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crustyadventures Random travel thoughts from WorldNomad's Community Manager

Squid + noodles + soup

CAMBODIA | Friday, 18 February 2005 | Views [1832]

The dish with no official name, not being on any menu – merely a concoction thown together by some generous women hosts at a small roadside cafe near the Ream naval base. They looked at us quizzickly when we asked for some food. The request was fine … but what kind of food did we want? Hmmm… good question – anything really. I was hungry after a two hour walk in the Ream national park to the top of Meditation Mountain…. but I just don’t have the Khmer words on the tip of my tongue for “I don’t mind, whatever you’ve got”.

A little girl comes over ‘Vous parlez Francais?’. ‘Un peu’ I say, indicating madly to STC that he should come over and trot out his superior schoolboy French skills to put in an order. Grandpa obviously holds the best foreign language skills with Colonial French and rises up from a hammock to give us a toothless grin. ‘Calamare?’ he suggests as cook reaches into an icebox and pulls out a cold fresh squid. Yes, yes! Somehow we also find words for soup and noodles. I’m not sure we meant to ask for all three things in a combo – it was just a suggestion for the kinds of food that we’d like.

These utterances are spurred on by a bubbling pot of broth a top a little cauldron of coals in the kitchen. Smells fantastic!

So all three ingredients are combined into a huge plate of food that arrives covered in the usual green finery, with lime wedges and chili on the side.

Save for the slurping from STC and I and mutterings of laughter (at us) from the table of navy officers, there’s not much background noise. How far away from Phnom Penh this feels!

Today’s quest out of town has turned out marvellously… in so many ways.

[Ream, just South of Sihanoukville, Cambodia]

Tags: food

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