Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vegan What? Fun Times in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Note: Please click on an image to see it full size

Weird and wild Phnom Penh: where we had to keep the balcony doors and windows of our hostel closed so the monkeys wouldn't come in and make a mess of the place.
Where we came across this temple by the riverbank seeming to pay homage to Mario:

Where, not an uncommon sight in all of Southeast Asia, I snapped this picture of a family of four on a moto with hardly the room for two:

Finding casual vegan food was not hard to find, though finding variety in restaurants that are merely vegan friendly is difficult. This printed menu from one of the many riverside cafes on National Highway 5/Sisowath Quay is typical of what you'll find, right down to the same font:
There's very little difference between them all.
No matter, though. If you're popping in for a quick bite, you can't beat the price or quality. Check out this lovely vegetable amok for US$2.75:
I will add, as I've mentioned in previous posts, having a lifetime distaste for fish has made my fish sauce detection superpower keen, and I didn't detect it at all in any dish in Cambodia. In fact there were only two meals throughout our entire four country trip that I could tell had fish sauce or some fish product in it. So, no worries here!

The cheap pitchers were among the reasons we had about a gallon of beer a day.
Though you'd think this beer would be pronounced "anchor" like that of a boat, but I'm guessing that either because they don't want to confuse it with Angkor beer or because they're just pronouncing it phonetically, they pronounce it "an-chore".
Thanks again to Happy Cow we had another happy, mostly, find: Evergreen Vegetarian House.

Evergreen Vegetarian House
109, St 130, Sangkat Phsar Chas
Phnom Penh Cambodia

This place would have been perfect. Perfect! If it weren't for one little thing. We were seated at a table and I asked for a beer. The response was: "Sir, you can't serve alcohol at a vegetarian restaurant."
An angry "I $%^&#@* beg to differ!!!" was almost my response, but decided that I wouldn't make so big a deal out of it. The food was very inexpensive, and very very good.

Marya got this great deal where, for US$2.75 she could get a set meal consisting of two dishes and a soup. She started with this veggie fish and tomato dish:

Then had this fried mushrooms and cucumber:
Yes, I know. You don't see stir-fried cucumber very often.
And she finished up with this tofu vegetable soup:

For US$1.50 I had this lovely noodle soup with rice noodles, vegetables, and fake meat galore:
If I recall correctly, this was their menu item Mi Taimu Noodle Soup.

As one doesn't see "Veggie Intestines Noodle Soup" on the menu every day, plus the fact that I feel as if I could eat my weight in noodle soup, I just had to try it.

And here it is, in all its glory!
I'm not sure what it was really made of, but it was a fun novelty all the same.
We made up for the lack of hooch elsewhere at a fun little outdoor pub next to our hostel.

And, just for giggles, here's a fun photo I snapped of a guy carrying a mattress on his moto:

There's a book of photos of people carrying the most unimaginable things on their tiny motos and other forms of transportation called "Carrying Cambodia", if you'd like to see the triumph of will over physics.