24 July, 2016

Fish Amok and Angkor Beer, Phnom Penh

For all those of you who’ve been wondering why it’s taken me a month to post anything on the blog, I was backpacking through Cambodia, experiencing the beauty of their temples and culture, their gruesome history, meeting fellow backpackers and interesting residents…. And most importantly, experiencing food and ale. Over the next month or so, I’ll be sharing a lot of posts on my travels in the hope that it inspires you to get out of your homes and go see the world.

When I arrived in Phnom Penh, my first question to the tuk-tuk driver was regarding what the local ‘must-have’ dishes were. Something that he and a few other folks recommended was a dish called the Fish Amok. Needless to say, my first stop before going anywhere was to head to a restaurant to try this out.

Food doesn’t go without a decent ale for company. As I waited for my dish, I ordered a mug of the Angkor Beer. With a bright golden colour to it, this is a light bodied lager with no particular aroma, except that of the grain. The beer lost carbonation very easily, not much of a head and was quite bitter in taste. Except for the price point of 75 cents, the beer was a mere thirst quencher for the sultry weather of Phnom Penh. While the vacation wasn’t off to the greatest of starts with this beer, the food was yet to come. I had a lot of hope pinned on this dish.



Fish Amok is a classic dish from the Khmer region (now known as Angkor) and is probably the only prominent cuisine style in Cambodia. The cuisine is largely based around meat and ingredients found nearby lakes and rivers of the region. This would include fish, pork, snails, shrimp along with limes, lemongrass, coconut, mangoes and chilli. Beautifully capturing all these elements, the Fish Amok I had championed lemongrass spectacularly. Both the aroma and flavour of lemongrass put together made me salivate as I quickly clicked pictures before I gorged through the dish. 




Served in a banana leaf, the bite-size pieces of fish (I wasn’t able to understand what fish it was when the waitress told me) had a lovely lemongrass, coconut and kaffir lime flavour on the outside with the natural flavours of the fish coming through on the inside. Dressed with a light chilli on top, I got a mild hit as the fish went down my throat. The flavours started to intensify as I went through the dish as the bottom had a higher concentration of the curry paste. Accompanied with plain boiled rice, this dish hit the spot immediately.

Here's a quick video review - 


I tried out various versions spice of this dish throughout my stay, each with a slight difference in terms of more coconut, or gravy or spice. This version, at the On the Corner le resto du coin in Phnom Penh, located on the river front, was my favourite. 

The Long Drink Festival at Social

The latest season of Game of Thrones came and went by in almost an instant. By the time we got to the end of GoT, 10 weeks of our lives had passed and now there is this awkward void which will be filled with reruns of the season gone by or in my case, numerous failed starts to read the books. To keep you company while you find the next best TV series to fill up your days, the good folks at Social have taken the GoT theme and slapped onto their on-going ‘Long Drink Festival’ which heroes various flavours of everyone’s favourite , the  Long Island Iced Tea (LIIT).


A few weekends ago, some of my fellow food and drink enthusiasts were invited on a Saturday afternoon to sample all the nine concoctions and partake in some drinking games.  The nine versions of LIIT, with names like Winter is Coming, Blood of the Dragon, White Walker hero various flavours like cherries, Jim Beam, elder flower, absinthe and even jalapenos. What was evident from everyone’s choices that evening was that the cocktails have been designed to cater to a very wide variety of palates. For example, the relatively mild Sunspear includes whiskey, orange and apple juice, something too mild for my taste. At the other end of the spectrum is Ice & Fire, a drink that packs a sucker punch with Jim Beam, vodka, tequila, lavender tonic and jalapenos, a very strong drink and my favourite from the pack. A crowd favourite was the White Walker, a sweet tasting mix of Kahlua, vodka and fresh cream. 




The festival is on till the 10th of August which gives everyone ample time to head over and discover what’s your pick. And for those of you who don’t watch GoT, just think of this as a LIIT cocktail festival, you won’t be quizzed on your knowledge of GoT to get a cocktail. In Bangalore, you can try these out at both the Church Street Social as well as the Whitefield Social. Aptly priced at INR 550 for 500 ml and INR 999 for 1000 ml (not inclusive of taxes), there’s no real excuse not to head over right after you read this post.