I must admit, we were only in Cambodia for about 2 days, both of which I was pretty sick. I picked something up along the way, I suspect in Vietnam, because I was already not feeling well when we boarded the plane for Cambodia. It could have been any number of things, I forgot to use bottled water to brush my teeth a couple nights, there was ice in my juice, or I just ate something weird. Who knows. But sadly, this is the only restaurant I ate at while in Cambodia. The first night I couldn’t leave my hotel room and had food from the hotel delivered. It looked delicious and amazing. But all I managed to eat at that point was white rice. By lunch the next day I was feeling a bit better and we ventured out to this teeny tiny strip of street (Pub Street) in Siem Reap with dozens upon dozens of restaurants, and as you can guess, bars.
It was quite the scene. I was scouring the menu at each restaurant, seeing what my best bets would be for vegetarian fare. Everyone was hangry and exhausted from 2 days of temple walking and climbing, and that day we had gotten to Angkor Wat for a sunrise that never made it through the clouds. After looking at menu after menu we ended up at the first one we looked at – Temple Pub.
Temple was an interesting place – lots of outdoor seating under fans, and the inside was clearly ripe for bar time when the sun went down. There was a pool table and lots of TVs playing soccer. Outside it was a good people watching spot. We were under an awning so there was no sun beating down on us and we had a perfect view of a drunk street “magician” who I was convinced was about to light himself on fire by accident any moment. (I didn’t snap any pictures…)
I don’t know if it was the fact I was so starving after our day full of temple sightseeing or just the fact I hadn’t eaten much since the night before, but when we started with veggie spring rolls I thought I was in heaven. They were delicious. Perfectly crispy and filled to the brim with veggie goodness. And the sweet and sour dipping sauce was delightful as well. Now, I know, it’s hard to mess up a fried spring roll but these were really delicious.
I wanted to keep pretty tame with what I was eating so I didn’t get anything remotely curry-esque. Instead, I opted for a vegetable soup, which was exactly as bland as I was looking for, and interestingly, came with a side of white rice. Mostly vegetable broth with mushrooms, carrots and something like bok choy, it was exactly what I wanted. Now, is it strange I was eating soup in 100 degree weather? Maybe. But I guess at this point we were getting pretty used to the constant heat and nothing really seemed to make much difference one way or the other. I thought the soup was perfect.
The only downside to the restaurant was that after we ate there I started wondering if it was actually owned by the same people that owned the fabulous hotel we stayed in – the Golden Temple. We noticed the pictures on the menu looked similar to those in the hotel restaurant…so either they have the same menu-maker, or we unknowingly ate at the same restaurant. Hard to tell. But overall, the meal was exactly what we all were looking for – and by the time we left Cambodia bright and early the next morning, I was feeling pretty good and on the road to full recovery.