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Siem Reap, Cambodia

Although foodwise, Siem Reap is, as others have reported, a bit of a wasteland, we did manage to have a few good meals. I realize that coming from Vietnam, we were somewhat spoiled, though. The Khmer food we ate in Siem Reap was less flavourful on the whole and didn't use the abundance of beautiful fresh herbs and greens we'd enjoyed in Vietnam. But still, it was ok and the charming people compensated a little.

Our first night we ate at Old House which was actually the least interesting meal we had in Siem Reap. We had the $6 set menu, so it was inexpensive, but the food was flat and uninteresting. Location was ok, just off the Pub Street so not such a zoo.

On the second night we had reservations at Cuisine Wat Damnak and it was pretty wonderful. The French chef has taken local Cambodian ingredients and showcases them in a tasting menu that changes weekly (I think). The dishes are not actually Cambodian but incorporate the flavours in a really unique way. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner which was served in a beautiful leafy garden. Ridiculously great value - $24 for 5 courses or $28 for 6. Highly recommended but you MUST book ahead.

Had a couple of meals at Khmer kitchen - 2 different locations, one in town and the other one out by the temples. The one near the temples was better, we thought, but both were cheap and edible.

And our last dinner was at a really lovely place called Haven, which is a training restaurant for disadvantaged youth. I am usually suspicious about places like this, which seem to be very common in both Vietnwm and Cambodia, figuring they are overpriced and bland. But this one wasn't either of those things. The food was nice, fresh, beautifully presented and very inexpensive. Our servers were charming and attentive and the garden dining area was comfortable and breezy. I would recommended this place also - but it is worthwhile to book ahead as they're really busy.

On to Phnom Penh and beyond!

about 11 hours ago
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia
1

Hoi An, Hue and Hanoi

We arrived in Hoi An, after an 8-hour bus ride and an unexpected scooter taxi. We were exhausted, of course. So what would we do but go out for a loud, messy meal at Ba Le Well - a place that serves only ban xeo, a specialty of the region. They bring plates of greens, spring rolls, various grilled sate meats and rice paper and you roll up your own messy package to eat with dipping sauce. It was delicious and silly. Completely overrun with Australians on holiday, but it didn't matter.

Next night we ate at Morning Glory, which is both praised and reviled on this board and others. I understand why. It's upscale, run like a military operation and doesn't feel right after eating at all sorts of grubby street side places. But we had a really wonderful meal - everything was delicious - probably the standout dishes for us were the smoky eggplant, the mango salad, and the prawns served in coconut. But it was all good and probably cost us all of about $8 per person.

Bahn Mi Phuong was as good as everyone says. We tried two different ones - both were delicious.

We only had two dinners in Hue. One was eaten at a place we ducked into to get out of the rain, and it wasn't very good. The next night we ate at The Hanh which was recommended by our hotel nearby. They serve all kinds of local specialties, like banh khoi and something steamed in banana leaf. Also these little dishes with some sort of tapioca type mixture in them, which was tasty and fun to eat. Everything was good and it was dirt cheap.

In Hanoi we have had some great food. I insisted in eating bun cha at a street stall, which terrified everyone else, but it was delicious and no one got sick. We also ate it at the particular restaurant that's always mentioned Duc Kim (?) and it wasn't any better and cost a lot more. We had dinner one night at Quan An Ngon and it was actually pretty great, even though I was reluctant to go there. They do renditions of all sorts of street foods, served in a large outdoor garden. The different stations that cook the dishes are all around - sort of like a food court. Our server took us on a tour of every station and we decided yes or no depending on what we thought looked good. The food was delicious, fresh and the atmosphere was great. The place was full of many more Vietnamese than tourists so I guess it's a place to go for even the locals. We spent less than $10'per person and had more than enough food. Another night we ate at Cha Ca La Vong - it was fun and delicious but as others have said, the portion of fish is very small. And last night we had dinner at Little Hanoi, which is located in the night market area. Bustling craziness all around - we sat on little stools outside so we got to watch all the action on the street. Food was really really good, especially the grilled eggplant and the pork with five spice. Good spring rolls too. Dirt cheap.

On to Siem Reap today!

[ Hoi An] Report from SF Chowhound

Me too!

Jan 14, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

[ Hoi An] Report from SF Chowhound

Heading to Hoi An tomorrow! Glad to have your recommendations - will let you know what we discover.

Jan 14, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Used to be shrimp was a special, expensive treat. Like fresh salmon. Now they are both ubiquitous and inexpensive. And ruined. I absolutely will not buy farmed salmon at all, and have reduced our shrimp consumption quite a lot. I do buy those red Argentinian wild ones which are delicious, but I'm not confident the fishery is sustainable. Even my biologist son has been unable to get much information about that particular fishery. He has forbade me from farmed salmon, however, and I have obeyed. II think we all need to stop consuming these things as we have been doing and go back to considering them a luxury for special occasions.

As for those horrid frozen shrimp rings, I reserve my deepest disapproval for that rubbery garbage.

Jan 07, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Excellent! Thanks - leaving tomorrow! Will keep on the lookout for more posts while on the road.

Jan 05, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Leaving on Tuesday! So your post comes just in time. Thanks! We are just two couples travelling together, so we will look into Hanoikids. I have heard of them from someone else also - thanks for the reminder.

Jan 03, 2015
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Eggs all Taste The Same to Me

We keep chickens for eggs. The taste of the eggs they lay is extremely dependent on season and environment. In the spring and summer, when our birds are wandering around eating plenty of greens and bugs, the egg yolks are deep orange and the taste is richer - more eggy, if you will. In the winter, when their diet consists almost entirely of commercial feed, the eggs are much less flavourful and probably taste more like supermarket eggs. We supplement with kitchen scraps, of course, but its not enough to give them that summer deliciousness. Freshness has almost nothing to do with the flavour - it really mostly affects the consistency of the eggs. If you have never tasted a fresh, summer egg, then you will certainly think they all taste alike.

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Thank you for that link. I have been trying to get information on the Argentine Red Shrimp I buy and never did find anything reliable. And, alas, it looks like they're wild but not sustainable. Bleah. I hate facts.

Jan 02, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Where to buy wild or healthy shrimp year-round in Toronto?

Every now and then WagJag has a deal for frozen wild red Argentinian shrimp for what works out to about $10 lb. You have to buy 4 lbs but they're very good quality large shrimp with excellent flavour and texture. I can no longer bring myself to eat farmed shrimp - they just are mushy, rubbery and tasteless to me. I have also seen these same shrimp, frozen, at the Seafood Depot near Steeles and Weston Rd.

Jan 01, 2015
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

[ Siem Reap ] Report from SF Chowhound

Keep it up! We leave for Vietnam/Cambodia in a few days and I'm looking for as much chowhound wisdom as I can get!

Dec 31, 2014
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Anyone else sick of people using the term "proteins"?

That was my post and I stand by my annoyance.

At what point does a recipe become "yours"?

Well, really, you can't litigate against Aunt Gladys when she cooks something exactly from a book and then says she invented it herself, can you? I'm not sure how this would apply unless publication were involved.

Edited to mention that I hadn't considered the matter of blogs and other online content that doesn't exactly "pay". You're right, of course. People stealing content and re-using it as their own is infringement just the same as in printed publication. I also have done my share of writing and I go crazy when Google alert turns up the use of my original material in someone else's work. Not a heck of lot you can do except tell them to remove it. Most of the time I can't be bothered following up to make sure they do.

Dec 19, 2014
Nyleve in General Topics

At what point does a recipe become "yours"?

As far as I'm concerned, as soon as you make something it becomes yours. You will never ever replicate exactly anything from a cookbook - it will always express something of the person who makes the dish. From a copyright point of view, a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, only the description of the method can be. So if you're asking if you can co-opt a recipe and use it in a cookbook of your own, then I would say you need to change the method to put it into your own words in order to be free of infringement. If you're asking if you can tell your friends that you invented that fabulous dish all by your little old self, then go ahead and knock yourself out. I'm not sure anyone would really care as long as it was delicious.

Dec 17, 2014
Nyleve in General Topics
1

Maxime Bilet's "Exploding" Chocolate

Accidentally pressed this comment button a million times thinking it was something else. So sorry - please remove all my dumb posts about this.

Dec 17, 2014
Nyleve in Recipes

Pulled pork using whole boneless pork,loin

I didn't measure - just sprinkle it lightly over the meat. Have a sniff after it's been cooking a while and see if you need to add more. Remember - you can't take it out if you've added too much so go slowly.

Dec 10, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking

Soup kitchen cookery - large quantity recipes, cheap and delicious

Ugh. I can't remember exactly right now. We did make a meat sauce - using these horrible pre-cooked burger patties that were in the soup kitchen freezer which we ground up in a food processor. This was the perfect use for that dreadful mystery meat - we never know what's going to come from our local food share. As for quantities...I'm guessing here...I think we used about 18 1-lb. boxes of penne. It was close to a full case of penne boxes and I think they come in cases of 18 or 20. Sorry for not being more specific but we often just cook by ear.

The way I know how much pasta to use is to dump uncooked pasta into the baking dish we will be using (we use large stainless steel steam table pans) filling it about halfway. The pasta generally doubles in volume when cooked. Then I multiply by the number of pans we plan to make. For 110 people we would make 5 or 6 pans of baked pasta. This is best baked in the shallow (11-1/2 x 19-1/2 x 2-1/2) pans so that it heats through easily. I may have covered the pans for the first half hour or so, and then baked uncovered.

Good luck!

Dec 06, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking

Chowfind of 2014 (anywhere in Ontario)

Didn't exactly discover it for the first time this year, but my previous visit was years ago. Hopper Hut in a grim little strip plaza at the corner of Kennedy and Ellesmere, across the parking lot from Highland Farms. Great, inexpensive south Indian and Sri Lankan food. Mostly takeout but with a small dining room. I originally went there because I thought the name of the place was hilarious, not knowing that the specialty of the house is something called hoppers - which are not insects, but tasty pancakey things which of course I ordered because I had no idea what it was. They also have a ridiculously filling thali that could feed a family for about 5 bucks. Absolutely will be back.

Dec 04, 2014
Nyleve in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Kifla recipe, please?

Ha! My mother was from Oradea too!best stuffed cabbage ever. I try, but cannot completely replicate.

Dec 02, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking
1

Is honey really...forever?

It's not always about temperature. Some honey just crystallizes quickly after harvest because of microscopic particles left in the honey which encourages sugar crystals to form. I'm not sure I'm explaining this correctly, but I keep bees and sometimes a batch of honey stays liquid for quite a long time; other times will crystallize within weeks even if the weather is still warm. Pure, unfiltered honey will pretty much always crystallize eventually. Warming it slightly does help it re-liquefy. I don't understand the science of this entirely, but it definitely doesn't mean the honey has gone off. The fact that your honey has become solid means that it wasn't pasteurized or highly filtered - this is a good thing!

Dec 02, 2014
Nyleve in General Topics
1

The caramel part of creme caramel, too hard

I always make creme caramel the day before I want to serve it. Letting it set in the refrigerator overnight allows the caramel to dissolve into a sauce. But not every single bit of the caramel actually liquefies - there is always some left sticking to the baking dish, which I think is normal. I recently made some that I actually had to bake two days before serving for logistical reasons and it turned out delicious, with plenty of caramel sauce. But even then, there was some left in the dish when I turned it out onto the serving platter.

Dec 02, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking
1

Let's ban the word GUYS!!!

A question was posed. I answered. It was not an attack, nor a rebuke. I will save my canning skills for tomato season.

Nov 25, 2014
Nyleve in Not About Food

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Somewhat helpful? Are you kidding? That is amazing! Thank you so much for all your recommendations - terrifically helpful! Now I really can't wait to get there.

Nov 25, 2014
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Let's ban the word GUYS!!!

Why is this bothering me? And why, knowing that I'm going to have to read the replies to this for eternity, am I responding to the question?

BECAUSE really, Who cares? I mean, really? I am out for dinner. I am fortunate enough to have the money to pay for this dinner. Someone is actually going to cook it for me and then put it on a plate and serve it to me. Then they are going to, presumably, clean up after me and I will go home. Assuming that no one has been rude to me; that I have been served what I asked for; and that I have been fed food that has been prepared with the level of competence that could be expected for the price I am paying, who the h**l cares what the server calls me? For the record, I am a few years past the age of 60, so how much more behind the times could I possibly get?

Seriously folks, we are not royalty. Not any one of us. If you get called "guys", get over it.

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Thanks for that. Will make a note of Wat Damnak. I assume Cambodian?

Nov 19, 2014
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

Recommendations in Vietnam and Cambodia, please

Thanks for your (long awaited ) reply. I have definitely concluded that there isn't much info for this corner of the world, which surprises me. But anyway, your comments and links are helpful and I'll be saving them for our trip. We have had some luck, when travelling in India, by asking our taxi driver to take us somewhere for lunch or whatever. They are often reluctant to take foreigners to places that they like, but we have had some really memorable meals that way.

I haven't done much digging on Siem Reap. Could be a wasteland, because such a tourist magnet. But surely there are some gems. Did you go to Phnom Penh?

Nov 12, 2014
Nyleve in China & Southeast Asia

what to do with russet potatoes

There will be more potatoes in my future.

Nov 12, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking

what to do with russet potatoes

Oh silly me. Could have done it then. I just ate one skin plain and threw the rest in the fire. Shameful, I know.

Nov 10, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking

what to do with russet potatoes

True! But then I'd have to cook more potatoes in order to load the skins because I used up all the insides for the gnocchi. This could become a vicious circle of potatoness.

Nov 10, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking

what to do with russet potatoes

I just made these gnocchi the other day and they were perfect. Texture was great and not at all difficult to do - I measured flour and potato by weight, not volume. Served them with a wild mushroom sauce, not butter and sage. You really need to use russets because the potato is drier and doesn't oversog the dough.

http://www.americastestkitchen.com/re...

Nov 10, 2014
Nyleve in Home Cooking
1