It’s Sunday afternoon, and I am relaxing with a steaming hot cup of tea and reflecting on the weekend. The market has been visited, the pool has been swum, the yoga has been flexed, and—like any Sunday afternoon—the laundry has been washed.
As it is the middle of October, and the rest of the world is on the pumpkin spice craze, I want to take a minute to boast a bit about Southeast Asia.
I can eat pumpkin year round. And I do.
I get pumpkin smoothies.
Pumpkin egg rolls.
Pumpkin ice cream.
Cambodia loves pumpkin. They don’t season it with nutmeg and cinnamon, but rather treat it as a melon or gourd, which can take on a variety of complex flavors. My favorite method of pumpkin consumption is the pumpkin smoothie, and Sean’s is chicken-pumpkin egg rolls from Sesame Noodle Bar. We are on the pumpkin bandwagon as much as you are, but we are rockin’ the pumpkin craze 365 days a year.
Moving on, this weekend was pretty great. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but I made sure I brought my camera out with me so I’d have something to share with you.
But first… a picture of a Kampot sunset:
Anyways, Sean and I went out last night for dinner and some live music. Our friend Chino is in a band, and they’re getting pretty popular here in Phnom Penh.
I had read about a Chinese place that had good food, so we headed up Monivong to check them out.
The name of the restaurant is Jiang Ren Su Jia, and is near Central Market on Monivong. The place was downright CHINESE, man. Everything in there screamed China: the customers, the walls, the menu, the food, the pictures, the tea. Sean was not amused of my tourist-photography, but I had to document our visit to share with you.
We got in a little over our heads with food. Everything on the menu was between $2-5, so we thought the portions were going to be small. Starting by the teapot and working clockwise we have roasted eggplant with chiles, peanuts, pork and chive dumplings, sweet and sour chicken, heavenly chili oil in a saucer, and crispy spring onion pancakes.
The verdict? I loved it. Sean wouldn’t go back. So I suppose that’s 50/50, right? Which means you’ll just have to try it for yourself to find out.
After dinner we headed over to the Foreign Correspondent Club’s property, The Mansion.
A historical gem, The Mansion is a relic from the French colonial era of Cambodia. It was built in the early 1900’s, and was a private residence for 60 years. Imagine strolling those halls in your bathrobe! When the Khmer Rouge took over, they looted the place, but left it standing and intact. It currently hosts live parties and an evening cocktail hour, but the Foreign Correspondent’s Club is looking to sell it.
Here’s another photo from the Khmer Times article about the sale: If you find yourself in Phnom Penh any time soon, you absolutely have to visit. Who knows what the future of this building may be, but for now, it’s a piece of living history.
Our friend’s band, Bacano, is a Latin Rock band here in Phnom Penh. Check out an article on them here, and here’s their Facebook page. In case you’re wondering, the word bacano is a Colombian term for something very good, cool, or nice.
Here’s a few shots of them from last night at The Mansion. Normally the bands play outside, but there torrential rain so they moved the event into the dark and mysterious cavern of The Mansion itself.
They’ve got an amazing mix of culture in their band. Starting from left to right, the guitarist is Russian/Chilean/Swedish, the bassist is Cambodian, the singer/guitarist is Colombian, the female drummer is Filipino, and the guy on the djembe is Pakistani.
So, there you have it. A typical weekend evening in Phnom Penh. Good food, good company, good music.