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CAMBODIA: Part Three: Kep = Crab

CAMBODIA | Friday, 23 December 2011 | Views [522]

Kep is the city we were most looking forward to visiting in Cambodia. Its history captivated us. We’d heard it described as “The Hamptons” before the Khmer Rouge came through. The rich, famous, royalty, etc., all came to Kep and being there you could see why it was a destination point for so many. As we travelled around the small town (no atm’s or banks- however that’ll change in 2012! Apparently.), we could see what use to be grand beautiful homes… now empty buildings, blackened and partially hidden by the overgrown bushes and trees. But even then, it was easy to imagine what they must have looked like before being abandoned by force. Another part of Kep’s past and present that intrigued us is the French influence— in the cooking and architecture. When we told other travelers of our plans to go to Kep, they said, “Uhhh… Kep? You should go to Kampot- you need to go to Kampot. Much more to do there, it’s more developed…” blah blah blah. That was all part of why we picked Kep…. What more could you want for a few days than the beach, sun, beer and crab? Of course, we did make a couple of trips up to Kampot, as Kep has no banks and we were in need. Kampot was okay… but the drives back to Kep were always preferred, and so was Kep. That’s actually putting it nicely when it comes to Kampot, but we won’t get into those stories in this post… as it is dedicated to the lovely Kep. (If you want to know about Kampot — to put it quickly, just two bad experiences—100% due to the banks there and my “bad signature”! GR! Long story.)  

Then there’s the crab market. Oh the crab… the delicious, fresh, succulent, cheap as you can buy, crab. And boy did we get our fill. One of the best parts about the crab in Kep was the green Kampot peppers that always seemed to accompany it. Kep/Kampot is renowned for producing one of the world's finest peppers (the green Kampots) and they were in peak season during our visit.

Our trip to the crab market was possibly the highlight of our time in Kep. We walked straight over to the market, set alongside the beach, and all the wives of crab fishermen approach you—pointing to their baskets filled with live crabs… wanting you, of course, to buy from them. We made our choice and picked out five delicious looking crabs—a couple on the small (what I would consider “normal”) size, then three rather large ones. Our grand total? $7.00!! Our lovely cook then threw the crabs into a boiling pot of water and slid the lid over to let them simmer for about 10 minutes. While we waited for our crabs to finish cooking, we bought a jar full of fresh Kampot peppers, soaking in their own juices (Hallelujah!!). We were mad for these peppers…. So amazingly good, you could eat them on their own. Of course, we preferred them with a bit of thick juicy crab meat, but they can stand on their own just fine in my book. When the crabs were done cooking, they were tossed in a plastic sack and handed over to their drooling beneficiaries. We grabbed two cans of ice cold beer, found a table, and dug in. CAN I GET AN AMEN?!? The angels were singing… the sun was beaming straight down on us and our feast… and as Travis and I looked into each others’ eyes, there was a complete understanding that if there is a heaven, this was it… we had died and gone there. Funny how a bird pooing on your table (nowhere near the crab mind you) can bring you back to reality pretty quick and make you realize that you haven’t died and gone to heaven… you’re just eating one of the best meals of your life.  

Pics to come!!!

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