Jan 11, 2016

Cambodia Travelogue: First Day in the Land of Khmer Food (29 Jan 2015)

As it is the brand new of 2016, it is only fitting to kick start my Cambodia travelogue before it becomes a trip happened "2 years ago".

Why Cambodia?
It was partially due to the frequency of Angkor Wat popping up in my daily conversation at work, and my personal urge to visit Angkor Wat before this UNESCO world heritage site disappeared from this world.
So we landed in Siem Reap on 29 Jan 2015, excited to explore what Cambodia had in store for us.

Our first venture in Siem Reap was none other than a taste of Khmer Food at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant in Phsar Chas (Old Market).

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Khmer Dumpling with Sauce @ Khmer Kitchen Restaurant (USD 2.50) 
To start off our first Khmer meal, we ordered Khmer dumplings as appetiser. Akin to Chinese dumplings, the difference being the ingredients used (usage of rice flour was prevalent) and thickness of skin. Both were loaded with vegetables, i.e. chives/spring onions and onions. Personally, I liked the one with onions for its balance in texture and flavour. Another was outright bland and you know, grassy.

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Amok @ Khmer Kitchen Restaurant (USD 4)
Before long, one of our main courses, Amok, was served. Being the major national culinary tradition in Cambodia, we just had to try. Cooked with coconut cream, spicy paste, long beans, onion, green leaves, egg white and pork, this Amok was fragrant and delicious. However, do bear in mind that it was consistently coconuty rich and flavourful that at one point, you will say, "I have had enough". I personally thought it was due to the lack of spiciness to provide the necessary contrast.

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Khmer Curry @ Khmer Kitchen Restaurant (USD 4)
Another main course, Khmer curry, was served alongside with Amok. Cooked with coconut cream, spicy paste, chilies, potatoes, yam, pumpkin, carrot and pork, this Khmer curry was a delightful addition. Loaded with different types of vegetables, the natural sweetness was a welcoming contrast to Amok. Though its richness was nothing close to Amok, I would have chosen this Khmer curry over Amok, and yes, I could surely help myself to the whole curry.

Total Damage for 2 Pax = USD 11.50 (+ Angkor draft beer for USD 1)

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Fruit Juice On-the-Go @ Phsar Chas (USD1)
Following the conclusion of our first Khmer meal, we walked around Phsar Chas (Old Market) and stumbled across many of these USD1 mobile fruit juice stalls. Out of curiosity, we went to check on this particular stall.

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Avocado Shake @ Phsar Chas (USD 1)
To our amazement, they had avocados! Knowing how luxurious avocado is priced, ordering an avocado shake was almost a no brainer. Even at USD 1, this stall did not skimp on the avocado. I was utterly satisfied.

Total Damage = USD 1 (for sharing)

Due to the hot weather in Siem Reap, we did not linger long. Instead, we took a comfortable nap in double room in Golden Papaya Guesthouse, which is located c. 800m from Khmer Kitchen Restaurant.

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7-Meat Degustation BBQ Set @ Cambodian BBQ Restaurant (USD 19.50/2 pax)
After 5 hours nap, it was time for our second meal at Cambodian BBQ Restaurant. Our primary reason of selecting Cambodian BBQ Restaurant was none other than this 7-meat degustation BBQ set, made up of crocodile meat, shark meat, espadon meat, beef, pork, chicken and squid.

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Complimentary (and Refillable) Noodles, Rice and Vegetables @ Cambodian BBQ Restaurant
To go with our meats, we were provided with complimentary noodles, rice and vegetables, which were refillable upon request.

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Sizzling Action @ Cambodian BBQ Restaurant
If I had a choice, I would gladly replace shark in the degustation set, for it was closely resembled to fish, though more resistant and saltier. Shark aside, our BBQ dinner was decent but not mind blowing. I particularly liked the design of their grill for it allowed the soup to be flavoured by juices flowing out from the meats. 

Total Damage for 2 Pax = USD 22

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Mobile Pancake Stall @ Phsar Chas (Old Market)
After our meal at Cambodian BBQ Restaurant, we saw this pancake stall and we were totally sold. Who could resist the combo of banana and chocolate?

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Banana Nutella Pancake @ Phsar Chas (USD 1)
For USD 1, we had gotten ourselves a piece of roti canai/prata with gooey spread of nutella and slices of semi-cooked banana. Despite the tongue scorching heat, we devoured this lovely dessert before we were even out of Phsar Chas. Was it worth the calories? You bet so!

Total Damage = USD 1 (for sharing)

IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance
    • Khmer Kitchen Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Juice Stall - 2/5
    • Cambodian BBQ Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Pancake Stall - 2/5
  • Price
    • Khmer Kitchen Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Juice Stall - 5/5
    • Cambodian BBQ Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Pancake Stall - 5/5
  • Food
    • Khmer Kitchen Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Juice Stall - 5/5
    • Cambodian BBQ Restaurant - 3/5
    • Random Mobile Pancake Stall - 5/5
  • Verdict
    • Khmer Kitchen Restaurant - A good introduction to Khmer food, though not the best in flavour.
    • Random Mobile Juice Stall - Give me another one, please?
    • Cambodian BBQ Restaurant - Interesting but not so interesting
    • Random Mobile Pancake Stall - Heavenly good, must try!

DINING INFO:

Khmer Kitchen Restaurant
Street 11, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Operation Hours: 11am - 11pm
Tel: +855 63 964 154
Credit Cards: No

Cambodian BBQ Restaurant
Pub Street (The Passage), Siem Reap, Cambodia
Operation Hours: 10am - 12am
Tel: +855 63 966 052, +855 78 845 938
Credit Cards: Yes

Jan 4, 2016

Food Hunting List: Bali

7 months after Hong Kong, tanner half and I embarked on our journey to the land of Babi Guling.
Good news is Bali is not all about Babi Guling, which you will see shortly in this #FoodHuntingListBali.

Babi Guling - Warung Jambul Babi Guling (Jalan Plawa, Seminyak)
Babi Guling - Warung Jambul Babi Guling (Jalan Plawa, Seminyak)
  • Order: Babi Guling, ayam betutu
  • Verdict: Personal favorite of mine, despite not being the famous one. It had the right combination of spices, flavour and texture: the crunchiness of pork cracker against the tenderly loving pork satay, the heavily spiced meat and gravy against the sour and mild spicy lawar. It was perfect!
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/07/bali-travelogue-best-babi-guling.html

Babi Guling - Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus (Jalan Raya Canggu, Badung)
Babi Guling - Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus (Jalan Raya Canggu, Badung)

Babi Guling - Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen (Jalan Sunset Road 5, Seminyak)
Babi Guling - Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen (Jalan Sunset Road 5, Seminyak)

Dirty Duck - Bebek Bengil (Jalan Hanoman, Ubud)
Dirty Duck - Bebek Bengil (Jalan Hanoman, Ubud)
  • Order: Bebek Bengil, nasi campur bebek, Hatten Rose
  • Verdict: I loved the Bebek Bengil, be it the crispy duck skin, juicy shred of duck meat, well-marinated combo, or the condiments that served alongside. If only the skin wasn't that furry and duck wasn't that skinny clad... Nasi campur bebek were equally amazing. It would be a super tough choice if I were to choose between this or Bebek Bengil.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/08/an-evening-affair-at-bebek-bengil.html

Kopi Luwak - Sai Land Bali Organic (Kintamani)
Kopi Luwak - Sai Land Bali Organic (Kintamani)
  • Order: Peaberry coffee (Male coffee), Kopi Luwak
  • Verdict: I must say I enjoyed my first cup of Kopi Luwak in my life. Nothing smelly or funky that I initially expected. In fact, Kopi Luwak was very similar to coffee I have tried, except that it was smoother in taste even in the absence of milk. Peaberry coffee, on the other hand, was not too sharp. Whilst it wasn't too sharp on its own, it was stronger than Kopi Luwak.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/09/bali-travelogue-discovering-kopi-luwak.html

Gelato - Lello Lello Gelato (Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak)
Gelato - Lello Lello Gelato (Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak)
  • Order: 6-scoop degustation platter (chocolate chilli, coconut, calamansi, vanilla bean, tangerine mint and coconut)
  • Verdict: My personal favourite (and recommendation, of course!) flavours are salted caramel, chocolate chilli and coconut. Not only Lello Lello Gelato does their flavours right, the milky creamy texture was consistent across all their flavours.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/10/must-try-lello-lello-gelato.html

Balinese Food - Made's Warung (Jalan Raya Seminyak, Seminyak)
Balinese Food - Made's Warung (Jalan Raya Seminyak, Seminyak)
  • Order: Bebek betutu, Tipat Tjantok (Gado-Gado), pork satay, fried banana ice cream, Brem Bali, Bintang draft beer
  • Verdict: Bebek betutu was definitely my favorite: imagine the tenderness of bebek, dancing and twirling in the swirl of spices; so flavorful, so complex, so beautiful yet not overwhelming. Tipat Tjantok or Gado-Gado was pale in comparison: the sweetness of peanut sauce, the softness of potatoes, were pared down by the lack of peanut chunks, overly soaked bean sprouts and slightly soggy peanuts; it was simply not the contrast I was looking for. Pork satay and fried banana ice cream were okay. Brem Bali had a complex flavour profile and slightly strong.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/11/mades-warung-seminyak.html

Pork Ribs - Iiga Warung (Jln Uluwatu II, Jimbaran)
Pork Ribs - Iiga Warung (Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran)
  • Order: Pork ribs served in Western style, pork ribs with nasi goreng
  • Verdict: So tender was the meat that it literally fell off the bone with a little nudge. Albeit a little skinny (than what we saw at the grill), it was packed with flavours. I personally like the pork ribs with nasi goreng as it provided different texture and flavours (spices mainly).
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/12/naughty-nuri-vs-liga-warung.html

Pork ribs - Naughty Nuri's Warung (Jalan Batubelig No. 41, Badung)
Pork ribs - Naughty Nuri's Warung (Jalan Batubelig No. 41, Badung)
  • Order: Pork ribs, sweet potatoes chips, avocado shake and Bintang draft beer
  • Verdict: Albeit at a higher price tag, I liked the boldness and intensity of flavour, which fared better than Iiga Warung's. The chunkiness of its pork ribs presented slight difficulty in tearing off the bones. Sweet potatoes chips were decent but I personally did not feel it went along well with pork ribs.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/12/naughty-nuri-vs-liga-warung.html

Nasi Campur - RM. Padang Minang Raya (Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai No.98, Badung)
Nasi Campur - RM. Padang Minang Raya (Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai No.98, Badung)
  • Order: Nasi campur with chilies, eggplant, fried tofu and tempe
  • Verdict: Despite my lack of liking towards chilies, this green chilies had more to offer than spiciness (spices and other condiments at work). In fact, it went really well with the rice, which was heavily doused in fish curry gravy.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/12/bali-travelogue-local-food-hunting.html

Nasi Campur - Warung Murah (Jalan Petitenget, Kuta)
Nasi Campur - Warung Murah (Jalan Petitenget, Kuta)

Balinese Food - Warung Murah Oberoi (Jalan Kayu Aya Seminyak, Seminyak)
Balinese Food - Warung Murah Oberoi (Jalan Kayu Aya Seminyak, Seminyak)
  • Order: Ayam betutu, Tipat Tjantok (Gado-Gado), avocado shake
  • Verdict: Something about their spices and condiments which I love their ayam betutu so much that I can eat it over and over again. I personally think that their Tipat Tjantok or Gado-Gado was better than Made's Warung's, as the textures were more balanced (not all soggy). Avocado shake was heavenly. So creamy and rich that we finished it before we had a chance to take picture.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2014/12/bali-travelogue-local-food-hunting.html

Tipat Tjantok Mobile Stall (Petitenget Beach)
Tipat Tjantok Mobile Stall (Petitenget Beach)

Balinese Food - Grand Puncak Sari (Kintamani)
Balinese Food - Grand Puncak Sari (Kintamani)

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