new Things I Ate in Cambodia: The Sailing Club: Relaxing All Classy in Kep

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Sailing Club: Relaxing All Classy in Kep

The Sailing Club
Kep, Cambodia

Ah, the Sailing Club.

There isn't much to do in Kep. There is really, really nothing much to do in Kep. This is, in my opinion, its greatest virtue. The best place to do nothing in Kep is the Sailing Club. It's part of Knai Bang Chatt, a luxury Belgian-owned resort here in Cambodia, and although the hotel itself is rich for my blood, you can hang out as much as you'd like at the adjoining restaurant and small sun-bathing area.

It's called the Sailing Club because they do indeed offer boat rentals and lessons, as well as ski boats and canoes. There's volleyball, ping pong, and petanque too (whatever the fuck that is) if you tire of sitting on a lounge chair, reading, and staring out to the ocean. I am in the latter category. It's a tiny, rather rocky beach here but it is private, no one is selling you stuff, and someone will bring you a fruity beverage within roughly three minutes. Perfect.

There's even a nice pier you can walk out on and dip your feet in the water and watch the sun go down speculatively. I am very fond of this pier.

There's also food. There's an ala-carte restaurant - haven't tried that yet - which is set in the drop dead gorgeous and almost Cape Cod esque dining area. Think white furniture, seashells as muted accents, lots of rope, and windows built wide open to the sea, all done incedibly tastefully. I love that room.

Every Saturday, the Sailing Club does a buffet. Ten bucks a person. It's a fantastic deal. There's a salad bar, a made to order pasta bar, a bunch of hot plates - including Kampot pepper crabs - and a grill station with fish, shrimp, squid, and beef. For dessert, there's cake, fresh fruit, and banana-sago soup (which I love).

It's shocking how rare decent potato salad is in Asia. This was good potato salad. I'm not even that into potato salad but this was delicious.

Khmer-style raw beef salad - it's just ceviche with beef, and just as good. Lime juice, onion, tons of herbs, and all deliciousness.

There's a Grill Your Own Seafood outlet here - all fresh and grilled to order. Beef and chicken too if you're one of those poor unseafood loving bastards. There's also a pasta bar and soups and some big vats of pre-prepared Khmer stir-fries, and Kampot pepper crabs and probably some stuff I'm forgetting. 10 bucks a pop.

Another good point of the Sailing Club? It does give back. Founded by two Belgians, it's affiliated with Hand in Hand Cambodia, which aids in village development, - in affiliation with a couple of other Belgian associations, Knai Bang Chatt has devoted a lot of time and attention to the nearby village of Chamchar Bei. Knai Bang Chatt and the Sailing Club also hires staff trained by charities in Phnom Penh that specialize in giving street kids skills in the tourist industry. One beautifully professional (and kinda hot) staff member was an alumni of Phnom Penh's well known Hagar training restaurant.

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