Cambodia isn't generally known as a culinary destination, but I really enjoyed the eats during five recent days in Siem Reap. The quality of the city's foreign cuisine, particularly its French, was much better than that of a huge city like Bangkok. Among other meals, we had a fun lunch at Le Bistrot de Paris, and on a daily basis, excellent pastries from the Blue Pumpkin (unfortunately we never made it to dinner at the allegedly delicious Abacus). And the Cambodian food was excellent too, for which I have to thank Chef Joannès Rivière, Executive Chef at Hôtel de la Paix. Chef Jo oversees a truly delicious Khmer set menu at Meric, the hotel's restaurant, which includes dishes such as his famous stuffed frog, a trio of pounded salads (coconut with pork, wild eggplant with fish, and sesame with chicken), and an equal parts tart and smokey star fuit salad with smoked fish. It was really one of the best restaurant meals I've had in a long time, but unfortunately the restaurant was too dark to document with my crappy old Nikon D100 (you can though see a pic of Meric's famous watermelon salad here).
The next day Jo took me to New Cheip Sok, a restaurant he recommends not only for it's kick ass Khmer food, but also for its noteworthy and classy wall of beer bottles:
I left the ordering to Chef Jo. There was prahoc k'tis:
a delicious 'dip' of Cambodian fish sauce, fish, herbs and coconut milk, served with fresh and par-boiled veggies. This was a dish that exemplified Khmer flavours: mild, herbal and balanced, and revolving around something fishy.
There was deep-fried pigeon:
which were served with the simple but absolutely brilliant Khmer dipping sauce of salt, pepper and lime:
Mam, raw Khmer-style fermented fish served with a platter of fresh herbs, veggies and fruit and slices of pork:
And the house specialty, "hidden eggplant", a Chinese-Khmer deep-fried dish combining minced pork and eggplant:
New Chiep Sok N# 253 Stung Thmey Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia +855 12 630 570
Hôtel de la Paix Sivutha Boulevard, Siem Reap, Cambodia + 855 63 966 000
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