Ping Ping wheels us back towards town and takes a detour just outside the main area. We turn down a road and it’s lined with street-side vendors selling all manor of things like a traditional Asian night market. The sun still hasn’t set and the colors of the market were just starting to pop in the oncoming dusk.
We spot some food that catches our eye and we get Ping Ping to pull over. They’re making some sort of yellow pancake looking thing and stuffing it with vegetables. Looks pretty good. Oh and what are those balls over there, they look good too. Ohhh, and are those the fetus eggs we’ve heard about, “Dude, we gotta try those.” And so we pull up to the vendor and inquire about all the goodies.
This leads to us sitting under a little tent on mini stools with a bunch of Cambodian locals eating vendor snacks. We were the only white people at the whole market, clarifying Ping’s description as ‘Cambodian only night market’.
The fried balls stuffed with vegetables were incredibly good. They were 10 for a dollar. The eggs weren’t the ‘fetus eggs’ we’d heard about, but rather were cracked and cooked still in their shell like a hard boiled egg with pepper and spices. Both of these were amazing. The yellow pancake thing was stuffed with mystery meat so MacKay and I refrained, but Q and Drisdelle ripped pieces off and added vegetables from a massive platter.
After the snack-out Ping took us the length of the market to the other side where there were carnival type rides. For the most part these were all dilapidated, shoddy metal disaster traps with neon lights clinging to the sides. “I wouldn’t put my kid on that. Well maybe a kid I didn’t want.” There were the usual assortment of carnival games as well but no one seemed to be playing. Everything looked pretty sketchy really.
Then we hit the BBQ strip and man did it look good. Ping Ping pulls over again and we stroll up to one to take a look. Lots and lots of fish, but also frogs legs, ribs, snake, pigeon, chicken hearts, full splayed chicken. Num nummy. “Frog legs, chicken guts and a pigeon? What do you think?” Yep sounds good to me. We get some cash out, but then we see the girl cooking at the BBQ dip a basting brush in some sauce and coat the BBQ meats with it. Oh no. MacKay goes up to ask with his little paper that translates “I’ve got a fish allergy” into several languages. Yep, it’s fish oil. Everything on the BBQ is dosed in it. Well, that’s unfortunate.
Now that we’re all hungry we get Ping to take us back to Onederz so we can scout out some food. He takes us passed a local soccer game that’s just getting going and then we start to run out of gas. Haha, well I guess we had gone outside the normal circuit for this little tuk tuk. We stop by a tuk tuk gas stop. This is basically a stand where they sell gas in 60 ounce liquor bottles on the side of the road. Ping fills the tuk tuk with Jose Cuervo Premium. We give him the dollar it costs to buy the gas. He’s beside himself, “Really?”, “Yes yes of course.” Wow, the value of a dollar in this part of the world. Every little bit counts.
Back at Onederz Ping is asking if we use WhatsApp or Line. He wants to be our personal tuk tuk driver while we’re here. He explains that the hostel will take part of the money for these types of things. He shows us his wife and 2 kids. We get it, he could obviously use the money, and there are a ton of tuk tuk drivers here always vying for your attention. Can’t be easy. Queenie becomes facebook friends with Ping Ping so we can order up a tuk tuk any time while we’re here.
We take a meander about Siem Reap that leads us through the night market and down party-crazed Pub Street. Through there and across the street and the river again and we’re ready for a wander cocktail. We spot a tall building called Temple that looks like it’ll suit our needs and head up to the sky lounge.
Upstairs is a large open area surrounding a fountain with bean bag chairs. We plunk down next to a couple of mega drunk Cambodian dudes who are shirtless and dancing to ‘Ice Ice baby’. We peruse the menu and stumble upon something so stupid we just have to get it. It’s called the Red Hospital Set. It’s basically a punch bowl filled with ice and drink and 5 syringes. You use the syringes to suck up the concoction in the punch bowl and pour it into yourself. These just tasted like sugar water.
Hmmmm this wasn’t really doing it for us. After the drunk Cambodian dudes came up to our table and started flicking things and the staff had to pull them away we felt it was time to skidattle.
Back across the river we aimlessly wander down pub street again. We spot some snakes on a stick. A group of older white folk see us get 4 of these and immediately tear into the heads of the snakes, “Ewwwwwww”. We were unphased. We’d eaten platters of bugs just yesterday. But there was something a little off. It tasted fishy. In my experience snake just tastes fishy anyways, but this was bonus extra fishy. So MacKay and I look at each other with the same question in our eyes and just start spitting it back out into our hands. This causes the once curious crowd around the vendor to quickly dissipate. Sorry dude.
Ok it was time for something significant to eat. We find a spot called Yellow Mango. It looks nothing like Green Mango but our theory is that anything with the word Mango in it is gonna be good. This place was ok.
We go upstairs to a balcony that overlooks the river and the street by Pub Street. Seems slightly upscale but the prices still have everything on the menu under 10 bucks. We get a round of drinks and some food. They bring over some fans and they do wonders with the temp. Just a constant sweaty mess the whole time we’re here.
Siem Reap is a cool town. It kind of has a village vibe to it in this area. Pub Street is totally bonkers for night life and there are a ton of niche little restaurants, pubs, and bars to suit whatever you’re looking for. Everything is insanely cheap and the people are gracious and hospitable. It’s also right beside the largest religious monument on the planet so you can’t really ask for much else.
We finish up dinner and head back across town to Onederz. Have to hit the hay early tonight so we can get up at 4am for the sunrise tour of Angkor Wat!