Beneath a searing sunshine, my tutorial and I wander amid the pepper-strung trellises. As the color of the berries alterations, so do their flavour profiles, I understand: environmentally friendly pepper, fermented in salt, operates effectively with goat’s cheese and caramelised duck black pepper, the bulk of the harvest, has chocolate, mint and eucalyptus notes and enhances match and charcuterie though red pepper is fruity, floral and delicious when paired with fish, or floor above ripe strawberries.
As Kampot pepper enjoys its renewed acceptance, Phnom Penh’s road food scene is also coming into its individual. Back in the funds, I soar in a tuk tuk and sputter through its clogged, temple-flanked arteries to satisfy author, tutorial and movie area scout Nick Ray at the art deco Central Current market for a street meals ‘safari’. “Everyone has listened to about the street food stuff in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City,” he states, “but Phnom Penh’s should be just as famed.”
We wander along aisles lined with dried fish: catfish, snakehead, squid. “Dried fish is salty but genuinely excellent grilled and dipped in mango sauce.” The river crabs, he tells me, are fermented in salt for 5 days and then cooked with lemon, basil, sugar and chilli.
We graze from stall to stall, tearing into barbecued beef skewers with pickled youthful papaya at Phsar Tapang, and get a street-facet pew for a plate of lort cha, a dish of brief rice noodles stir-fried on a scorching hot plate with bean sprouts, cabbage, garlic, palm sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce, then topped with a fried egg.
“Lort cha is a well known cheap lunch,” Nick says as we tuck in. “The carts providing them all participate in distinctive tunes, like ice product vans.” It’s thirsty do the job, and so we round off our tour with a tipple at the Juniper Gin Bar, which serves beverages from Phnom Penh’s very first craft distillery, Seekers Spirits. I go for the kaffir lime leaf-laced Mekong G&T. It’s packed with indigenous botanicals this kind of as lemongrass, pomelo, galangal and lemony Khmer basil. It’s Cambodia in a glass.
How to do it
Audley Journey provides a bespoke, 11-working day journey to Cambodia from £2,280 for each man or woman, which includes flights, transfers and lodging, and can organize chef-led cooking courses.
Posted in the September 2021 difficulty of National Geographic Traveller Food.
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