Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snacking on Spiders

During my visit to Cambodia several years ago, I was eager to try a variety of local dishes. However, there was some hesitation mixed in with my eagerness for one item I ate.

cooked tarantula spider, peanuts, and a glass of beer

As seen in the photo, a large glass of beer helped me prepare to eat a spider. It worked (a little), and I managed to eat everything except, as advised, the abdomen. The experience was most similar to eating a soft-shelled crab. In fact, I would have enjoyed it if I had not known I was eating a spider. But that fact was hard to ignore. Despite the repulsion I had to overcome, part of me was able to enjoy the spider's subtle and unique flavor.

At a more upscale restaurant in Phnom Penh I recently had the opportunity to try spiders again.

a gourmet dish of tarantula spiders

Several spiders were provided in the appetizer dish, but they were smaller than the previous spider. Most remarkable to me was that I didn't feel like I was overcoming any strong inhibitions this time. Although the dipping sauce was flavorful, the spiders had no distinct taste themselves--just crunchiness.

So based on my experiences, my advice is to try the larger spiders. Maybe they're tastier.

And if it's your first time, ordering a beer might not hurt.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Facebook Ice Cream Store in Cambodia

Last year I shared my "discovery" of the Android Store in Zhuhai, China (see here). Even though in addition to Android phones it sold non-Android phones, including the iPhone, I saw it as a sign of Android's growth in China. It was also reminiscent of the numerous "fake" Apple stores I have seen across China (see here).

I haven't noticed any similar Android or Apple stores during my brief time in Cambodia, but at a shopping center in Phnom Penh I did notice a store that prominently made use of the Facebook brand. Since Facebook is an online service, it may not be obvious how one could use their brand for a store. The answer is simple: you sell ice cream.

Facebook Ice Cream store in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The person holding the ice cream sure doesn't look like Mark Zuckerberg

Croatian designer Tomislav Zvonarić has already created a concept for a Facebook ice cream bar—Facecream (H/T Mashable). But I'm not aware of any Facebook Ice Cream stores other than the one I saw in Phnom Penh.

After stumbling upon the store, I felt compelled to go inside. A friendly ice cream server greeted me.

server at the Facebook Ice Cream store
I did not ask if she receives Facebook stocks as part of her compensation.

Excited to try some Facebook ice cream, I placed my order.

inside the Facebook Ice Cream store
Imagine the lights flickering between "Face" & "Ice" and "book" & "Cream" for a fuller experience.

No Facecream was available. Instead, they had a variety of common (for Cambodia) ice cream flavors, drinks, and some non-dessert food, including chicken wings and french fries. I chose the taro ice cream.

cup of taro ice cream with the writing "I choose the pink one cause I love pink!! Fashion Update"
Nothing like receiving a fashion update with your ice cream.

I'm not sure whether the ice cream had a Facebook flavor to it. I'll just say that the cookie sticks were my favorite part.

Facebook is available in the Khmer (Cambodian) language, but I was told the store does not have a Facebook page. That seems like a marketing blunder, although maybe they were concerned about receiving any attention from the folks at Facebook.

I have seen other signs of Facebook's presence in Cambodia (maybe more about that later). None of them were as striking as the Facebook Ice Cream store though. That's all for now, but I'll be sure to provide an update if I see any ice cream stores using the brands of Facebook's competitors.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Watching the Sparks Fly in Phnom Penh

Today in Phnom Penh, a scene at a market reminded me of a metal cutter I saw in Shenzhen. In the earlier post I wrote "safety precautions common elsewhere are not always practiced [in China]".

At least the welder [brazer?] I saw in Cambodia was wearing a form of eye protection.

little girl watching a metal cutter
At the Orussey Market in Phnom Penh

The sparks were denser and flew farther than what is seen in the above photo, but they were not reaching the young girl who stopped nearby. Even where I was standing farther away, though, their extreme brightness made them rather uncomfortable to watch.

And for those of you who attend to details, yes, that is Vietnamese writing on the umbrella. It is for Văn Dũng 1111 coffee.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A City Scene in Cambodia

View from the Sorya Shopping Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This is my way of saying that I am no longer in Kampot, Cambodia. At least one more Kampot-related post is on the way, but Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, will provide a change of pace from the recent rural scenes.

More (not just about Cambodia) soon...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Scenes From a Bike Ride North of Kampot, Cambodia

A few days after my long walk in the Cambodian countryside south of Kampot, I headed in the opposite direction but this time on bike. Again, some of what I saw and a few of the people I met:

Small lake at the Chinese built dam

Most of the roads I saw that day were paved.

The girl excitedly removed her hat for the photo, and the woman displayed what they are farming.

Watching TV at the restaurant

More specifically, watching an infomercial for a broom (I think the "Super Sweeper")

When I stopped to buy some bottled water, the girl in the center was in charge of the small shop.

The man was eager to speak with me. Unfortunately I don't speak Khmer (Cambodian).

More people watching TV

Other bike riders

A small stream

Monday, February 18, 2013

Palm Wine and Sea Creatures in Kampot

As I was returning to Kampot town from a recent walk through the Cambodian countryside, I saw a place deserving further investigation.

palm wine shop in Kampot, Cambodia

What had caught my attention were the large bottles of "home-brewed" palm wine--a unique-tasting alcoholic drink a mototaxi driver introduced me to several years ago in Kampong Chhnang. Of course I ordered a glass.

jugs of palm wine

After the drink was poured, they encouraged me to have something to eat with it. After all, they had a delectable treat.

basket of edible sea creatures

What were they? At first I had no clue, and nobody knew the English word for its name. But I found out it was a sea creature of some sort. I think.

So I had one with my drink.

palm wine and cooked sea creature

Based on its texture and what I had previously seen at a local market, I wondered if it was a large sea mollusk that acquires a flower-like shape after being cooked. But I'm not sure, and a quick online search hasn't helped me out. I'd appreciate hearing from any readers who may recognize this culinary delight.

Whatever it was, I enjoyed it with a spicy dipping sauce. After finishing it and the palm wine, I met a few of the other people there.

Cambodians enjoying food and drinks

three young men enjoying palm wine

And was guided out to the back where they suggested photographing the view.

view of Cambodian countryside outside the town of Kampot

I am very glad I visited this provider of fine palm wine, and it was one of the highlights of a long walk. Maybe someday I'll know for sure what I ate. Later, I'll share something I ate in Cambodia that proved to be much more of a challenge because I knew exactly what it was.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Walk in Kampot's Fish Isle

In the next few posts I will share some of my experiences exploring the countryside of Kampot town--the capital of Kampot province in southern Cambodia. This post covers a walk I took south of Kampot in an area known as "Fish Isle". The photos include a variety of buildings, passersby, people I met, a dog, and some salt fields. I have much to say, but for now I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

house on stilts over water

girl riding a bike on a dirt road

house on stilts

three people riding a motorbike on a dirt road

girls wearing hijabs riding bicycles

workers at a salt field in Kampot


a building in the salt fields

girl and boy riding bikes

adults holding little children to pose

girl holding young child

two people riding a motorbike on a dirt road next to a palm tree

Thursday, February 14, 2013

On the Phone in Kampot, Cambodia

Based on the two earlier sets of photos (here and here), nobody was able to guess my current location. I can't say I am shocked. I was not familiar with Kampot before first traveling to Cambodia three years ago. Based on a recommendation I had planned to visit Kampot then, but difficulty in finding a room during New Year's caused me to head elsewhere. Fortunately, this time I was able to find a room without problem.

Today I will just share a single photo. During one of my long walks into Kampot's countryside, I noticed a little girl engrossed with a toy phone at a small openair store. I pretended to answer her "call" on my mobile.

little girl sitting amongst toys for sale at a small shop

I think it is safe to say I provided an unexpected moment in her day.

More scenes from that walk, elsewhere in Kampot, and also Phnom Penh are on the way.