Sunday, January 6, 2008

Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Day Events – Russian Market

Commonly known as the Russian Market, this paradise of stalls and booths is any shoppers dream come true. From silk scarves and bags, to cosmetics, to intricate handicrafts and sculptures, the Russian Market has it all.

Entrance to the Russian Market

In the center of the market is the “food court” with a variety of freshly cooked culinary delights. We opted for the waffles, made fresh over firey hot coals, certainly the best waffles I have ever eaten. I often crave these. The batter was just a bit sweet, and served with dragon fruit, this is the perfect meal for any time of day, and at only 12 cents for two waffles, you can’t go wrong.

The most delightful waffles ever!

Just remember where you entered because it is certainly easy to get lost in here! This market twists and winds. There are rows of sort, but every hawker squeezes in to peddle their goods. An elderly woman was selling raw silk scarves and hand-made silk purses and pencil cases. Take you pick for $1. The head scarf and blue shirt I was wearing in the pictures at the Royal Palace both came from this market.

Digging for a bargain

The market was so crowded that the food vendors would often carry trays of food on their head to deliver it to customers, since a tray in their hand would easily be knocked over in the crowd.

The food court of the market... see the woman with the tray on her head!

You will also find rows of actual sewing machines set up and running quickly as local seamstresses hurriedly work to complete orders for custom made suits and dresses. Unlike Thailand, the seamstresses had suits on display and catered mostly to women. They were very delicate designs and patterns.

The sewing stalls... I am smiling, they are not. Looks like hard work!

The hands of the seamstresses sewed with great precision and accuracy. I had never seen a cleaner seam. However, since we had been burned with our Thailand suit experience, we didn’t opt for a suit here. You can also buy uncut fabric to take home with you for upholstery, curtains, or even clothing.

Looking a little lost in all that fabric

You can also find a great variety of travel books for Asia. Most are the Lonely Planet, and I think they have just been reprinted (likely without permission) but are legible and colorful. These sell for about $3 and were our saving grace during the trip. They provide lots of great information and are helpful when you need to point our a destination to your cabbie.

The handicrafts include everything from stone sculptures to chopsticks to wall décor. I wish I could have bought more because the quality here was far superior to that found in Thailand. The prices were a bit higher, but it was worth it. This is definitely a place to visit on your trip!


backpakker said...

sounds like a treasure are always fun it safe here ?

The Cooking Ninja said...

Sounds like you have a great deal and lots of fun. Some of my friends they buy furnitures from there and ship it back home.

Frasier said...

Sounds like India
I bought a Sidney Sheldon book on the roadside and it had 20 pages missing!!

Ashley said...

Hi Backpakker... the market was a lot of fun. It was quite safe and the vendors are friendly, hoping to make a sale!