Dry-Season Harvest

Much of Southeast Asia remains brittle and parched through these last weeks of the dry season when the heat builds to oppressive measures. Fields lie empty until the rains begin and new, green life can grow. But in Siem Reap, around the Tonle Sap, the seasons run counter to that schedule. The dry season is […]

Priorities

Ads can say a lot about a country or a culture. Take, for example, this poster spotted on a Siem Reap restaurant wall. That same week, we found this in a Tonle Sap fishing village. I think the two photos speak volumes.

Mango Rain and Noodles

We left Siem Reap on a day-trip to interview villagers in the countryside. Ten minutes out of town, a mango rain (the term for early spring dry-season showers) drenched the road and everything turned swampy. Definitely atypical in the typically dry month of March. It poured until nearly lunch—which means we didn’t accomplish much before […]

Making ‘Cheese’

Someday, I will write an apt description of the Cambodian road. The dust, the sand, the mud, the puddles. The dips and gouges, rocks and ravines. The way butt and thigh muscles work together, tensing and gripping the motorbike seat. The stamina it takes just to hang on. “Plau roaum,” Khmers say. Dancing roads. It […]

Too Nice

We stumbled across a Burmese restaurant in Siem Reap last week. One little chezu tinbade from Jerry, and the Ancient House staff welcomed us like family. We’ve eaten there three times now, enjoying their Burmese salads, sour soups and curries. The generous woman in charge invited us for Saturday night mohinga, a tradition she and […]

Economics

We’ve been away from the States for a long time. Last night, we met a colleague for a bit of a business meeting at a popular Siem Reap bar that plays good music. Jerry paid the bill. We hadn’t been to this place in a long time, and I was curious. “How were the prices?” […]

Surviving Cambodia

Cambodian sunset, Tmatboey, Preah Vihear It was a dry December day a couple of years ago when our friend, Rith, took us to his fish pond. He was eager to show us the progress in his schoolyard, a project he had built from scratch in his homeland just outside of Phnom Penh. What had started […]

Friends in the Kitchen

We spent last week in the distant forests of Preah Vihear province. Go to Angkor and head northeast three hours. Follow the bumpy dirt roads through empty lands, past ancient temples rarely visited, past CMAC camps and fields delineated for landmine clearing. Turn down a sand road to Tmatboey, a village of 1,800 people and […]

Choptalk

Gourmet recently combined its two blogs (travel and food) into one, all-encompassing site, Choptalk. Please check there for exclusive news and photos you won’t find here. The editors are still in the process of updating bios, archives, links, etc., but the blog is ready for your perusal. Recent installments include missives on Khmer sour fish […]

Potato Chip Surprise

This one’s for Gary: We’re in Siem Reap for the annual Angkor Photo Festival. Every night features slide shows, exhibits, book signings, a fair bit of alcohol and not much in the way of dinner. In typical European fashion, everything starts late and runs really, really late. By midnight on Sunday, we had seen the […]