Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Phnom Penh (Cambodia): Foodie Haven

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Traveling for me means a 'tour of tastes', a satisfaction of my gastronomic pleasures! But unlike others who are hygienically adventurous,I normally do not sample unknown cuisines or try street foods without strong recommendation and assurance from a local of its cleanliness.

Phnom Penh does not necessarily stand out for its sightseeing options but I find it as a place to relax, view the street life and absorb the local color and flavor. One of the main tourist attractions of Phnom Penh is the wide array of restaurants.

Phnom Penh offers an amazing range of cuisines and dining venues. The emphasis is of course on Khmer (Cambodian) food, but Asian and other European cuisines are also well represented, including Thai,Italian, Vietnamese,Chinese, Korean,Japanese and of course,French. Given Cambodia's long relationship with France,it is no surprise some of the finest venues offer French cuisine. I am glad to have our CouchSurfing host Elma,a Filipina entrepreneur who is married to a German and living in Cambodia for almost 8 years. Having lived in a number of Asian countries and hosted different nationalities through CouchSurfing,she made our food adventures in Phnom Penh an experience to tell our mom about!

Sugar cane Juice

Our official welcome drinks when we arrived in Phnom Penh is dteuk am bpoh or sugar cane juice in a 'to go' somewhat over - sized plastic bag(double that of soda plastic bag used when I buy a Sprite 'to go' back home. I am very familiar with sugar cane but never before I drank it as a juice.It was amazing how much water the sugar canes have! A freshly squeezed lime juice is added into the sugar cane juice for some tartness.Served with a straw,with tons of ice in a plastic bag, we had a refreshing afternoon Cambodian drink costing only $12.5 cents(half that of a soft drink like Coke).

After our tour of the Royal Palace grounds and the Silver Pagoda,our taste buds (and Elma's recommendation) brought us to the "f" for a sampler of Khmer delicacies.
FCC or Foreign Correspondents Club along the riverfront,north of Royal Palace has served a storied cast of journalists and photographers,diplomats, movie stars and intrepid world travelers since opening its doors in 1993. As Phnom Penh's favorite meeting place, FCC's open balcony provides a spectacular view of the convergence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.The FCC kitchen offers a good selection of nicely prepared contemporary,modern, and traditional Khmer and western dishes. And its latest offering is a Happy Hour from 5-7pm,where all drinks are half the price.

For dinner, Elma brought us to Khmer Surin Restaurant for us to try the most popular Khmer dish for foreigners,the Amok. Amok is a yellow coconut curry,usually made of fish (but because I have a fish allergy we had pork and chicken amok instead).Traditionally amok is cooked and served in a fresh coconut. But at Khmer Surin, however,the amok is served in breast-like platter (as described by Elma).
Khmer Surin Restaurant in Phnom Penh is one of the finest Asian restaurants. In the heart of a busy area, full of apartments and bars, Khmer Surin serves real Khmer cuisines and dishes in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant has 3 floors - the bottom floor is where the restaurant is, the 2nd floor has seating arrangement on the floor in Thai style and the 3rd floor is the rooftop to enjoy the outside view. We were at the 3rd floor enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner. The menu has good explanations in English for the international travelers.

Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice for Breakfast

For breakfast,Elma brought us to her favorite restaurant. I had Bai lieng sach krup muk (Deluxe Fried rice - pork and shrimps)while Jean and Arlene had rice porridge (which resembles our arroz caldo). Cambodian breakfast usually consists of noodle soup (kui-teo) or fried meat with rice and pickled vegetables.

Dumplings for Dinner

Chinese food is also very popular in Phnom Penh and the city has a goodly number of Chinese restaurants and dining places.For our last dinner in Cambodia, we had dumpling and dimsum to our heart's content.


  1. Shame on you!!!
    You're only using the J. Reuben Law Society as prestige but doing nothing to help those in need to free themselves from bondage of the law. Wonder if ilan members naayos status nila para ma enjoy fulness blessings when it comes to temple. I think you need to be humble if you really want to help. Hirap mo kausap, parang napaka VIP mo. Ang taas mo neng!

    Now i wonder if that law society is working to benefit those less fortunate members when it comes to legal procedure. Shame on you lady!

  2. i respect your feelings expressed on a rather disrespectful tone and on my personal blog that is. i hope that you would be forthright enough to reveal who you are and so i can understand where you are coming from and what i have done to you that caused your resentment. to be frank with you,it is rather surprising that i get this kind of complaint for something i am only volunteering to do. be that as it may, please understand, that i do not see and it never occurred to me of getting prestige from being a member of the Law society or other voluntary organizations like as you claimed. i initiated the forming of the Chapter and was joined by other LDS lawyers because of our desire to serve and to give one’s professional talent to bless the lives of others in the capacity that we can. As a chapter, we do not claim or envision that we will be the sole answer to all LDS like you who have legal problems that deprives them of the blessings of the temple although it is one of our priority cases we want to pursue. to start our effort and possibly to double,we formed the legal aid committee.since the committee only has a total of 10 practicing lawyers to handle Requests For Legal Assistance (RFLA),the Committee adopted a procedure in availing of the services and evaluates each RFLA forms we received depending on the nature,urgency,client's financial commitment,participation of the Stake and priesthood leaders. the services of the Committee could be in the form of legal advice,referral to other groups,remand for further evaluation and to deny for valid cause. so far the 8 law society lawyers - attys. reyna, san juan,cauilan,ambrocio,lacambra iledan,olivete and myself for Metro Mania ,atty. candari for Visayas and atty.lezl gusay for Mindanao have handled and are handling at least 3 to 4 law society cases and had been successful in securing the released from jail of those in prison. please understand that it is not our full time job nor an extension of the church or the Area Presidency or the legal department of the church as you might have thought. Despite our numbers and the limitations, we believe that the legal aid program works and will continue to work so long as the prospective recipients are like our first case Annabelle who (1) has a good cause and faithful despite sufferings, maintaining gospel standards while availing the legal aid services;
    (2)the priesthood leaders are supportive of her;
    (3)resources for leg work,transportation, food,lodging,bail and other expenses were made available by kind hearted members and friends,
    (4)volunteer lawyers dispense legal services with the 'energies of their soul" and
    (5) everyone involved put their trust in the Lord.

    if you happened to be one of those who texted or possibly called asking for appointment to meet me,please understand that my refusal to meet is not because i am a VIP but to adhere to the legal aid procedure - RFLA is duly accomplished and sent to PBO,it gets to me and present it to the Committee for action, if ACCEPTED the committee assigns a handling lawyer,the handling lawyer meet with Client and there is client-lawyer privileged. if i meet with you without going through the legal aid process then i will treat you the same way as i would treat my clients - i will charge a fee and there is already client-lawyer privileged which i may not be ready to have yet because i do not know the nature of the case.



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