Cambodia eats

As part of my Cambodia series, here are the restaurants that our hosts brought us during our stay in the country. Mind you, lunchtimes were spent at the embassy as we just grabbed quick bites in the middle of our work. Also, during our first night, when the Ambassador hosted dinner for us at the Thai restaurant, I was too shy to take photos of the food and restaurant although I would have loved to. haha.

Inasal Nation is owned and managed by a former Filipino basketball star, Cris Bolado, who is now based in Cambodia. They serve authentic Filipino favorites, such as sisig and crispy pata. So I didn’t miss home right away. I am happy that Filipino food is making waves there through Inasal Nation. Good job!

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On our second night, we were brought to a Japanese restobar called Rokku. Upon reaching its rooftop, I was like, whoa! The view of the city at night was awesome! At that time, it wasn’t too hot or humid, which happens most of the times in Manila, so it was great that we dined outside. Our host ordered for us, and everything was great but my absolute favorite were the passion fruit soda, and the wagyu beef with himalayan salt. I have no words, it was that goooood!

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On our last night, we had fusion cuisine at Black Bambu, an upscale restaurant in the quieter streets of Phnom Penh. You could easily pass by the place if you weren’t looking so it was dinadayo kind of thing. It was a very Western kind of meal: cheese, salmon, the works. I sooo love the cheese plate! Where was the wine when you needed it? lol. And I had that weird ginger with black sesame seeds ice cream. It ended up the perfect thing to wash down my palate that evening. Gorgeous.

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I just realized I didn’t even got to taste real Cambodian delicacy.

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Palm Boutique Hotel

My stay in Cambodia was made more comfortable by the Palm Boutique Hotel. It’s a quaint little thing right at the heart of Phnom Penh. I was actually surprised by its modern facilities amidst its Hindi-Buddhist decor. And for only US$39/night, the accommodations are at par with 3- or 4-star hotels elsewhere. I loved my room with its crisp white king bed accented by fluffy white and orange pillows. The dim but cozy lighting was restful. Zen bathroom was also superb. Most of all, wifi is two thumbs up! (I was expecting to be disappointed lol).

Those indoor ponds though are disasters waiting to happen, especially at night. With the lights turned off most of the time, and with an inattentive guest, a spectacle is bound to happen, which I and my companions witnessed first hand as a guy using his mobile phone plunged knee-deep into one of them.

Food is also kind of forgettable, although what we had was breakfast anyway. They’re also always late in opening the restaurant. For us who needed to get an early start, we didn’t get to enjoy it as much because we always had to hurry.

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Cambodia Heritage sites

I was lucky enough to do my work outside the country from time to time. On the outside, I would affectionately complain about how hard it is to make travel arrangements, prepare my presentations, and leave the comfort and embrace of my family. But afterwards, I always look back with fondness at the places I’ve been to. I know that despite the stress and anxiety it entails, travelling with always be that drug that spikes my blood. It always enriches my soul, and I know part of what I am is a product of all the experiences and places I’ve been to.

This was my first trip to Cambodia. Frankly, I was not expecting that much because I thought it would be just like the Philippines, or Thailand. In a way it is, but I was pleasantly surprised that it offered a lot to the discerning traveller. Too bad I only had a few days to savor its sights and sounds, and I was confined to the capital city of Phnom Penh. Most days I was inside our embassy, but I was glad we got about half a day to score some obscure designer items at the Russian market, and savor the city’s heritage sites.

The Royal Palace is a huge compound that showcases the great architecture and rich history of the Cambodian people. Apart from being the official residence of the Cambodian King, several other buildings are located within the complex, such as the Throne Hall where the king receives guests and where ceremonies are held, the Silver Pagoda which houses national treasures, including gifts received by the king, various statues of royal personalities, gardens, and a lot more. The tour is very enriching thanks to our guide, a Cambodian young lady who works for the Philippine embassy.

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The night also provided us a glimpse of the Independence Monument, situated at one of the rotundas in the city. It symbolizes the Khmer’s freedom.

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Too bad the Angkor Wat complex is five hours away in Siem Reap. I would have loved to see that.

Princess Ashley

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We went to a joint celebration of one of Mischa’s BFFs in grade school, Ashley, who turned 7, and the baptism of her baby brother Ashton. They are out of our circle of regular parent-friends at school, but we went anyway. Ashley’s mom, Tina, had struck up a sort of phone-messenger friendship with me since last summer, and which continued even when she was in the United States for the birth of Ashton. She wanted as much information as to how Ashley is doing in school, and one way of course was to rely on Mischa’s stories since they are together most of the time. Anyway, happy to expand our circle though. Great way to know the girls and boys around Mischa, and how she interacts with them and vice versa.

Livestock

I was drawn to this place after reading a review from Spot.ph that it has one of the best crispy patas in the metro. And I was not disappointed! Hoooh! I am kinda of speechless haha. See that popsicle stick wedged between the thing? The thigh is that soft that that can actually slice off the meat away from the bone but it still managed to be crispy and tasty and everything nice. I only have vague memories of the kare-kare and sisig but they must be good, too. I only had eyes (and mouth) for the pata.

Livestock is a meat lover’s heaven as you can see. It’s actually a half a bar, and must be alive and kickin’ when the sun sets. It was a good time though to have lunch there as they already serve what ought to be delicious pica-pica. ‘Twas minus the crowd (I am a certified Tita of Manila) and maybe the smoke and the loud noise.

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Haniel’s 7th birthday

If you know me, you would know that I totally dig themed-parties, especially those for kids. I love it when someone throws a well-thought of gig, with well-planned out details. Not to say I don’t appreciate common parties, I do. But I’m just saying it is nice if you have the pleasure of the guests in mind.

So I totally flipped with this Star Wars-themed birthday party of Haniel, one of Mischa’s former pre-school classmate and still a school mate at her present school. Love the details, from the magnificent cake to the stage and table decorations. Another plus is the wonderful food of Vikings, there’s just so much that I didn’t get to eat everything. The venue itself was a little warm, but that’s it. We had fun!

Mischa was also one of the 7 balloons.

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Quezon City field trip

Last Friday was Mischa’s first foray into the Metro without Mommy or Daddy as parents were not allowed to join their field trip. And we survived, hooray! Me, my heart is still intact because it was beating like crazy the whole day wondering where they are, and what and how they were doing. And as a parent, you can’t just relax when your 7-year old kid is out there in the jungle with wolves, lions and what-nots about to pounce. You began creating scenarios in your head about total strangers snatching them away from the watchful eyes of teachers, or receiving phone calls that they involved in an accident, well, you get the drift. I am one crazy mother! I just let her go because I know that she will enjoy and learn a lot, the school has assured us of their safety, and that she will be more independent. So I sacrificed my sanity for one day (about 12 hours), crossed my fingers, and said a whole lot of prayers.

One saving grace was one of my former classmate in high school is a teacher at their school, and she began posting on social media some photos of them. Whew! That assuaged some of my anxieties, and I began breathing a little easier as soon as I began seeing them.

I couldn’t tell you what happened all day but I could say that she had fun! The only thing I got appalled at, was the state of her lunch box when she went home. It looked like she didn’t touch her food, save for 2 packs of biscuits. Hay anak!

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