Cambodia: Siem Reap

In the morning, we were awoken by a bird chirping loudly outside our window and after realizing that he wasn’t going to stop -ever- we decided to get up and go find some breakfast. What we stumbled upon was a quaint little street front restaurant across the street from out hotel called Wok Republik. The entire staff greeted us the moment we walked up, the sat us immediately, and prepared our table for a meal. We ordered Tom Yum and it was absolutely spectacular. It was served in a little hot pot that had a flame lit below it to keep the soup warm and the complexity of the flavors in that soup was enough to make Bobby Flay cry.

Tom Yum from the restaurant Wok Republic in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tom Yum from the restaurant Wok Republic in Siem Reap, Cambodia

After breakfast, we wandered down to the New Market to see what wares we could find. The new market was exactly that, a new version of a Old Market that still lay in full function directly across the river. The bridge from my last post is the bridge connecting the two markets. The New Market featured different textiles and more artistic wares, but the Old Market is where you could find the exotic foods and spices, so that’s where we headed. The Old market had a strong smell of old spoiled reptile lurking in the air and as we got closer we realized that was because there was snake jerky drying in the sun nearly everywhere you looked. Once my nose got used to the smell the Old Market was a wonderland for old, interesting trinkets and goods. There were so many historic things from the Khmer Rouge and the people that selling them were actually involved in that dark time. It was eye-opening and enlightening.

After shopping around for a few hours we agreed it was time for lunch and some more beers. Now, in Thailand we were drinking Chang beer the entire time, its a local favorite and specialty, but now that we were in Cambodia we insisted on drinking Cambodian beer. That’s when we discovered Angkor. It was delicious. Like Chang, the Angkor was light and crisp in flavor but high in alcohol for a beer at around 7.5% alcohol. In San Diego, the craft beer capital of the world, we drink a lot of IPAs or India Pale Ales and they’re all really big in hoppy flavor and high in alcohol so it was interesting to try beers that were also high in alcohol but very light and crisp to the palate. Did I mention that the beers were ¢50 a 12oz draft?! Obviously, we took advantage of this amazing opportunity and drank ourselves full of Angkor before waddling back to our hotel to sit by the pool for the last hours of sunlight.

As night fell, we got one final meal for the day at, get this, Hardrock Cafe Cambodia (it was the only thing open at that hour besides bars). We eventually made it back to our hotel for the night and passed out like little babies. We were going to see the temples in the morning.


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