Special Sauce

It’s something of a food blogger invasion in Cambodia at present; more than one of us in the same country is a trend. Ex-expat and frequent revisitor Karen Coates is touring the countryside. Her recent grim observation on what makes Cambodian tuk trei that little bit different:

We recently visited a small fish-sauce operation near Battambang, and our tuk-tuk driver said he used to work for a similar factory.

“I know it’s not good. Sometimes the workers piss into the vats. The men, sometimes they’re lazy. They don’t go to the toilets.”


Take your stinking paws off my stout, you damned dirty ape!

New to the Cambodian blog scene, Details are Sketchy reprints the Cambodia Daily’s monkey o’ the day scoop: jealous ape hooked on stout.

Forestry officials will investigate reports that customers at a Battambang province restaurant have been plying a pet monkey with multiple cans of ABC Stout after it developed a taste for the eight-percent alcoholic drink, an official said Wednesday.

Three-year-old Mira recently started drinking at least three cans of stout per day, apparently to cope with jealously caused by waitresses pretending to flirt with male customers, according to Rath Sorphea, owner of Sorphea Restaurant in Battambang district.

Too much monkey-related news is never enough.

Previously on Phnomenon: ABC Stout

Zepp on Battambang Food

Ray Zepp, author of Cambodia’s best (if occasionally wat-obsessed) niche travel guide, “Battambang and Around”, is back in the country, and has written a nice wrap up of the changes that Battambang has undergone in the preceding few years at Khmer440. On food and drink in Battambang:

Evenings in Battambang, granted, are not as exciting as in Phnom Penh. Relaxation is the operative word. And where better to relax than the Riverside Balcony Bar. Phnom Penh has nothing to compare with it. And although I am usually not given to hyperbole, I would say that the Riverside should be listed in one of the ‘Great Bars of the World’, and is not to be missed under any circumstances. And if you really want to chow down on good Khmer food, you can go right next door to the Riverside to the “Cow’s Stomach” (romantic name, eh?). You can often tell the best Khmer restaurants when you see lots of people eating, but no live music or sexy beer girls. People are there for the food.

I’m with him on both the Riverside and Cow’s Stomach. Apart from the booze and the somnolence, Riverside’s meatballs are the kind of Westerner stodge that I need to keep me sane after a few days of Battambang fieldwork and concomitant roadside Khmer food. Cow’s Stomach is what I need to remember that roadside Cambodian food is not of the same genus as kitchen-cooked Cambodian food. With the opening of the new La Villa Hotel, and more importantly as a few friends have told me, the arrival of chocolate mousse in Battambang, I’ve really got to get back up north there to see what is happening.

Zepp has a new guide out in Summer 2006 with Peter Hogan and photography by Simon Toffanello.

See:Ray Zepp Returns to Cambodia