fish amok and the banana flower salad which we did not order, unfortunately maybe we should have stuck to what works!

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