Continuing my international restaurant reviews.... after spending a couple of days in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, we took an internal flight to Siam Reap - home of the famous Angkor Wat temples. We got up at 4am to see the main temple at sunrise, which was an amazing experience.
We visited several other temples as well, including the one where Tomb Raider was filmed.
I'd read about apsara dancing before my trip, which is a traditional Khmer (Cambodian) dance with its roots in ballet, but involving elaborate and very controlled hand movements as well. The dancers also wear tall headdresses and their performances tell traditional stories and myths. I asked our tour guide if there was somewhere we could watch apsara dance and she booked us into a restaurant that had a show that evening, called the Angkor Mondial.
My guide did warn us that the restaurant served a buffet meal and was not the most highly recommended for its food, but probably was the best place to go to watch apsara dance. It's a very large restaurant, seating up to 400 people on long tables lined up vertically against the stage, so some people would have a very good view near the front and others would be a lot further back. It normally costs US$12 for dinner and the show but our guide got us a discount and we paid $10 - the show alone was worth that. The food, as expected, wasn't really up to much. There was a very large selection, but I would say too large- there was Cambodian and Asian food, curry, prawn crackers, chips - which incidentally were cold. Some of the food was cooked fresh to order (you queue at each station) but most of it had been out for a while and wasn't particularly hot any more. I had a selection of different items, none of which were particularly memorable, but we had very good seats for the show which was very impressive.
I stayed in this hotel in Siam Reap and ate breakfast here and lunch twice - one day when we had a short break between sightseeing around temples (and had been up since 4am) and I was too tired to go any further afield, and also on the day I checked out as I was waiting for my airport transfer. The hotel is fairly upmarket with an ornate lobby and a nice big swimming pool. There is a bar in the pool with stools that are actually underwater and the drinks are served on the side of the pool, which I thought was really cool.
Breakfast was a good mixture of Asian and western foods, though the sausages - which I think were made of chicken - were more like hot dogs. There were potato wedges too that were a little like fried potatoes, and I couldn't resist trying a doughnut and a waffle for something a bit different. They were OK but tasted very mass produced.
The first time I had lunch in the restaurant I chose the burger. It was a good sized burger served with bacon and mushrooms and salad with a large portion of French fries - not bad for about $5! The service in the hotel restaurant was very good; they brought me complimentary water and were extremely polite.
The second time I had lunch I chose a prawn and rice dish, and was expecting small prawns - instead I got one that was the size of a small lobster! There wasn't much meat on it but the flavour was excellent and the sauce that was served on the side with the rice was very tasty. The meal cost me the equivalent of about £6 which was amazing.
We had dinner at this restaurant on our second night in Siam Reap; it was recommended by our tour guide and was very good. The restaurant is part of a hotel and had a very attractive front entrance with running water and a bamboo curtain. The tables were well spaced out with good china and thick napkins and even the menu looked very appealing. The food was very well presented on square plates: below is some sort of chicken dish that I unfortunately can't remember the name of!
The rice was served on a separate plate. I also decided to try a coconut water, as our tour guide raved about them and their skin hydrating properties. I liked the way it was served, with a straw in a whole coconut, but I didn't particularly like the taste. I also enjoyed a glass of wine with my meal which probably negated the hydrating properties! This was the most expensive meal I had in Cambodia and it still only came to around £9 including drinks.