Monday, February 21, 2011

"I hope you like rice!"

Last year when I emailed everyone that Gordon and I were going to spend two months in Cambodia, one friend sent back this five word message: "I hope you like rice!".  Fortunately, we both do, and we also love Khmer food, which is like no other ethnic food I've tasted.  (Let me just qualify that by saying I love most Khmer food.  I need to write an entire blog about that!)

When we're in Cambodia, we mostly eat in restaurants, which isn't awfully expensive.  If you're careful about watching your prices, an average dinner runs about $3 to $4 (not including beverage), less if you're willing to try a Khmer-run restaurant.  If we have a longing, we can easily find western food or select from any number of ethnic restaurants, from Indian to Mexican, and everything in between. 

Sometimes we eat Indian food.
The best part of eating at Little India is watching
our Cambodian waitress dressed in a sari.
We've recently discovered India Gate restaurant -
better food, but not the same entertainment.

Viva Restaurant serves Mexican & Khmer food
Interesting combination, but I'm not a big fan of Mexican
so it's not high on my list 

Irriwadi is one of our favourite restaurants.
They also have a large selection of non-vegetarian  food.
I'd love to have their recipe for Tea Leaf Salad and Eggplant Stew

Thank Buddha it's Thrusday!
We sometimes eat here on their 'bogo' night. 
Or on Wednesday they also have $1 night
which is a special tapas menu
(drinks are $1 each too!)

On the street between Old Market and Central Market are three pizza restaurants all in a row, obviously in competition with one another.  I've never tried any of them, but I've heard if you order the Happy Herb 'Special', it does have 'happy herbs' on it.

Happy Herb Pizza

Happy Special Pizza
Ecstatic Pizza

If you're living in Cambodia full-time, and cooking your own meals, you'd better be prepared to give up (or limit) some foods, unless you want to break your budget or break the bank.
Do you long for Corn Pops? 
Be prepared to spend $8.70 for 500 g.

Healthy muesli will cost you $10.50
Longing for a hot cup of decaf coffee?
A jar of instant decaf will set you back $18.85.
How about $7.20 for bacon?

I don't think I'd make pickles if the vinegar costs $9.30 a gallon

All of a sudden, pasta isn't such a cheap meal. 

If you're willing to shop, many things are very reasonable here.  We buy some of our snack food at Apsara Market around the corner.  A can of soda pop costs about 50 cents.   Dried fruits or nuts can cost from 25 cents to 80 cents a package. 

We like these for a snack.
$1.45 for a package of 15

There are several bakeries here, left over from the French influence, so yes, you can get bread and pastries, and prices are very reasonable.  One baguette costs about 500 riel, which is the equivalent of 12.5 cents. 

There is a bakery just down the road from our guesthouse.
I snapped a picture of these ladies sorting baguettes out back

You can also buy some neat treats from the street vendors.

These are the equivalent of TimBits (dougnut holes)
Notice the toilet paper roll below, which is used like napkins.

I love barbequed bananas!
1000 riels (25 cents) for a skewer of 3. 

Depending on what you like to drink, alcoholic beverages are very reasonable here as well.  We can buy Kangaroo Reserve Wine (Australian) for $3.80 a bottle, your choice of chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon or shiraz.  Here is the best bargain we've found so far, and it tastes pretty good!

One litre of passionfruit-flavoured vodka
from New Zealand - $3.95!

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