Our visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia, fell in the middle of the trip, sandwiched between Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. Its rural, tropical feel was a nice break from the big cities. Sadly, we didn't have any good meals in Vietnam. So, this lunch on our second day in Siem Reap was our first truly good meal. After touring a couple of temples, our tour guide took us to Eat at Khmer, a roadside restaurant across from the old royal swimming hole. It was a place that was clearly hosting only groups of tourists. With every vehicle's unloading, children swarmed, singing out "Madam, take a look," in an attempt to sell cheap souvenirs to you.
Fortunately, the Cambodians here knew how not to sacrifice flavor when serving tourists. It took some time for our food to arrive and each person's plate was served at different times rather than all at once, as is the custom at good restaurants in the States. But the food was steaming and fresh. Much of Cambodian food is influenced by the food of its neighboring countries with some of the same spices and tastes, such as basil and lemongrass. I had opted for a stir fry of chicken and ginger with mixed vegetables. The chicken was tender, the flavors deep, the ginger radiating throughout. I was glad that we had been hostage to the tour guide's lunch decision, for it was the best we had on our stop in this country.