Eating Around: A Visual Food Tour of Phnom Penh

This, my friends, is the market where we used to shop for groceries when we first lived in Phnom Penh oh so many years ago. But I barely recognize the Boeung Keng Kong market today. I remember wooden stalls, mud puddles and mystery stenches. The vendors were generous, and I loved the magnificent arrays of […]

Insomnia, Nostalgia: Notes on Becoming a Food Writer

A sleepless night recently led to reminiscing about becoming a food writer. That story is now in The Faster Times. It recalls my early proposal for an article on a Phnom Penh coffee shop. Gourmet eventually bought that story, but ran only a fraction of the piece as commissioned—all writers understand the constraints of space. […]

The Pineapple Lady

It’s amazing the space certain people occupy in our minds and memories. It’s remarkable how our thoughts can capture those same people so vividly, though we don’t even know their names or stories. This is The Pineapple Lady at Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kong Market, circa 1998. We bought a pineapple from her just about […]

The End of Hunger?

A farmer harvests rice near Siem Reap, Cambodia. So many minds, so many wheels turning in thought. That’s the beauty of campus life: the vast access to lectures, readings, forums, panels, discussions. This week, I had the privilege of hearing Miguel Altieri, an agroecology professor visiting from Berkeley. He said something I don’t often hear […]

Woman With Meat (And Other Notes From the Road)

Ya carries her basket of beef along the road between Ban Lung and Ou Chum in Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province. As some of you know, I’m at work finishing a collection of travel essays to be published next year. In the past few months, I’ve wandered aimlessly (and pointedly) for hours through old notebooks and files […]

PIG STORIES: The Last Squeal

WARNING: Some readers might find the following photos offensive. This is the third in a three-part series on the lives and deaths of Asian pigs. Read about a Cambodian pig slaughter in The Faster Times. In much of Asia, butchery is a mundane duty, and the average villager knows precisely the origins of his dinner. […]

Pepper of the Earth, Salt of the Sea

Boating through Kampot Happy Earth Day. In honor of the occasion, I’m taking you back to Cambodia, to a place I won’t see this trip, though I’ve thought of it often. It’s a place where salt and pepper meet on the edge of land and sea: It’s just about this time of year. Jerry and […]

The Measure of All Things Khmer

This is the last week to catch an extraordinary Reyum exhibit, Measurements in Khmer Society. It takes you through history, through the market and rice field, through sunrise and sunset, and everything between, to explain every little way in which Khmer people have measured the important stuff of life. The French introduced the meter in […]

When the Lights Go Out in Battambang

One night, the lights go out in Battambang, and we are presented with the prospect of candlelight dining. This is a throwback to years past, when generators rumbled through the dark and electricity flickered on and off. We planned a patio dinner anyway; a few flames in the breeze would add ambiance to the meal. […]

Cupids & Tigers

A Phnom Dek villager in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province picks a coconut from the tree in his front yard. His family planned to use the coconut in a Chinese New Year cake. Wishing you lots of love, health and happiness on this Valentine’s Day as the Year of the Tiger comes roaring in.