Entries Tagged as 'Food'

Noodle Soup with Braised Beef

posted on: February 10, 2015

Okay, so today I’ve decided to interject all the Vietnamese dishes that I’ve been posting recently with a Cambodian favourite; Noodle Soup with Braised Beef.  A popular dish in Southern parts of Cambodia, particularly in Muslim communities, this soup has a slightly sweet yet aniseed-y taste. I have to admit I had never tasted this dish until today.  My my, was I impressed. Consisting of rice noodles, braised beef, carrots, onions, chilli, herbs and spices swimming in a fiery red broth, it was the featured breakfast today at  The Strand – Knai Bang Chatt.  Those of you who are regular visitors to a.ha will know that I’m a huge fan of Knai Bang Chatt.  It really is one of my favourite places in the world…and now with this new dish to entice me, there’s one more reason to love it.

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Yet-to-be-named Vietnamese Dish

posted on: February 2, 2015

I’m rather embarrassed to say that really have no idea what this dish is called, nor do I know what the main ingredient is. All I know is that it is incredibly delicious and not like anything else I’ve ever had before. Consisting of eggs, shallots, chilli, soy and an unusual starchy-like vegetable (which taste somewhere between potato and daikon) this dish really has me lost for words…and not in a bad way.

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p.s If anyone know’s what this dish is called I’d love to hear from you.


Spinach, Pear and Avocado Salad

posted on: May 11, 2014

There was a time in my life where I hated spinach.  As a small child, no matter how many times I watched Popeye I wasn’t sold on the taste let alone the idea that spinach made you big and strong.  Fast forward 15 years or so, and spinach has become one of my favourite greens, not only for its taste and versatility but also for its incredible health benefits.  Spinach, like most green leafy vegetables has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.  This spinach, pear and avocado salad is great way to use  spinach.  It requires very few ingredients and takes no effort at all make.  Serve it alongside roasted chicken or have it on its own as a light lunch.

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Spinach, Pear and Avocado Salad

200g baby spinach
1 avocado
1 pear
1 tomato, diced
1 handful of sunflower seeds, toasted
1 handful of shredded coconut, toasted
1 handful of fresh herbs, roughly chopped

Honey Mustard Dressing

1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grounded salt and pepper

Toast the sunflower seeds and coconut in a large frying pan over medium heat, being careful not to burn the seeds.  Leave aside.   To make the salad add the spinach, pear, avocado and tomato into a large bowl. Add the toasted sunflower seeds, coconut and herbs.  To make the dressing add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thick and creamy.  Alternatively, add all ingredients in a small jar, tighten the lid, then shake for about 30 seconds or until creamy.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.



Pumpkin, Basil and Baby Asparagus Frittata

posted on: March 13, 2014

I’m a huge fan of eggs. I love them scrambled, poached, fried, boiled and baked…but perhaps my favourite way to have them is in a frittata. Frittata’s are, by definition, an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta.  For me, they are the perfect; no time to cook, need to impress, cheap-as-chips, healthy and wholesome dish!!!  In fact, it’s perhaps the one dish in my repertoire that never fails.  The best frittata’s are those that are made with left over vegetables.  The sort of  vegetables you have left over after a sunday roast.  Serve it alongside a fancy salad, and you’ll have people thinking that you’re the next Heston or Donna Hay.

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Pumpkin, Basil and Baby Asparagus Frittata


  • 600g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch of baby asparagus
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of rosemary
  • 100g spinach
  • olive oil

Frittata mix

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of single (pouring) cream
  • 3/4 cup grated aged cheddar or parmesan cheese
  • a handful of basil
  • cracked black pepper


Banh Chao

posted on: March 2, 2014

Every country has their version of the savoury pancake.  In Mexico its the tortilla, The Japanese have the delicious okonomiyaki, Ethiopians have created the unusual, but oh-so-delightful, injeras…then there’s the ever-so-popular, French crepe.  However, I would argue that the best and most nourishing of them all is the Cambodian Banh Chao.

Much like the Vietnamese Ban Xao, The Cambodian Banh Chao, is a savoury and delicate crepe made of rice flour, turmeric powder, and coconut milk and filled with various meats such as pork, prawns and chicken and vegetables such as bean sprouts, carrot and fried onion. Always served alongside a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, crushed peanuts, vinegar, sugar and chilli and a platter of lettuce, herbs and cucumbers, this snack is commonly found in street stalls and markets all over Cambodia.

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Nom Kachai

posted on: October 15, 2013

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My favourite time of the day is what I call Yellow Time.  It’s somewhere between 4.30 and 6.30pm, when the sun is setting and everything is highlighted by a delicate golden hue. Everything just seems much more beautiful.  It’s also the time when you begin to see lots of little food carts making their way around Phnom Penh.  With the heightened energy and distinct sounds and smells on the street, you know that a food cart won’t be too far away.  They sell everything from noodles to sweets, papaya salad and babor but my favourite are the Nom Kachai vendors.  Nom Kachai, known in English as ‘chive rice cakes’ are a perfect in-between-meal snack.  Made using rice flour and chives and served with Khmer sweet and sour sauce, they are best eaten when they are still hot and crispy.

Friends The Restaurant / st 13

posted on: October 8, 2013

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It might come as a surprise, but for a person new to Cambodia it can be rather difficult finding really good Cambodian food.  If you are lucky enough to have a Khmer mother (like me), or be invited to dinner with a local family then you won’t struggle.  If not, then unless you know where to look and what to look for, you’ll find many places promising Khmer food will only offer the more common dishes such as Lok Luk, Amok, Nom Bachok and not much more. However, there are a handful of restaurants offering more then just your regular dishes. Exemplum: Friends the Restaurant, located on street 13 near the beautiful National Museum. Run as a training restaurant by former street youth and their teachers, Friends the Restaurant is a must-visit place for anyone living in or visiting Cambodia. The menu, which consists of delicious Khmer and Western style tapas is creative Cambodian cooking at its best.

Kep Crab Market

posted on: October 5, 2013

If you happen to find yourself in Kep, a quaint coastal town 3 hrs south of Phnom Penh, I would highly recommend a visit to the crab market. Every morning fishing boats arrive from nearby waters and islands and offload their catch onto the edge of the market, so not only is it buzzing with life and activity, it offers some of the best seafood in all of Cambodia.


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Banh Sung / Cnr st 141 & 190

posted on: September 24, 2013

In Cambodia, as in many other Asian countries, balance is a key concept in preparing a meal. Ideally, a dish should have a balance of sweet, savoury, sour, salty, bitter, spicy, creamy and aromatic.  Banh Sung, the Cambodian equivalent to Vietnam’s Ban Chao Gio, is the perfect example of a dish that does exactly this.  It gets its sweetness from the caramelised pork and onion, its savoury flavour from the noodles and fried spring rolls and its sourness from sweet and sour sauce.  The bitter flavour comes from fresh herbs and lettuce and its spiciness from the use of fresh chilli.  Along with the creaminess of the coconut milk, the ingredients combine to create the last essential element: aroma. With its balance and taste, Banh Sung is a dish that not only tantalise the taste-buds. It also satisfies the belly.
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Lort Cha / Russian Market

posted on: September 22, 2013

A local favourite, Lort Cha is a stir-fry dish (cha means stir-fry in Khmer) made using Lort noodles, Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, chives, beef and fried eggs.  Lort, which can be found at any fresh food market in Cambodia, are short rice noodles made from rice flour and water. Used in many Khmer dishes including soups and desserts, lort adds an interesting flavour and texture to any noodle-type dish.
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This recipe is an adaptation of Rick Stein’s Far East Odyssey’s Lort Cha recipe.  Stein’s version uses thick yellow noodles instead of lort noodles and water spinach instead of chinese broccoli.  He also omits the chives and soy sauce which I have included here for a more authentic taste.  If you can not find lort noodles in your neighbourhood, then I would suggest substituting it for fresh flat white rice noodles instead of thick yellow egg noodles.  Flat white rice noodles are made from the same flour as lort noodles and have a simliar taste, if not appearance. You can find it at any Asian supermarket.


450g fresh lort noodles (or fresh white rice noodles)
275g slice of rump steak, with the fat trimmed off. (Optional)
3 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tsp sweet soy sauce (manis kecap)
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
4 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
100g fresh bean sprouts
75g chives, cut into 2cm pieces
150g Chinese broccoli, washed and cut into 3cm pieces
4 eggs


If using meat, slice the steak across the grain as thinly as possible.  Mix the chilli sauce, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat, add the garlic and beef and stir fry quickly until the beef changes colour.  Be careful not to over cook the beef as overcooked beef becomes tough.

Add the noodles and sauce mixture, then add the chinese broccoli, chives and bean sprouts and stir fry for a few seconds or until everything has heated through.  Turn off the heat and keep hot.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Crack the eggs and fry, spooning some of the hot oil over the yolks as they cook.  This allows the eggs to become a little crispy around the edges.  Spoon the noodles onto a plate and top with a fried egg