“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.”
Breakfast at Salita
I woke up at 5AM due to the inability to sleep. It was a new bed, new pillow and new environment, so I needed time to get used to my surroundings. Without disturbing Jolene, I prepped up and went to the Salita Restaurant located at the 10th floor.
At the 10th floor, I was able to witness an amazing view of Phnom Penh. Every building is so colourful. It feels like I’m in the Little India of Singapore.
The breakfast was served buffet style. I ate so much that my stomach was bloated. I loved their congee and salted vegetables and eggs. Also, I loved how the staff was so pleasant towards me, helping me to toast the baguette and serving it to me at my table (when it was clearly a buffet style breakfast).
Farm to Table
At around 10AM, Jolene and I hopped into a tuk tuk to get to a restaurant called ‘Farm to Table’. Before coming to Cambodia, I researched for information on the cafes and restaurants here because Jolene is unable/scared to have street food as she had food poisoning from it.
From the reviews of TripAdvisor, I decided to add Farm to Table to our itinerary list.
There was a turkey, a rooster and a chicken. They were probably the bravest animals I have seen. They came near our tables, under our tables, flapped their wings in front of us. Jolene was terrified of birds. She had a really bad experience with birds when she was a child. Her behavior was so amusing, I kept laughing and tried to calm her down because chickens and turkeys can’t fly. But, I mean, I probably wouldn’t be ever able to understand her fear.
The food was amazing. Jolene ordered The Monte Cristo and I ordered a pot of Fresh Ginger, Honey and Lime tea. I looooove ginger (it helps me let go gas, hahaha).
Farm to Table also welcomes pet owners to bring their pets to the cafe. We saw a dog owner walking her pet into the restaurant (of course, with a leash). I joked that the dog is only behaving because its owner is around, or else it would have already ate the chicken.
Address: 16, St 360, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opens daily from 8AM to 10PM
(The #6 of 102 things to do in Phnom Penh.)
The place was flooded with people, including monks, locals and tourists of all age. As we visited during a Saturday, it wasn’t as crowded. Usually, stores in Cambodia would not open during weekends because the locals have to take care of their family at home.
It’s extremely common to see dried food being sold on the streets of Phnom Penh. The image above shows a tuk tuk driver (surprise surprise) selling dried snails.
Fried insects were also a common snack sold in Cambodia.
The work of local artisans are also sold in Central Market. The prices usually range from USD5 to USD100. I bought a stack of postcards just for USD1, and the friendly store owner provided chairs for me and Jolene to sit on while I pick the best postcard designs. Before coming to Cambodia, I already planned to mail postcards to my dear friends in Australia and Malaysia.
*Note: The Post Office Square in Phnom Penh does not open on weekends. I had to request for a hotel reception staff to help me mail it out when she is free because I had to leave Phnom Penh for Singapore on the next weekday. Thus, check if your hotel staff is able to mail your postcards.
Tips for exploring The Central Market of Cambodia:
- Bargain. The actual price of the item may be elevated due to the fact that we are tourists. Cambodians charge locals at a cheaper, different price from foreigners/tourists. Thus, it’s always recommended to bargain for the lowest price. I bought a pair of pants for USD2 when the ‘actual price’ was USD4.
- Check your item before purchasing it. The items in the store might be left for sale since you-wouldn’t-know-when. And, people are allowed to try the items without purchasing them. So, always ask for a new piece or check if there are any defects on the item.
Exploring Nearby Alleys
Outside the huge Central Market was the bustling streets of Cambodia. Being a curious little traveler, I walked down the dark alleys of Phnom Penh. Jolene followed me to make sure that I’m safe.
Tips: Bring an additional camera battery if you’re an avid photographer. My camera battery was exhausted after my rapid image shooting of the surroundings. Jolene and I had to head back to the hotel to rest and get my additional battery in my travel backpack at the hotel.
Located at BKK1, a tourist area. We were able to spot people dancing together on the streets and people selling Pepsi in glass bottles. It’s been a loooong time since I drank Pepsi in a glass bottle. Pepsi is actually a popular drink in Cambodia.
Dinner at Famous Crab Soup Restaurant
Ti brought us to a local Khmer restaurant located near the River Side of Phnom Penh. She told us that the crab soup here is famous and a lot of local Cambodians visit this restaurant just to have that soup. It is around USD12 for one big pot and able to share between 3-4 people.
It is also a norm for Cambodians to have a lot of vegetables during their meals. Ti showed us that they would wrap leafy greens with fish, carrots and Cambodia’s specialty noodles. I loved the hearty and healthy meal. The crab soup was so sweet and thinking about it just makes my mouth water.
I would also recommend to come to this restaurant if you have the time. It would be advisable to arrive earlier than the usual dinner timing (7PM-8PM) because it would be PACKED at night. We were the first few to arrive, thus, we managed to get a table without waiting in the queue.
If you had visited the Central Market, you would realize that things sold at the Night Market are way cheaper. Clothes are priced from $2.50 (price as of April 2016).
At the night market, you would also be able to purchase street food (around $2-$3) and drinks (around $1-$1.50).
The Blue Pumpkin
The Blue Pumpkin (TBP) is a local Cambodian french bakery and patisserie, an ice cream parlor and a restaurant with a lounge atmosphere. (Source from TBP Website)
TBP owners pride themselves on the highest quality & freshest of ingredients. All their recipes are original, created in-house by their chefs, and capitalise on locally sourced seasonal products. Blue Pumpkin goes, also, to great lengths importing specialty food-components directly from the source: Italy for their pastas, semolina, flour, and cheese, along with their wines from the snow-capped mountains of Argentina. (Source from TBP Website)
TBP was launched in Siem Reap in 2000; it began as a small bakery, conceived by renowned pastry chef, Arnaud Curtat and his wife, chef Su. Yary Meas, a Cambodian business woman/restaurateur, joined the couple 10 years later, to support the expansion of the concept. By early 2013, TBP operated 16 cafes providing employment to 330 staff members and is in the process of developing several additional locations throughout Cambodia. (Source from TBP Website)
Address: # 245, St. Sisowat, Phnom Penh.
Opens daily from 6am to 11pm
People in Cambodia really give their trust to strangers. Jolene told me that the tuk tuk driver that drove us to Farm to Table did not accept her payment till the end of our tuk tuk ride to the Central Market. This shows that the tuk tuk drivers easily trust people and they aren’t even afraid that me and Jolene would just run away before paying him the money.
All photographs are shot by Tan Si Qi (Preserve) with an iPhone 5 / Nikon S7000.
For photo shoot inquiries, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org