Dinner most unique
Out to dinner in Phnom Phen with Don and Linda–the Bandlers chose to stay on board the ship. The tour line offered a sheet listing some good restaurants here, and we chose Romdeng because it sounded interesting.
It turned out to be more than interesting, it was fascinating, different, outre and great.
Romdeng is run by an organization dedicated to helping kids get off the street. They train young people for a career in the food industry, and run the restaurant as both a money making operation and a training facility.
We took a pair of tuk-tuks for the $4 ride to the place. In theory, a tuk-tuk will seat 4 people, but I think that’s four Cambodians; Don and I by ourselves are the size of 5.5 Cambodians, add in Gail and Linda and the little 125 cc Honda would be woefully overstressed.
The menu is quite a few pages long, and we were studying it intently when we came across this:
Prices were low; we ordered many dishes. The green papaya salad was great, the spring rolls were OK, then this hit the table:
Never being one to back down from a challenge, I reached out, grabbed a leg and pulled, then munched down on it. Crispy, crunchy, not very tasty. I swallowed hard and passed the test.
Then Don, then Linda, then Gail. We tried legs, nobody had the nerve to try the big, bulbous body. As quickly as we could, we sent the plate away. But we had done it–ordered and tried tarantula. I can honestly say it was the best tarantula I ever had, and likely the best tarantula I ever will have.
That wasn’t all, though. We found another great dish on the menu:
Now, Gail is famous for eating ants–she’ll lick a finger and pick up one trailing across the table or counter and just smack it down. They don’t have any taste and it astounds the grandkids. But the tiny black ants in Lafayette are not quite the same as Cambodian Red Tree Ants.
The dish arrived, we all had some. A spicy beef stir fry, nothing special. Gail decided to look through it to see if there were indeed any ants.
We loved our dinner, all the more so because it was so different. We were proud of ourselves for trying something really, really different. What’s the point of travel if you only want things to be just like they are at home?
Catching a couple of tuk-tuks, we headed back to the ship. Phnom Phen is a very lively, vibrant place, the weather was perfect and the ride was a riot.
Back on the boat, some local kids were dancing. We watched for a while, then Gail went to read herself to sleep and I couldn’t wait to write this.
Tomorrow, the serious part of the trip–we visit the killing fields and the prison. It can’t all be beer and skittles.