During our time in Cambodia, we found a variety of foods which were both rich in culture and born out of a booming tourist industry.
First we traveled to Phnom Penh to which we stayed in the main tourist area by the Tonel Sap river and the Royal Palace which is a gleaming gold building bursting with history. Along the river is a great choice of restaurants from, ice cream to homemade noodle houses. The riverside as you can imagine can be more expensive as it has the views to go with it. We however ventured more inland to which we dined in locally run restaurants, it was not only cheaper but had a real local vibe.
We mostly enjoyed fried noodle or fried rice dishes with a mix of vegetables and Tofu, all noddles were made in front of your eyes by very skillful chefs who weirdly were always called Dave. This may just be a tourist idea but we enjoyed it. With a regular 30 degree heat beaming down, it was essential that we enjoyed a happy hour beer. Most bars selling the really yummy Cambodian lager which was on tap, and even better was often only 50p a glass.
In Phnom Penh we tried to engage in as much of it’s history as we could, and there is plenty to choose from. Hiring a Tuk Tuk driver for the day was a great way to see multiple places and not have to worry about transport. For 11 dollars we visited the Killing fields and the S21 Prison, both were incredibly emotional visits and showed how much the country as changed.
A trip I would recommend would be to take a boat cruise on the Mekong river at sunset, the views were incredible and the the colours so vivid.
Before heading to Thailand we spent some time in Siem Reap, to get there we went on a 4 hour bus journey with predominantly locals. This was easily organized through our hotel and fairly cheap at 10 dollars a ticket, although a bumpy ride it was pleasant enough.
The main reason for visiting this ever growing city was to see the world heritage site, Angor Wat. This was a truly special place we spent all day looking at these beautiful and historic sites, it was made all the more special by the vivid colours of the orange sand, peircing blue sky and overwhelmingly hot sun. It really has to be seen to be believed.
What we didn't expect to find was a bustling market city with an aply named Pub Street, to which had a whole street of cheap bars and tourist style restaurants. Although there wasn’t the same culture of food here it was a really genuine and honest city which had locals making a living. We enjoyed the noodles at the side of the road which included tofu, egg and chili super tasty.
Cambodia is definitely rough around the edges but it had some really special people who are extremely hard working, to the ever increasing women builders to the road side noodle makers. It oozes culture and history which has to be seen, alongside a bustling city with plenty to see and visit.
You have to visit this amazing country!!