The Last Appetite

I was hoping that my last post on this website would be an embittered rant against Cambodia, its malign and kleptocratic government and its local people like the last jaded hurrah of most expatriated writers as they leave Asia for richer climes. George Orwell wrote a whole book about it. Even Christopher Hitchens loves George Orwell. Coincidentally, Christopher Hitchens also wrote a whole book about that.

I can’t bring myself to do it though.

There is still too much more to write about Cambodian food and it just can’t be whittled down to one impassioned and bilious tirade. Over the past few thousand years of Cambodian food, there have only been three recipe books in English ever published on the subject and two more in French. When the global Khmer community email me for recipes for their favorite foods, I’m sorry that I haven’t covered a hundredth of Cambodia’s food and drink. Nor have I ever directly weighed in on any of the weightier issues facing Cambodia.

Thanks to everyone who commented, linked, sent me both fawning and abusive emails and asked me why I’m writing about Grape Nuts or hamburgers in Cambodia when there is something “authentic” to be eaten. Cheers to the food writers and chefs who got me started and kept encouraging me to write more widely, improve my photography and publish offline. Two years ago, I would have called you crazy if I’d been told that I could make a living out of making snide comments about trash beer and Third World food.

I started this website with a clear objective (food in Cambodia, Cambodian food) and don’t want it to become a blog about food in Cambodia and wherever else I live. So it’s an open-ended goodbye to Cambodia and Phnomenon. I’ll certainly be back and have no intention of closing the site, ever. In the meantime, I’ll be writing about food in the manner that I’ve become accustomed at The Last Appetite.

15 thoughts on “The Last Appetite”

  1. Dear Phnomenon

    The thing is not to be happy to leave Cambodia, it is to be happy to leave this country without being alcoholic or depressed.

    You managed very well.

    See you soon.

  2. An ‘open ended goodbye’ sounds just about right.
    For readers, there’s no loss, now we’ve got *two* food blogs to keep tabs on.
    Happy wanderings, and nice design on the new site!

  3. Thanks for all your writing. I’ve enjoyed it and it came in handy when I went backpacking through southeast asia in the summer. My favorite dish in Cambodia? Pumpkin curry soup in Siem Reap. I also love the sugar cane juice. =)

  4. All the very best Phil, been a very fave food blog since the outset. Don’t want to go on about dead man’s shoes, but I hope someone in Cambodia fills the void at some time. You can have too few English language food blogs coming out of this part of the world. All the very best, keep in touch. I’m off to check out last appetitie.

  5. Thanks all. I’ve fixed thing – in the past I used that domain for testing websites out, and nobody was meant to discover it.

    I’ll probably still end up writing about some Cambodian food – I’ve got 80 or so recipes to try out when I get back to a kitchen of my own, and have a whole lot of Cambodian friends who don’t eat weird foreign food.

    Jo – Thankfully my Cambodian souvenirs include neither alcoholism nor depression.

  6. Thanks for all the details on Cambodia. I see it’s Korea next–if you want to give me hints on how to get your job go ahead, otherwise I’ll have to keep living vicariously through you.

  7. Actually, it was just a short stop in Korea – I’m heading all over Asia at the moment. My tip: become a freelance writer/photographer. The thrill of travel balances out with the terror of being unemployed.

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