This was a trip for the love of Angkor Wat and foooood! As soon as we landed, we started eating. Fried dough, local coffee, raw mango with spicy sugar on the train.
As soon as we reached Siem Reap, we had Pork Fried Rice, then some of us took to Angkor beers straightaway. I remember the guys ordered TWO mains the first night at Angkor. We loved the Angkor sandwiches, the fresh crunch of the bread and the loaded fillings. Then, there were restaurants offering 1+1 banana milk shake and cocktails at $1.75! There are stalls lined up at Pub Street and Night market (and almost everywhere) offering sandwiches and banana-chocolate pancakes for a dollar.
I also loved the Dragon Fruit milkshake, offered at $1. In fact, almost all food seems to be priced at a dollar or two. Angkor Beer for a dollar, mains for $2-4. Of course, if your budget permits, you can go for expensive food, but we were happy with mid-sized restaurants offering good food at a budget.
The best food at Siem Reap? Amok Chicken from an uncle of a small shack-type establishment at $2 easily wins hands down. The second memorable food was the sandwiches they sell outside the Angkor temple for a dollar. Fresh bread, fresh ingredients.
The weirdest food I saw? Fried beetles and (perhaps) cockroaches. I also know that cow’s tongues are regarded a delicacy all over the world but the way the road-side vendors stack these items were yuck! Too many tongues waggling!
Bangkok was a mix of street food and cosmo food. The most outstanding food was served by the “Auntie” we met at Yai’s Kitchen, another shack establishment with 40THB a dish. It seriously made me wonder if she was serving more than she profited. She would serve rice and a curry full of meat for 40THB. Her curries smelt awesome, with just the right amount of spices and a sprinkle of kaffir lime! We had food at her place THRICE. Considering we stayed only for three days, that’s a huge amount of food-time spent at Auntie’s! Neel’s choice of “Red Curry with Rice” stands out as the best dish… he ordered it four times. Twice in a row at a single sitting!
I also liked the Massaman Curry I had at Soi 38. Also, the Mango Sticky Rice is something I should prepare at home since sticky rice can be easily sourced from my home in Assam.
Fried Dough also became a quick favourite amongst us!
For beers, there is Angkor beer and Cambodia beer in Cambodia which seemed to be decent local draughts, both for a dollar. In Bangkok, there was Singha and Chang; Singha was better liked by the guys. I also tried a table-wine called Full Moon, all variants of it… They come in pint-sized bottles and they are not world-class but if you are not a beer person and you want light alcohol from a department store, you can try this.
Food Gyaan after the trip:
- Buy coffee in Cambodia. It is different. Period.
- Buy liquor at Cambodian super-markets. They are sometimes cheaper than duty-free. (WHAAAT?!!) True. Compared and confirmed.
- At Siem Reap, forget your trusty Lonely Planet guide or what the travel experts on net says. Those “featured pubs” already know of their fame and they rip you off. Instead, find places that have good offers. We found beer for $0.50 and cocktails for $1.75!
- If you want to shop for condiments and Thai sauces, don’t go to the 7-Elevens. Head to the super-markets. We went to the Gourmet market at the Emporium. For instance, I picked up two bottles (1+1 offer) of Thai chilli dip for 20THB!
- Same with liquor. If you want to drink, supermarkets have better rates than 7-Elevens. By the way, one can buy alcohol only after 5pm.