A relative once asked me if Khmers also like eating out. I said, yes, sure. But not the same way we Pinoys define ‘eating out’. While they do eat out in restaurants, they do it a bit differently. I’ve observed that while more and more new generation Cambodian’s are getting into the fast food habit, I still notice that they tend to like the hot-pot style restaurants.
One thing for sure, most Khmers I know love to PICNIC! Straw mats on sidewalks and happily eating people are not an uncommon sight here, especially in the provinces. I remember way back in 2004 when I first came here, it was quite easy to rent a mat along Phnom Penh’s riverside and find a place to park yourself and have a picnic. Nowadays, that’s quite hard to do as this are has been overrun already by developments. These days they mostly go to places like Kien Svay and some along the riverbanks on the outskirts of Phnom Penh where there are stilt cottages with hammocks.
Picnics ‘Khmer’ style are actually loads of fun (and adventure for me!). Most of the time, they pack food (and yup, some even bring over the rice cooker!), or some places you can order food. They like lounging on mats, hammocks and of course, play cards are a must.
Here’s from the last time we joined our relatives on a picnic in Tamao Zoo. The kids wanted to see the zoo and us, adults wanted to laze around, gossip and eat something different. An area near the zoo has some cottages you can rent and order food.
And what I was interested in were these unusual (at least, for me) delicacies. Grilled stuffed frogs. Not bad at all, it tasted a lot of spices and the meat tasted like chicken.
And this. Baby crabs fried with spices. I can’t get how delicious this is. I ate a whole bunch till my gums actually hurt. Ha!
Once you’ve tried picnics like this, you’d get why Cambodian’s love it. It’s a great chance to bond with family and also… it doesn’t cost a lot! Fun and cheap, works for me.