Feb 19, 2014

Kampot Pepper

On my last day in Cambodia I arrived at the airport a few hours before my departing flight to Bangkok. Hungry, I headed towards a cluster of restaurants to find some lunch. My choices were as follows: Dairy Queen, Burger King, or a chain called "BBQ Chicken." After traveling throughout the country and enjoying an incredible bunch of meals flavored with spices like lemongrass, wild ginger, kaffir lime leaves, fresh green pepper or the delicate black Kampot pepper (my reason for traveling to Cambodia) I chose the only restaurant whose name I didn't recognize: "BBQ Chicken," which looked to be a sort of Cambodian-style fast food joint. My hope was that despite the name, I could avoid the dreaded monoculture of tastes that accompany a fast food establishment dependent on industrialized processed food products and factory farms (DQ & BK). But despite the promising look of chili sauce bottles adorning plastic tables, I was out of luck.

Feb 7, 2014

Khmer Flavors

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA    
As a fairly frequent traveler, I'm wary of scams: tuk tuks offering to take you on a "tour" only to veer off in the direction of gem shops, cute children selling souvenirs on the streets, strange powders masquerading as true spices. I was prepared to ignore the people who were simply begging; I was prepared to contribute in some other way. I was, I thought, wary and savvy and in control. Traveling alone requires you to repeat these self-assertions before heading into the fray. But I wasn't prepared for the woman with an infant on her hip who approached me and said,
          "Madame, I don't need money I need milk."