Per usual, I caused quite a stir at the local market in Siem Reap. While tourists snapped up trinkets and souvenirs at the Old Market (Phsar Chas) on Pub Street, my guide and I slipped into the north side of the market along Street 9, which caters more to locals than tourists, vending fruit, vegetables, meats, clothes, hardware, etc. I warned my guide that things were about to GET A LITTLE CRAZY. There would be a considerable amount of food inspection, photo-taking and an endless stream of questions. And although a great deal of goods are imported from nearby Thailand, I couldn’t help but marvel at the artistry in the preparation of street food and cacophony of colorful spices. When I wasn’t squealing and gasping like a child, I was gawking at exotic fruit (rambutan, durian, my beloved jackfruit, dragon fruit and pomelo), sniffing spices (my hotel room presently smells like an Indian market) and watching in awe as a row of women gutted live fish and butchered, cleaned and sectioned meat by organs.
Perhaps I should start another blog, what other people are eating, because I’m never really disgusted by anything, rather I’m fascinated by how other cultures prepare their favorite dishes. To be candid, I’m not certain if I would purchase any of the meat due to the ambience and hygiene (some of the proprietors sleep in the market), but the dried/fresh fruits, spices and baked goods can’t be beat.
However for the intrepid and adventurous, you won’t be disappointed. From stewed ants to snails sautéed with black olives to deep-fried crickets, smoked cobra fish, pig heads and full-figured frogs, I just stared, snapped and appreciated.
Yes, you’ve spied it again: frogs.
Grapes at the local market. Grapes are quite rare and expensive.
I’ve never seen so much fish as I’ve seen in SE Asia.
These are…deep-fried crickets.
Snails. There are a growing number of French ex-pats in Cambodia.
Snake fish…and they’re still ALIVE!
Rambutan, a fruit that doesn’t exist in the U.S.