Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Snacking, Dining, and Drinking!

For a comparatively small town, Siem Reap offers an amazing range of cuisines and dining venues. The emphasis is on Khmer food, which can be found at restaurants across town, but European and other Asian cuisines are also well represented, including Italian, Thai, German, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and, of course, French.

Given Cambodia's long relationship with France and France's gastronomic traditions, it is no surprise some of the town’s finest venues offer French cuisine. So explore and enjoy!

Feeling a little crazy, try Estatic Pizza and get the happiest pizza you'll ever eat! They are located Opposite Province Hospital, Near Old Market, Phone: (855 11) 928 531.

The proprietor takes the orders and bakes the pies. A great casual place to relax and enjoy a special little treat... The pizza is made with the finest green leafy substance around and will certainly leave you hungry for more ;)

My tip... order one pizza, extra happy, and then one regular for the road. Otherwise it's just a downward spiral, baby!

Happy Pizza

... and that's certainly not an abundance of oregano!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mui Ne, Vietnam: Hot Rock Restaurant

So looking at this little make-shift hut, I have to say, my expectations weren't set to high. On the good side, there were several scooters parked out front, which generally indicates that I've found a local hangout (since most of the tourists were far too scared to venture onto a moped). I thought I'd give it a try. What did I have to lose. It was called Hot Rock. But frankly, as long as it's not a franchise restaurant, I am down to try anything...

The Hot Rock Restaurant

Much to my surprise the Hot Rock was a fun little place. Owned by ex-pats who were eager to show you just how the place got the name Hot Rock... they welcome you by laying down some hot rocks (bricks) and a little grill, and then serve you a variety of the freshest seafood, topped with a tiny slab of butter, half wrapped in foil. They do have a menu, but when hitting a place like this I find it much better to just have the waiter/proprietor (which is generally the case in Vietnam) send out their picks.

On this occasion, they served up a ridiculous amount of seafood, and a dipping sauce for each. I had shrimp, scallops, squid, white fish and a variety of unidentified tidbits that made my mouth dance with excitement. I loved the crackling sound as the butter melted and dripped over the sides of the fish and onto the charcoal, which then sent up a puff of smoke and gently flavored my fantastic little treats.

You cook your meal at your pace, and to your liking. Which is always fantastic, I think. A little hands on never hurt anyone. I left the shrimp on long enough to allow it to get blackened, giving it a hearty and smokey flavor that can't be rivaled. The scallops were grilled just long enough to see the grill markings, but not as to not loose the moisture. The squid curled as it cooked, blackening just the tips, giving it an amazing flavor. Try that with a sweet chili sauce, and you're money!