Food Trip Friday 104: Okoy-okoy!

This plateful of okoys I saw by the road made me drool. I love okoy.

Shrimp fritters. Okoy in our dialect.

Shrimp fritters. Okoy in our dialect.

My aunt, may she rest in peace, makes the best okoys in the whole wide world. Shrimps mixed in shredded wintermelon or cassava, flour, eggs and seasoning and fried perfectly crispy. Yes, they’re oily but – the hey – dipped in vinegar with chilli, it’s finger-licking good!

This Khmer-version of okoy is a staple street-food – and cheap, too – is mixed with flour and eggs only but still very tasty. I also love the salt-pepper-lime-combo dipping. They’re best eaten while hot and only with fingers! Now I am craving for some. I want to reach that pair of thong on the yellow plastic basket and get me some shrimp fritters.

Food Trip Friday 103: Nom banchok, Vietnamese version

Howdy, friends.

Bringing myself back into the FTF groove again. This week, I’m posting this photo of nom banchok, Vietnamese version. I didn’t exactly understand why this noodle soup is named as such when I asked my officemate who brought it. As it was the first Vietnamese nom banchok I had seen, I wasted no time in tasting.

Very tasty nom banchok.

Very tasty nom banchok.

This is actually different from the Khmer nom banchok that I’m used to where the rice noodles are gloriously slathered with a mild Khmer green curry sauce. Instead, this is a clear soup with very nice textures from the beef prahat (meatball), fish fillets and vegetables – sprouted beans, shredded banana heart (puso ng saging), morning glory stems (kangkong), lovely thai basil and fiery Khmer chillies for that spicy oomph! There is a strong fish sauce (patis) and preserved shrimps (kapik) which might offend the nostrils and taste buds of our foreign friends, but not me.

I don’t normally see this dish sold around, compared to its cousin the Khmer nom banchok. However it is a very filling breakfast fare that can tide you over till lunchtime. It has noodles (made from rice) and meat (protein) and a host of vegetables to keep your tummy happy.

Food Trip Friday 102: Sesame Noodle Bar’s Cold Noodles


A hungry stomach has led me and my constant partner to many gustatory adventures, Manay of PinayWifeSpeaks, to discover this recently opened noodle shop. It is called the Sesame Noodle Bar and they offer a simple menu of noodles and side dishes inspired by Japanese, Chinese and American cuisines.

On one very hot Wednesday afternoon in March, Manay and I found Sesame Noodle Bar south of the Russian Market. On our first time at the noodle bar, I ordered this set lunch:

food trip friday sesame noodle bar cold noodles gyoza and tahini dressing

The noodle dish topped with caramelized pork was superb! What’s more, this set dish cost only $4.75.

The noodles is served ice-cold – which was a pleasant treat to quench the summer heat- and topped with a healthy pile of fresh veggies and a side of tahini dressing. More than anything, it felt more like eating a salad with noodles, and I say that in a positive way. The gyoza, or dumplings, was hand-rolled and pan-fried perfectly. Of course, not to be outdone, I also had a refreshing mint-passion fruit shake. All in all it was light but very filling meal.

Of course, I won’t stop at the food. The place is worth mentioning!  The lighting is also unique – check out the light bulbs when you go there – and the the decors are interesting; the posters and figurines are all so kawaii. The atmosphere is very nice and friendly, and their menu is a cute DIY. One would think they’re straight off the pages of Pinterest or Etsy. You don’t believe me? Just look at some of the photos I took. Please click the photos for a larger view  🙂

Sesame Noodle Bar
Address: #9 Street 460, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone:+855 89 750 212

Food Trip Friday 101: Fresh garden salad with lemon-mustard vinaigrette

This is the longest I have been away from blogging so far. Although not totally off the grid, I just stopped updating for various reasons. Life sometimes throws a curve ball at you every now and then that you never anticipate. It’s a major adjustment for everyone concerned but I just had to roll!

So anyway, now that I’m back in the mainstream I am slowly creeping into the blogging vine. My comeback post is here… my favourite garden salad with the mustard dressing from Nature and Sea Restaurant:

garden salad lemon-mustard vinaigrette

Nature and Sea’s Garden Salad. Julienned cabbage and carrots, sliced beets, tomatoes, and cucumber laid on a bed of lettuce. Colourful and delicious.

The serving was huge (good for two, actually) and served with a crusty French baguette on the side. The veggies were so colourful. They were fresh and crispy and dressed with a tangy lemon-mustard vinaigrette and served with a crusty French baguette on the side. My only complaint is that the vinaigrette is too thick/dense which is so unlike the consistency of other vinaigrettes I know. Other than that, it was oozing with flavour. It had a pleasant bit of sweetness to it, perhaps, sugar was added to temper the acidity of the lemon juice. Two thumbs up.

Food Trip Friday 100: Italian-style fish and chips

After several months of absence, I’m back again here at FTF. And guess what, it’s my 100th post, an auspicious number if I may say so.

So here’s my entry:

italian style fish in olive oil

Nature and Sea Restaurant’s Italian-style fish and chips. Fresh and delicious.

Nature and Sea Restaurant sits on the rooftop of a corner-building in the lively Golden Street, aka, St. 278, just across Wat Langka in Phnom Penh. It’s a nice little restaurant, with a view of the wat and the Independence Monument. It is a health-food shop of sorts and all the dishes are prepared using the freshest and pesticide-free ingredients.

In my opinion, they have the best fish-n-chips in town in variety of styles –  Australian, Italian, French, Baltic, and English (of course), just to name a few. A set meal of fish-n-chips will set you back at $6.50 but it includes a serving of fresh garden salad (I prefer the mustard dressing every time) and French fries. I also ordered a glass of mango and passionate fruit shake, a very refreshing and healthy drink to complete my meal, for only $1.75. Oh, and if you still have room for it, don’t forget to order crepes for dessert. Highly-recommended.

Not a new year’s resolution

We are now a few weeks away from 2013 and I can’t believe how this year have turned out to be. I feel that the days and months have passed by so quickly right before my eyes. Where have the days gone by? What have I done this year? Nothing much really, but I have some important realisations. With the new year waving around the corner, I feel the need for a change in lifestyle. I’ve had so many excesses this year that I need to kick out things that don’t matter out of my life to make room for the things that really do. Anyways, these thoughts lead me to this dream of mine borne out of a chance encounter with a person who’s living happily a life of less.

I have a confession to make…

ampalaya in augustI have this dream of living sustainably by growing my own food in my own backyard and committing to a sustainable lifestyle. While it is a simple principle, it requires a complete overhaul of the way we live our life now. That means giving up, if not downsizing, on a lot of “nice” things that we are used to, doing stuff ourselves (hey, I like DIYs!) and re-thinking some of our personal values. Yes, one part of that shift in lifestyle is to save money but a large part is really being able to live simply and to be content with less.

So now I’ve began growing my own food on a small scale. A lot of people I know found this laughable because we live in an apartment. Not a problem, I told them. I planted vegetables on pots. While they scoff at the idea, I am happy to say that it was a good move and we are already enjoying the vegetables– err, the fruits of our labour.

ampalaya veggies apad wordless wednesday bitter gourd

Since my husband and I are saving money for that small-to-medium piece of property somewhere where we’ll retire as farmers, we’ve started making small changes in our shopping and eating out habits. Last year, we started going local, buying our food from the local markets and pledged to eat real and home-cooked meals and minimize, if not, totally avoid, more processed stuff. This year we are looking at dining out less frequently (unless invited). As for our possessions, we’ll we do not have much as per western standards but we have lots of old clothes that we (I, particularly, accumulated over the past decade of stay here in Cambodia) that we could do away with. I’ve already contacted a friend working for a local NGO to donate our clothings.

How’s that for a start? I might sound like rambling here but I’d like to think that I am on the right track. More vegetables will be added to my garden this year. I’m considering purchasing heirloom tomatoes seeds and assorted herbs via etsy.

Food Trip Friday 099: Secret Recipe’s Grilled Black Pepper Chicken

PinayWife and I met up last Thursday for a morning of coffee and chitchat (Brown Coffee) and a bit of pampering (Soben Spa). It’s been ages since I had a massage and my back really needed a good kneading so I was really looking forward to this day out.

We opted for a traditional Khmer massage. Because of Soben’s early-bird promo, the one hour and half massage costs only a little over the regular price of a one-hour massage. Woot-woot 🙂 When we got out of spa, it was already half past noon and, although very much refreshed and satisfied from the soothing massage, we were already hungry.

Secret Recipe is becoming my favourite go-to for quick, no fuss lunch. So we chose to go to Secret Recipe at Sovanna Mall. This time around, I excitedly ordered pepper chicken and enjoyed my meal tremendously.

Lip-smacking grilled chicken smothered with black pepper sauce and served with rice and salad.

Oh, some more pepper sauce. Please.
My husband always tell me that the taste of the meat is lost when it’s smothered with sauce. But that’s me, I love it when my steak is drowned in sauce, lol. And I like the really thick sauce.

So anyways, the spiciness of the the black pepper sets off once the sauce hits your mouth! It is not so overpowering (considering my grilled chicken was deluged with sauce) but you feel the kick right away. Makes me wonder if they used Kampot pepper on this one. The side salad, on the other hand, was great, too, even if the serving was too little. The lettuce was crispy and the mayo-ketchup dressing was just right. My only concern was that the rice serving was tiny – the size of a five year old’s fist – but that’s alright, I’m kind of on a controlled diet these days. (You could tell I’m a voracious rice eater!)

I’m on a sugar diet these days so, for dessert, we only ordered a slice of choco-cheesecake that we shared between us. It was heavenly! So the it’s not all hype – the choco-cheesecake was, by far, the best one I had in the Penh. Besides that, there’s nothing like sharing a slice of cheesecake with a girlfriend!

Food Trip Friday 098: Sfiha

The other night my husband and I found ourselves without dinner again. There are stuff inside the fridge but, you know, it’s one of those nights when I just could not be bothered to cook. I hope I don’t look like a bad wife at all. I had a cold and a splitting headache, a little compassion here, please.

So yeah, we ordered pizza for delivery. Again. But different this time. It was pizza with exotic middle-eastern spices… they’re called sfiha.

Sfiha, the Lebanese pizza, from Le Cedre Restaurant in Phnom Penh.

They are delicious, exotic pizzas that are made from minced moutton and mixed with various heavenly spices. They look like open-faced minced pies on soft dough (crispy on the sides) but, according to Le Cedre’s menu, they’re actually pizza that are traditionally eaten in Lebanon and other Arab countries.

I’m not a fan of lamb meat at all but this one I’m happy to make an exception as this dish is a tummy-pleaser! I googled for recipes and I’m pleased to know that it’s not that difficult to make. I think I know now what I will try to do in my kitchen next time.