The final stop on my visit to Cambodia was Siem Reap. While it’s not the capital of Cambodia, it’s one of the most popular areas for tourists and was certainly the busiest place I went to during the tour. I’m sure Siem Reap conjures up images of incredible ancient temples and you’ll hear all about that in another post.
After having such a great experience at Friends Restaurant in Phnom Pehn, dining at sister restaurant Marum was top on my to-do list. The staff are underprivileged street children who have been trained in hospitality and it feels good to support an organisation that does such good work for the community. I booked a table and settled in for an indulgent night on my own, a much-needed break from two busy weeks with a tour group.
The menu offers small tapas-style dishes so I ordered a fresh ginger cocktail and three dishes to snack on. I had a coconut beetroot and young bamboo salad, the taro and chive dumplings and the wild mushroom and brie rice balls, which were similar to arancini. The servings were bigger than I’d expected so sadly I had no room for dessert!
As the sun went down, we hit the street for the local market with loads of food stalls and a small carnival with rides for children. There were a few stalls with crispy, fried spiders and bugs – as you’d image I politely declined.
I tried hot grilled corn with coconut and chives, palm fruit, roasted jackfruit seeds, rice paper flavoured with palm sugar, sticky black rice and sweet gelatinous rice balls filled with coconut.
For our last cooking class we headed half an hour out of the city for a special and authentic Cambodian dinner. We each had a workstation and cooktop so we could make our own three-course meal.
We each had a workstation with portable cooktop and plates of ingredients to make our three-course meal, under the watchful eye of the teacher.
We started with a Khmer mango salad, then we made a creamy amok curry (mine with tofu instead of fish) and for dessert, sticky rice flour balls with pieces of palm sugar inside, boiled and served topped with grated young coconut.
At the end of our meal, our tour guide stood and sang a beautiful, happy song he had written, in English and Khmer, to show his gratitude for our time together and for allowing him show us his wonderful country. It was a special moment and one I’ll always treasure.
Coming up, the final post in my Cambodia series – my visit to the ancient and incredible temples of Angkor Wat.
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