To Eat or not to Eat; Halal is the question
The challenge of travelling overseas especially to a country with Muslims as a minority is in finding a HALAL yet LOCAL cuisine. Its no surprise then that in catering for muslim tourists , we see Halal restaurants sprouting like mushrooms although at times a bit disappointing as they serve either Malaysian or Indian food.
I don’t want that. I want to taste the exotic, Halal Cambodian food. Meaning the meat is slaughtered in accordance to syarak and the dish is not flavoured with alcohol and such.
There were times when we had no choice but to eat at Malaysian restaurants but still, the trip was worthwhile as we still get to experience the local dishes.
Breakfast at Royal Mekong Boutique Hotel
Unlike Malaysia where one can start having breakfast at 4AM in the nearest Mamak stall, things does not run on the same vein here. Which explains why Malaysians are overweight/obese to a certain extent. They just eat whenever and whatever time they feel like.
We had the ‘safe options’ – Harmless coffee, scramble eggs with toast and seafood noodles. Like, for 2 days in a row throughout our stay at the hotel.
Both Mr Husband and I studied in countries where Halal food is scarce thus are quite ‘open’ to observing certain religious practices. Therefore while some Muslims have a strict NO-NO against eating in a non Muslim premise, we were quite happy to indulge in our meals as long as we are confident that the providers do not spray pig fat on our toast or add bourbon in our scramble eggs and serve sake instead of coffee. Ha ha ha.
Ah-Man Halal Restaurant
Food was OK. We had takeout from this place the moment we arrived and had another meal her for dinner too. No Khmer options. Just Malaysian food. bosan. However, we were starving and baby kept screaming for his drink. So, we caved in. Mr Husband insisted that his food was still exotic : Black Mushroom Noodle. I ordered the common Roti Telur. Not even worth a picture, he says.
Its as though the owner is out of ideas to name this joint. At least they had a tinge of Khmer to their menu. I honestly enjoyed my Khmer beef dish. It has a citrus taste to it but palatable. Mr Husband had the tomato rice with Lock Lack beef. Baby fed from us like parasites and get to eat them all. They were not spicy hence baby loved it.
This was another Malaysian restaurant but at least it serves both Malaysian and Cambodian dishes. We had Lock Lack Rice, Tonle Sap Clear fish soup with steamed rice and as for drinks : Soda Gembira which literally means Happy Soda. Even the owner was asking if we felt happier after drinking the soda.
Bopha Phnom Penh – Titanic Restaurant
Here’s a tip. Scroll through the Muslim trip packages and see which restaurants they tend to bring their clients to. In Phnom Penh, we dont have the Jakim Halal logo and to be honest, these so called Halal eateries arent 100% halal as they too offer alcoholic drinks at the bar to cater for non muslim tourists. Its the same for Victoria Station or TGI Fridays in Malaysia but we still see a huge amount of Muslims eating at those places for they go there for the meat, not the alcohol.
So we were excited to find this pretty place which is also children friendly. The atmosphere was wonderful beside the river and it didnt take us long to choose our lunch from the menu. We chose the Cambodian meal set and boy, it was not disappointing. The portion huge though that we regretted ordering 2 sets instead of one.
In the set there was
Appetizer : Khmer beef salad
Main Course : Jasmine steamed rice and amok fish
Dessert : Crunchy spring rolls with banana filling and sira
Drinks : Angkor Wat Sunrise & Chocolate Milkshake
Bon Bon French Ice Cream
Price Range : $1 – $12
An odd place to choose maybe but we have a little boy who loves ice cream. So its only natural that we go to a place not available in Malaysia hence Bon BOn. We had 3 scoops of ice cream for $2.95 which isn’t bad. Thank God baby did not demand for a second bowl of ice cream. Or we’d have to drag him away by the feet – kidding!
This is not a restaurant – just a convenience store. Something like 7-Eleven where we get our supplies of orange juice for morning brekkie in the room and snacks.
A side note;
Dont forget to taste their sugar cane mixed with lemongrass drink. Available on the streets I suppose. We got ours during a haggling session at the Russian market. We were so thirsty that we just stopped a lady selling those walking by the shops and bought the drink there and then.
We had wanted to taste the so called famous Cap beruang Coffee and colourful corn but couldn’t find any. Perhaps next time when we consider going to Angkor Watt.