Why Cambodia

Cambodia was chosen during our 2019 brainstorm of countries. And it should be lovely!

My experience of Cambodia

I’ve never been to Cambodia and it’s not on my bucket list. I guess Angkor Wat would be nice to see, but I expect there would be far too many people for my liking.


Rob lent me his Rick Stein’s Eastern Odyssey, which has a section on Cambodian food so I will rely heavily on that, and on Google for the rest.

Rob, Karma, me and the four youngest grandchildren (it’s school holidays) went to Dandenong market to get supplies on the Friday before lunch in Cambodia. I’m falling in love with the Dandenong market, and anticipate going over there most times to get supplies. But could I get galangal anywhere at the Dandenong Market? Nope. Could I get it at the local greengrocer outside Bogan Coles? Nope. Could I get it at Bogan Coles? Yep, as much as I wanted. Maybe I am too harsh on Bogan Coles sometimes.

I don’t know if many Cambodians are vegetarian. All the recipes I found had meat or fish in them. I guess vegetarians could simply not put the meat in – the salads could mostly stand on their own.

The menu

Here’s the menu:

  • Prawn cakes
  • Claypot cola chicken
  • Pork and rice
  • Cambodian beef salad
  • Chargrilled pork with eggplant
  • Fiery black pepper chicken
  • Royal seafood amok
  • Loc lac
  • Cured beef salad
  • Steamed mussels

Here are the recipes for our faves –  Cambodia best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The food

Our Cambodian feast was simply lovely. One of the best things about Asian food is that it always feels like you are eating very healthily. Lots of fresh salads and minimal meat. I couldn’t find any inspiring Cambodian desserts, so didn’t do any. That probably added to the healthy feeling as well.

One of Rick Stein’s recipes was for amok, but Rob had tried it and said it didn’t set so I thought I’d try an internet recipe from Luke Nguyen. That didn’ set either. It was absolutely delicious, but it was nowhere near a souffle; more of a soup. And looking at the recipe with the benefit of hindsight, there was no way only two eggs would set that amount of liquid. It was still worth it though – absolutely yummy.

The prawn cakes were a big hit, too. Another internet recipe, they were supposed to be shallow-fried and then deep-fried. For many reasons, I’m not a big fan of deep frying so I only shallow fried them (once).

Thanks Rob, for the Cambodian beef salad. It was delish.

The mussels were scrumptious, as were both the chicken dishes. Rick Stein’s cured beef salad was the highlight for me – it was very, very moorish. The loc lac was good too. Golly, it was all good!

The drinks

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Lauren cracks me up sometimes. Her cocktail for lunch in Cambodia was a Woo Woo, the rationale being that the winner of Survivor: Cambodia was a person named Woo. There’s a connection there, even if it is very tenuous. Anyway, our Cambodian Woo Woo was very nice, thanks very much.

Will brought a case of Cambodian beer, and the kids had “Cambodian” Sprite, so our drinks were all authentic. Kind of. In a very tenuous way.

The ambience

The weather was quite warm so we ate outside although had to adjourn inside when the rain started. The ongoing saga with my pergola, which now leaks like a sieve, continues. One day the pergola saga will end. One day!

The quiz

Yay. Will didn’t win the quiz this time.

Will didn’t win the quiz because he wrote it.

And it was a good quiz, even if there were 21 questions, and some of them were asked in very obscure ways. Lauren won with a magnificent 18 points. Well done, Lauren.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Cambodia

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Cambodia

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_Cambodia

The highlight of lunch in Cambodia

The cured beef salad was very popular, as were the prawn cakes and the royal seafood amok. So were the mussels. So was the cocktail. And on it goes …

Where to next?

We’re off to Colombia on Sunday 23 February. I suspect there’ll be lots of meat dishes. Elysia is going to write the quiz – thanks Shish.

See you then!

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