One of my favourite meals in Cambodia is breakfast. So of course, I decided to make a jaunt to our nearby market for a feast! The best iced coffee in Phnom Penh – made by none other than the super friendly Mr. Bunnarith (so famous he has a Facebook fanpage and you can read more about him here) and a plate of bae saek chroop (rice with pork – but so much more than that!)
But before I could get to my brekkie, I had to make it through the wet market. And of course – what was the first thing I was met with? Turtles! (which kinda taste like chicken) I had completely forgotten that at 8am, the wet market of Psar Tuol Tom Puong would be flooded with early morning buyers. So chickens, fish, fresh meat hanging from hooks and oh so much activity.
But I finally made it to my breakfast. And if you’re ever in Cambodia – I highly recommend a trip to a local market for an early morning meal. If not pork, there’s also chicken and tofu for order too. But bae saek chroop is definitely my favourite. A plate of rice topped with barbecued pork, pickled veggies and some freshly made sweet chili sauce. All washed down by a glass of iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk supplied by Mr. Bunnarith. I can’t think of a better meal to start a busy day!
And then, prepared with the energy from your sturdy meal, you can take on Psar Tuol Tom Puong, which is also known by expatriates as Russian Market. It was named this back during the days when Soviet Vietnam occupied Cambodia in the 1980s because of its penchant for housing Russian goods. But now Psar Tuol Tom Puong is your good ol’ Cambodian market, now with a penchant for catering to the tourist classes and thereby the best place to find clothing straight from the Zara, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch factories, all the Asian-inspired housewares you could think of, and one of the largest collections of vintage opium pipes!
But it’s also a wet market and so this is where we do a lot of our produce shopping. A bag full of fresh limes, tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions for under 75 cents? And they’re probably charging me a bit more since I’m obviously not from around here. But the price is still amazing! And of course, I couldn’t leave without taking a favourite wet-market photo of mine. Chickens and their feet just as I was leaving the market. Oh how I love early mornings in Cambodia.
PS – One of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve my photography. I’ve been horribly lazy at it and have essentially relied on the automatic setting on my DSLR for the past 4 years. How embarrassing! So my very lens-minded friend Sofia sent me these amazing tips from SeriousEats on food photography that definitely demystify all those dials concerning aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. Thanks Sofia!
All photos in this post, unless otherwise noted, by infinitiff. Please do not reproduce or use without permission).