Our first meal in Cambodia and we were starving and fancied breakfast as we had gotten up before 5am and were all craving comfort wake up food even though it was closer to lunch time in reality. We googled and found a place called Sisters than did all day breakfast = perfect. It is close to the Russian Market, on Street 446 at number 26B which we missed on the first pass. It really isn't a fancy place and you might not notice it from the street, you will need to keep your eyes peeled. It looked friendly so we wandered on in and rearranged the tables to suit our group of 7.It is also a bakery with loads of different pies by the slice, cakes, biscotti, brownies, muffins etc. And on request (a day before) they make all sorts of fancy different breads. And we all ordered mains, mostly off the standard lunch menu, but N went for the interesting potato pancakes as they sounded interesting and she had never had anything like it. She topped them with the bacon and poured over the maple syrup and said it was yum.
After we had brunch at Sisters, we wandered down the road to the Russian Market which basically sells just about anything and everything! I was most fascinated by the people in the market, those working, those napping, those gossiping....Loads of meat on offer. A friend says it looked very fresh (and she would know) but I was a bit freaked out by all the flies! Lots of hammocks hanging around as you might get a bit tired during your shift...
Some girls headed off to the Killing Fields on the Saturday morning of our girlie weekend in Phnom Penh but after looking it up online, I decided I didn't have the stomach for it, it would have been too upsetting for me. So DT and I chose the different option of heading over to the Royal Palace. I am glad we did as it was gorgeous, such opulence combined with a few odd parts too :) So pretty and colourful. Keep on reading to see more..... a lot lot more. We were particularly amused by the various statues making funny faces, which we decided needed us to emulate them and I have a collection of funny photos of DT with the same face as the statues You couldn't get too close to this building. We were highly amused that every time we walked down certain areas we would be shooed away, that is how we figured out where we could and couldn't go. It is a shame as it looked gorgeous and had lovely painted ceilings, we couldn't get to see them.
we also heard about the shops on 240 Street which is becoming the boutique shop street and NGO shop area also in Phnom Penh. They have local Cambodian designers and many shoppers which are run for charity which made us very interested so we jumped into a tuktuk and wandered along the street, trying things on an buying things all the way down! I mostly bought things in Daisy, Subtyl and Spicy Green Mango. I bought 4 dresses in Subtyl! Oops ;) Three were the same shape but in different colours as it fit really well which is hard to find, and they cost about 50USD each which was cheap so I couldn't resist. This turquoise striped one is one of them, I wore it the other day. Me being me, and being obsessed with food, I couldn't resist when I spotted little spice jars. I really should have bought these in town for a fraction of the price but I didn't so I just ignored the cost (5 USD a small bottle!) and bought everything :) They had recipes there too so I took them for guidance, though we do have some Cambodian recipes in the Rick Stein Far Eastern Odyssey cookbook.We all loved the amok dishes we had, so I got that spice mix. I bought some lemongrass we have already used. And Cambodia is famous for their Kampot pepper corns so I bought three different colours (black, red and white). I also bought a curry mix and the Lok Lak mix of pepper and salt which we used to store fry some chicken with chillies and onions, very nice.
After shopping down most of 240 Street (awesome place to shop in Phnom Penh! Loads of local designer boutiques with good prices) we stopped for refreshments at The Shop Cafe and Bakery (# 39, street 240, Phnom Penh 12207, Cambodia). It looked pretty from outside and they had a table out front so we sat ourselves down and checked out the menu. We were quite inspired by the interesting drinks on order and I must say I really loved what I ordered. I don't normally order ice tea as I find it sweet and odd tasting, but they had a passionfruit ice tea and I couldn't resist. I am glad I went for it! Not sweet at all (served on the side if you want to sweeten it up), lovely and sour and full of fruity flavour. Awesome! I highly recommend it.
After exploring the Russian Market and shopping we were in need of some refreshments, and where better than the world-famous Foreign Correspondents Club on the river in Phnom Penh? Yeah, we couldn't think of anywhere superiour either :) Especially considering how good their happy hour deals are... 1 for 1 between 5 and 7pm. What else could a group of thirsty gals want? They have a pizza oven but we weren't brave enough to try their pizza (who knows, it could have been one of those famous local "happy" pizzas topped with things that are high illegal over here in Singapore) and any way we knew we wanted local food for dinner. So the happy hour deal of one for one applies to beer, cocktails and house wines. I asked whether it was individual cocktails or also the jugs and luckily for us, they would do one for one jugs.... we managed to finish off nearly a jug each ;-)
We had wanted to head over to Romdeng after drinks at the FCC, but when we called it was fully booked, so we reserved our table for the next night, and instead headed over to their sister restaurant called Friends which was just a few hundred metres inland from FCC. They didn't have room for us, but I asked when they would, and they said in about 15min. So some of us waited whilst others headed over to the 711. This place was high on my friend BeirutiBrit 's list of places she wanted to try as she had been to the Siem Reap branch. It is run as a charity to train ex-street children in the restaurant business. So an utterly worthy cause in a country previously torn apart by war and still quite poor. What kind of food can you expect at Friends? A combo of Western and Eastern inspired tapas and some special emu main courses.... so basically you can expect just about anything!
After the Royal Palace we met with the girls who had been to the Killing Fields. There was a bit of confusion when trying to meet up, their tuktuk driver took them all around town after the first place was closed. Thank goodness for Whatsapp and local SIMs and the ability to share location on there. We ended up close to FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) at Khmer Borane where we had some lovely local Cambodian / Khmer food.
On our last night, we heading to Romdeng. We had tried to go the night before but it was fully booked, so we headed on over on the Saturday night. It is owned by the same people that own Friends Restaurant, part of the Tree Alliance / Friends International . They have the same ethos, helping ex street kids and the underprivileged get trained and have a chance at a career. Whereas Friends is more "World Tapas", Romdeng is more traditionally Khmer / Cambodian food and it was lovely! I was reminded yet again that Cambodia is between Vietnam and Thailand, and the food reflects that location. Their speciality is a bit freaky..... Deep fried tarantulas with pepper sauce! Yikes!!! I didn't go anywhere near them. One of my friends is super hardcore and just grabbed a whole one and chowed down on it. Yikes! She said it is food, you can't waste food... her Vietnamese origins came through strongly :) This incited N to have to eat a whole one too of course as the title of most hardcore is hers! Some of the others had a few bits / legs etc. But I couldn't! I would totally go back, actually I hope I will! I would love to go back to Phnom Penh and keep exploring this menu. So many more dishes I want to try! And a cocktail, they were out of the one I wanted to try, the frozen lime and black pepper daiquiri, sounds intriguing. I would wholeheartedly recommend going there, just make sure to call ahead and book a table. And don't forget the shop upstairs where the proceeds go to charity also.
On Day 3-, some of us headed for breakfast at ARTillery, back on 240 street down a side street called 240 and a half street. A very chilled out cafe with a lot of organic food and vegan / vegetarian options. We laughed as a friend and I ordered exactly the same thing, down to the two drinks each! We had the same food (avocado, cherry tomato, spinach toast) and drinks (dragon fruit, lemongrass, ginger, lime, honey smoothie) and a double espresso.