So it's been more than two days since I arrived in Phnom Penh. Because I arrived so late on Tuesday night, I settled myself in and waited until Wednesday morning to begin exploring my new city.
David, the guy I'm replacing who left yesterday evening, met me Wednesday morning and we had a breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt with some coffee and then jumped on a tuk tuk to get a tour of the sights. We passed Wat Phnom, the national museum and Central Market and along the way I tried to gain my bearings. Slowly but surely I'm beginning to figure out where things are.
Of course, my main objective of the day was to get my hands on some delicious Khmer grub. For lunch we went to a little restaurant and shared a meal. We had prahoc - it's fish paste and, from what I can gather, a pretty common dish. (In other words, it was delicious.) We also had a tofu, chicken and vegetable mixture and chicken curry. For dessert we stopped and got sugar cane juice from a stand on the side of the road.
The sugar cane juice is made by soaking the sugar cane in water and then running it through a press. Then they put the juice in a bag, like you see in the picture above, and you can take it to go.
Later in the afternoon we met up with Mr. Lee, a trusted moto driver, and got some fruit shakes - what David says is the cure all for any ailment. You can add any type of fruit imaginable - mango, papaya, durian, melon, lychee, banana...
For dinner we ate at a restaurant along the edge of the Mekong River called Jungle Bar and Cafe. I would consider it a more touristy restaurant. They had a variety of cuisine, but I opted for a traditional dish called Luc Lac, which a beef and vegetable mixture.
Afterwards, as we were passing a night market along the river I found baskets of fried food. And by food I mean grasshoppers, snakes, cockroaches, silkworms and quail. Needing to give my taste buds an adventure, I tried some fried frogs. And what they say is true -- if it's fried, it's good. I was also going to try a fried tarantula, but it freaked me out and I dropped it. I made a little boy standing nearby happy, though. He picked it right off the ground and started munching.
So far my stomach is holding up, and as long as it does I will continue my culinary adventures.