new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Angkor Palm: How to Sample Khmer Food Without Any Awkward Commitment

Friday, November 25, 2011

Angkor Palm: How to Sample Khmer Food Without Any Awkward Commitment

Angkor Palm
Psaa Chas (near the Old Market)
Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Angkor Palm is an attractive Khmer restaurant on the main drag of Siem Reap's backpacker ghetto. The restaurant's primary draw is its Khmer sampler platter, a convenient and cheapish way to sample a bunch of Cambodian dishes without the need to fully commit to a single one. I like to bring visitors here as a nice intro-to-Khmer food - and the fish amok and morning glory are pretty good by themselves, as well.

So what's on the plate, anyway?

Fish amok, a Cambodian baked dish of fish and coconut milk, with aromatic spices. A perennial favorite and one of Cambodia's not-so-numerous distinct dishes. Backpackers tend to eat little but if they take to it. I've almost overdosed, but I need to learn how to make it in the event of leaving Cambodia. Great stuff.

Stir-fried morning glory with oyster sauce, garlic, and chili. A Cambodian mainstay, this slightly chewy and delicious green vegetable is grown in small ponds and patches of standing water across the country. Aggressively good for you and surprisingly tender.

Deep-fried pork spare-ribs. Cambodians love their pig, as evidenced by any journey through the Cambodian countryside, where scary-looking pigs upwards of 400 pounds root about in the undergrowth until their time is up. A fried sparerib is a fried sparerib, but they're certainly something Cambodians LIKE.

Fresh vegetable spring rolls are another perennial favorite here, stuffed with vermicelli noodles, carrots, cucumber, peanuts, and a lot of fresh herbs. I like most Southeast Asian herbs but find fishwort - an herb with a small, almost gingko-shaped leaf - to be absolutely abhorrent. Your mileage may vary.

Green mango salad with small smoked fish and chili. It's a lot like papaya salad, with a slightly more sour, slightly more fruity flavor. The smoked fish are quite chewy and may be an acquired taste.

Khmer green curry is in essence a less spicy and more vegetable-heavy variant on the Thai stuff, with pumpkin, onion, green beans, chili (small quantities), coconut milk, some meat, and whatever else was hanging around the kitchen. I suspect the Khmer curry philosophy is fairly similar to that of gumbo: if you've got it, toss it in the pot. It's a good comfort-food dish and something I find myself ordering quite often. Will not blow your face off like the Thai stuff, as is usually the case with Cambodian food.

We also had some slightly too breaded fried squid, while my boyfriend and my mother had fried rice. I'm not even sure if it's really possible to rate fried rice. You only really notice if it's really bad or really good. Maybe I'm wrong - I mean, I love fried rice - but it's basically the Staff of Life in this part of the world.


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Chhunmeng KabKab said...

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As Myerson added, Windows 10, long known by the project name 'Threshold' internally, represented a new type of system for the company, as it seeks to unify computing as mobile devices proliferate, with the name clearly representing that leap.

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