Archive For The “Phnom Penh (Cambodia)” Category

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

Pairs Well With…Cambodia + Crunchy Critters + Cooking + Khmer Dishes (which made a memorable impression)

If you recall last month’s food challenge, I ate a lot of weird sea creatures, from snails to tiny shrimps, none of which tickled my fancy.  Month two’s food challenge was quite sea-based, different than the curveball thrown my way in month three: bugs.  As far as I can recall, I never ate a bug, not even as a kid.  I knew the bug eating was bound to happen either in Cambodia or Thailand, so I should have been ready.

Each monthly challenge consists of a minimum of five food oddities that are eaten routinely in the country. I’ve often found myself thinking, “Who the heck would actually eat this?”  Answer: people in third world or underdeveloped countries, where bugs are common “treat” – if you can even call them that. (For the record, crickets are sold at movie theaters as a show snack. I still hold firm that they taste like bacon.) During the month 3 challenge, I tapped out halfway through.  There was NO way in hell I was eating big ass cicada bugs, which were this month’s “Never Try, Never Know” food challenge finale.

Take a look at what month three’s food challenge looked like:

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Bugs aside, the “normal meals” each month continue to get better and better.  While I liked the food in Vietnam, especially the Pho, I loved the fresh flavors of traditional Khmer recipes.  In fact, I found myself cooking a lot in Cambodia, both at home and with local chefs, which allowed me to learn traditional Khmer cooking techniques and recipes.  All this Khmer cooking inspiration has made its way into this month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Cambodia.

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Cambodia’s 15 Most Cultural & Captivating Activities

Cambodia’s 15 Most Cultural & Captivating Activities

Pairs Well With…Cambodia + Culture + Learning + Understanding

Cambodia is nothing less than a cultural mecca and, like it or not, you’re going to get a big dose of culture (and reality) here whether you want one or not. Coming into this month, I was longing for a culture that consumed me – and this one did.  In fact, it chewed me up and spit me out.  Most of all, it humbled me.

Living in Cambodia hasn’t been the easiest task, to say the least, but the country’s had its ways of working itself into my heart.  I’ve seen and felt things through the activities I participated in this month, but also in the deep and meaningful conversations I’ve had. I don’t know that any country has made me this sad to leave, while simultaneously ready to pack my bags.  Cambodia has been a bit of a mind bender, but I stick to what I said the moment I arrived: the people are the most amazing part of the country.

I spent a lot of time learning about Cambodian culture and history through first-hand stories, participating in local activities, and visiting historic sites and landmarks, not all of which were easy for me.  Cambodia has been one of the most fulfilling countries I’ve visited in all of my global travels, and I highly encourage anyone looking to get out of their comfort zone to swing on over.

Each of these fifteen activities has either taught me something extremely important about the country’s history and how the Cambodian culture lives or provided me with a culturally immersive or fun experience that was in some way memorable.  Without further ado, here’s this month’s fab fifteen list.

TODDLE AROUND IN A TUK TUK.  The key to getting around in Cambodia will revolve around these three-wheeled motorbike taxis that rule the streets.  They are your best friend and pretty much your only option for transportation besides your own two feet.  Tuk Tuks are quite inexpensive costing $2-$3 for a one-way ride.  Make sure to negotiate before you get in, or you may be charged a “foreigner’s fee.”

Tuk Tuk transportation asia cambodia

Cambodia’s finest motor vehicle.

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The Day I Took A Tuk

The Day I Took A Tuk

Pairs Well With…International Travel + Carin’s fetish for taking over motorized vehicles in other countries

It’s not unusual that I borrow things that aren’t mine, but I usually always give them back. Case in point borrowed clothes, money…and the float that I stole in Rio during carnival. (Yes, this did indeed happen.) It’s even better when it’s a motorized vehicle. In another country.  I’m starting to notice a pattern to my shenanigans. 

The first week I landed in Cambodia, I got this bright idea to drive a tuk-tuk around town. Tuks are Cambodia’s primary form of transportation, and you can expect to hear tuk?” or “you need tuk-tuk?” on every corner. God bless you if you have a long walk ahead of you and have to hear the same question a million times.  On bad days, it kind of makes you want to bang your head against a wall. 

Now, week one, I worked out a deal with the tuk-tuk driver who is routinely stationed out front of my apartment building.  He agreed, eagerly at that, to let me cruise around town in style. Why?  I’m not sure. Perhaps my innocent looking demeanor doesn’t give off the “I’ll mess up your shit” kind of vibe.  So, with that, I waited until my last day in Cambodia to pull the trigger on this.  And, here we are.

Heads turned, people smiled and waved and I laughed my ass off.  In hindsight, had I done this sooner, I might have found a nice form of supplemental income for the month and have thought to pull off some sort of Cash Cab type kind of action.  Dually noted for future countries. Maybe even figure out how to get Missy Elliot to pop out of the backseat like on James’ Corden’s carpool karaoke.   

But, I don’t know that any more words are really needed to intro today’s adventures.  So, without further ado, my infamous tuk-tuk takeover!

You Can Have My Fried Rice, But I’m Not Goin’ Out Like That

You Can Have My Fried Rice, But I’m Not Goin’ Out Like That

Pairs Well With…”Goin’ Down For Real” by Flo Rida

If you’ve ever gotten robbed, and we’re not talking about losing your dignity at the bar last Saturday night, it might have felt like your world flashed before your eyes in slow motion.  In those seconds when it’s all going down for real, it seems like an endless moment.  Yet, there are so many details that take place with that three-second span of time.  Now, I must state for the record that I didn’t get robbed, but it was a very close call.

So, here I was merely being a Citizen of the World and attempting to cross the street with a friend on the way back from dinner. Crossing the street in Phnom Penh, like Vietnam, means walking and weaving between oncoming traffic. While the motorbikes in Vietnam were intense, they at least knew how to maneuver around pedestrians.  Here, there may not be as many, but they will full on take. you. out.  Drivers here have no concern for your welfare. None.  And, if dealing with traffic isn’t scary enough, I now have two things I have to highly guard: my physical life and my other life, my purse.

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