Before we left, we were advised only to eat in “restaurants that have a door,” as they are also therefore more likely to have a fridge!
We’ve mostly stuck to that rule. But I’ve been surprised by a couple of things. One is the abundance of street vendors and eating street food as a cultural feature here. Literally everywhere you look downtown, you can see carts offering something to eat, and people crouched on low plastic stools eating or drinking. (We were told in Hanoi that the stools are small and plastic so that people can move them quickly inside a shop or restaurant or bar if the police come by. It would take an entire police force to worry about that if they chose to…)
The second pleasant surprise has been the cleanliness of the premises and the widespread understanding of the need to use purified water for ice and for washing vegetables. It’s marked on many menus. So in any restaurants that serve tourists, we’ve been comfortable eating salads and enjoying a cold drink. Very helpful, as so much of the food here is based on fresh, crunchy vegetables.
We thought you’d enjoy a couple of shots of our street food adventures on Sunday night in Siem Reap. The first photo was taken on the sly by Jonah, as the bug vendors were actually charging for photos taken without a purchase. Gen badly wanted to try something – likely either grasshoppers or grubs – but when Hannah threatened to throw up, she passed.
We opted for “fried ice cream rolls” instead. We saw dozens of these Asian street food versions of Marble Slab ice cream and have yet to understand the fried part. Basically you choose a ‘mix-in’ (we went for Oreos), they combine it with cream and pour it on a cold slab. Then they roll it out really thinly and use a drywall spatula to make rolls that are served in a cup.
Contrasted with Monday night in Ho Chi Minh City, where we splurged on Haagen Dazs for dessert, as they had a sit-down restaurant at which to do so! Couldn’t resist. Cost more than our dinner, which we ate at a fabulous restaurant called Propaganda down the street. Ridiculously good food there.