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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

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ed (from Yuma)

Glad you finally began the Cambodian posts. I've been waiting eagerly. That food looks pretty good.

Wandering Chopsticks

Sorry to hear about what happened to you in Hanoi. That's just awful!

I had a beef green bean stir-fry in Cambodia that I really liked. But paying around $4-$5 a meal seemed so high after Vietnam, where I paid less than $1 a meal...

Many Cambodians don't like to admit it, but beef lok lak is their adaptation of Vietnamese bo luc lac. Lok lak doesn't mean anything in Khmer, it was just the phonetic approximation. However, as you know, luc lac in Vietnamese means and refers to the "shaking" of the wok in preparing the dish.

Kirk

Hi Ed - Glad to oblige.

Hi WC - The switching of taxi's was more nerve wracking than anything else. I did notice a strong cultural rivalry between between Cambodians and Vietnamese...like when I saw what I know as Banh Xeo...and I was corrected....it is called Banh Chiao. The prices for food in Cambodia were about 3 times what they were in Vietnam. It took a while, but in the end it was still a bargain by US prices. It's when we got "home" that it really did hit "home".

kat

gosh 96F, I would definitely be melting!

elmomonster

I just got back from Indonesian, Singapore and Hong Kong, so the description of the heat is making me get flashbacks...and surprisingly enough, in Indonesia, especially in Kuta, there were a few Korean and Japanese restaurants...I don't remember there being as many the last time I was there.

Chris

Happy herb pizza!? (pizza that makes you even hungrier?) Wow. Is that unsual to see that herb used for culinary purposes there?

Beef Lok Lac: Beef in gravy topped with a fried egg and a scoop of rice: Was loco moco the inspiration for this dish?

I am curious about the beans: are they the yard long style or the french type? And the rice- is it fragrant (Jasmine) or short grain?

Thank you for the wonderful posts.

Chris

Oh, yeah, I also wanted to comment on the spoon, turned upside down in the photo. I saw this in your photo of the snake meal you had in Vietnam, and thought the chefs were being creative alluding to a cobra with it's neck plumed out. (doesn't it look like that?) but I see now it is custom on many dishes? Thank you.

nhbilly

That taxi experience was very suspenseful but at least you got to your destination. Transportation in Vietnam is just priceless - worst than an airplane flight that has 2 layovers. You just don't know what coming, SURPRISE!

Kimmy

I love your post.
Wikipedia is a little wrong about the actual meaning of the word Kroeung.
Kroeung simply means ingredients.

Cambodian food is not like Thai food. “Real" Cambodian food does not concentrate on all the flavors (like Thai) in one dish but it attempts to have different dishes make up all the flavors. It is basically a marriage of all the different dishes to make the taste buds explode. There are some dishes that attempt to have all the flavors in one dish but the meal still has supporting side dishes in order to be a complete meal.

Izzy

it's banh mi, not banh my.

Kirk

Hi Kat - In spite of the humidy, it just didn't feel so bad.

Hi Elmo - I was pretty amazed at the amount of Korean eateries...

Hi Chris - I think the "spoon thing" was just placement. The beans are long beans, very fresh, and very sweet. The rice is fragrant(and polished) Jasmine.

Hi Billy - That's how everything was...it all worked out in the end.

Hi Kimmy - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Do you think the literal translation for Kroeng may be different for what it represents? But, what I learned from our driver, in addition to the Elephantwalk Cookbook and an really great book called The Cuisine of Cambodia, which was approved by Norodom Sihanouk, calls the main "flavoring paste" Kroeng.

Hi Izzy - Well, let's put it this way...In Hanoi they call it Banh My.

http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2008/05/hanoi-banh-my-b.html
.

Miguel Villodas (portarickinrick)

Hey Kirk,

Glad to see the Cambodia posts are starting to show up. I just got back on wednesday from SE Asia. We spent 3 days in Siem Reap and actually managed to find a real, authentic, family-run restaurant. Unfortunately, we did have to eat at Khmer Kitchen and others like it while there. I had the same exact beef loc lac, which was way too sweet and chewy to eat. But I did get some pretty good pics from the other restaurants we went to, as well as Phnom Penh. The Amok that we got in Phnom Penh looked very different from the one you had and was delicious. If you would like I could send some pics your way.

Kimmy

To answer your question - No. It just means ingredients. It represents ingredients and it's literal translation is ingredients. I think I did not phrase my point clearly the first time.

You see sometimes cab drivers over there give easy answers. I understand you seem to believe the Elephant book but again they are just making it easy for the "new" cooks. Each soup base (or dish) ingredients does have a name of it's own with the word ingredients placed behind it for description. I think the Person who wrote the elephant book did not pay much attention to the language itself and besides who is going to make a fuss over a cook book.

If you speak cambodian than you would understand the structure and meanings of the word better. In cambodian we just say hand me the ingredients because when your cooking it is already made or sitting out. This way anyone who walks into the kitchen will know what your refering to at the moment.

It is almost similar to some of the studies some socialogist conducted on asian customs early on in the feild. Since the socialogist was not asain a lot of things explained to them were correct but not really due to the fact that they were foreigners. Now that there are (more) asain socialogist the studies are more correct and to the heart of a custom.

Hi Kimmy - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Do you think the literal translation for Kroeng may be different for what it represents? But, what I learned from our driver, in addition to the Elephantwalk Cookbook and an really great book called The Cuisine of Cambodia, which was approved by Norodom Sihanouk, calls the main "flavoring paste" Kroeng.

Kimmy

Woops...
The word ingredient can be in front or behind depending on the sentence.

Kimmy

I wish that more educated cambodians who are interested in teaching their culture thru food would write books and not be lazy. I am not faulting Mr. Norodom Sihanouk for what he has said but I am sure if I got him into a room he would say, yes you're right but I just did not think about it to that extent.

Kirk

Hi Kimmy - Thanks for the info. BTW, the Elephant Walk cookbook is ok, it is mainly a restaurant cook book. But I found The Cuisine of Cambodia which is no longer published to be excellent. It is not written by Norodom Sihanouk, but was approved by him, which I think is significant since his real title is "His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia". I think it is a bit more than "just a cook book". There was a whole chapter on "the Kroeung". I do wish there were more cook book available on both Cambodian and Lao Cuisine. They are both under-served in that regard.

Hi Miguel - We thought the Beef Lok Loc Lac was petty good, not overly sweet, but with the nice flavor of palm sugar, which is a nice nuanced sweetness. I'd love to see your photos if you want to share them.

Beach

Kirk,
It sounds as if you had quite an adventure in Cambodia. I hope there will be more post about your Cambodia adventure. I probably should try to get to Cambodia soon before all the tourists destroy their culture.

Kirk

Hi Beach - I think you'd enjoy Cambodia.

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