Siem Reap and the plate that crawled.
We got to the hotel no problem, just a very persistent tuk tuk driver who wouldn’t take no for an answer! He wanted to take us to the temples for sunrise, and in hindsight that would have been the better option.
It was 5:30am, the hotel room wouldn’t be ready till 1pm and we were cream crackered. So we sat in the lobby and tried to get some sleep. I couldn’t sleep and left to explore Siem Reap in the early hours, I had googled a few places for breakfast nearby, thinking I could treat myself.
After wandering down a dodgy clay road with some stray dogs and a couple of bikes zipping past I found the river. It’s beautiful and has bridges crossing it every few hundred metres, plus a huge waterwheel.
Eventually I spotted the sister srey cafe, a big recommendation online and it didn’t disappoint! They are slightly more expensive than previous places but we realised it’s the same everywhere in Siem Reap. I had a rejuvenating juice containing Apple, carrot, and ginger plus bacon and scrambled egg with a pot of home made pesto. It was delicious and after so many hotel buffet breakfasts a welcome change.
The menu even had useful phrases to learn. I got back to the hotel just as Leia and Liam were ready for breakfast, so I took them back to the same cafe where they had avocado on toast and bacon with eggs. They enjoyed it just as much as me! With breakfast sorted we went back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool while we waited for our room. After falling asleep Liam woke us up with the room ready and looking good for our 5 day stay, we couldn’t wait for a shower so jumped in and washed the last days worth of grime off.
After a quick rest I was ready to hit the town but Leia and Liam needed more rest, so I went off to scout the surroundings. As you get closer to the centre it gets more and more tourist filled, no wonder with the temples so close.
I ended up in a dodgy mexican place where I ordered a well needed 50c beer and fresh spring rolls. I chilled out there for a while writing some of this blog and watching the world go by. A couple of beers later and Leia came to meet me, Liam was having some problems so it was just the two of us out for the evening.
We decided to go to bugs cafe! A French owned restaurant which only serves….Bugs! It’s an entry point to eating things like crickets, larvae, ants and spiders. After chatting to the owner we lumped for the tasting platter for two.
We got a pitcher of beer to help wash it down and went for the tarantula donut, not wimping out with the samosa. It soon arrived and looked delicious and disgusting all in one.
We got straight stuck in and went for the donut, thinking we’d leave the spring rolls till the end. The spider legs were actually really good, dipped in some sauce, the body had a more distinctive taste that was unrecognisable to my buds! I wasn’t sure about it, we had the crickets and larvae next, med style. These were excellent, and we enjoyed them a lot, soon forgetting what we were eating. The red ant feuillettes was up next, good but the ants in it were just there for effect.
We now just had the skewer with the spider, water bug, and cricket left before we got the treat of ant spring rolls! The spider went down easier than the first, dunked in mayo and mango chutney the whole skewer was good, as warned the waterbug was quite chewy.
The spring rolls were delicious and filled with ants, the dipping sauce really good. All in all we really enjoyed the meal, it’s hard to get over what you’re putting in your mouth but when it tastes good you start not to care. I wish we had gone back to try the burgers and desserts! Maybe one day.
After this we strolled down past a lovely night market and stopped at a bar doing three for two cocktails, I got a blue margarita and Leia got a gin with fresh lime and tonic, we got a negroni as the bonus but it was a little too strong!
With a stride in our step we were ready to try our hand at bartering, so we went into the bright lights of the markets and Leia scored herself with some converse for $7 less than asking price!
Trainers in hand we continued to walk back down towards the hotel but stopped off at X bar, a typical backpacker place with pool, table football, and an ageing band playing some good tunes. There was a great view of pub street here, the party street of Siem Reap.
We had a few games of table football and a jug of beer, even losing badly to Tess from America and Paul from the Netherlands. It was getting late and we were templing early the next day so we went back to hotel to catch up on our sleep.