– DECEMBER 02-11, 2015
We have enjoyed the cooking classes we participated in back in Vietnam & Thailand, so we decided to give Cambodia a shot as well. This cooking school instructed us to just show up at a restaurant at 1pm and they would slot us into a group. That seemed strange since the other two classes would inform us if they had open slots to fill…but this group just said “show up and we’ll make it work“.
We arrived at 12:50pm and the server gave us a menu and said to pick one starter and one entrée for the class. The other schools we used gave us multiple dish options, so this was a bit of an initial let down. The choices were very limited, so we chose spring rolls and amok curry. The desert option had to be agreed upon by everyone (aka we only made one dessert), so the group agreed to make the pumpkin custard option. The organizer pushed hard for us to make the Cambodia style fried bananas, but we all agreed to stay with the pumpkin custard. In the end she decided to make both desserts for our group.
We then walked across the street to the old market and had a brief explanation on the various ingredients, but this discussion was not geared towards what we were cooking but rather it was geared towards what we could come back and buy from the vendors. In a cooking school I want to learn about the various types of basil and why we choose a specific one for our dish, not which plate set we can buy for $5 us funds. Just my opinion.
After shopping at the market (and we only bought a few ingredients, since the school said they had stuff there already in stock) we went to the cooking school on the second floor of the building. Here we had six total people taking the class today and our prep stations were all ready for us when we arrived.
When we finished cooking our dishes we then moved them to the main floor restaurant and proceeded to eat our creations. This experience would rank as the third best cooking school out of the three we have done thus far. Not a bad experience, but not anything memorable (unlike the Vietnam class which was amazing).
The streets of Siem Reap have some wonderful and interesting people who are warm and welcoming to the toutists.
While walking downtown in the area of the old market ad pub street, you find yourself coming across Preah Prohm Rath – Siem Reap’s town centre Pagoda. There are many pagodas in Siem Reap, but this one is special because of its location and that it is an active monastery with many monks.
The monastery was founded in the late 1400’s. It was dedicated to a revered 13th century monk (Ang Chang-han Hoy) and a rich family in the area (Ta Pum and Yeay Rath). It was built to spread the Dharma or teaching of Buddha and also to venerate the ancestors of the family. Plus it offered somewhere for the monks of Siem Reap to stay, as previously there wasn’t anywhere. The King (Ang Chan) came to the temple to pray for Victory against his rivals. When he achieved this, the temple was named Ta Pum Yeah Rath. It got its present name (Preah Prom Rath) in the 1940s.
Inside is a vast open hall with a huge seated Buddha at one end. Moving around behind the statue, you find an enormous reclining Buddha laying down in a pit at the back. It is said to be so heavy that it’s sinking into the ground. The place had some monk chanting which cut away the street noise from outside this facility. You can let your mind get away from the hustle and bustle of the street activity.
Next up we have multiple days planned for visiting the many temples in the Angkor heritage park.
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.