Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Pho lunchImage by °Florian via Flickr
If you are going to travel in Asia, I strongly reccomend that you cast aside your silly fears and plunge in to the gastronomic treasure trove of cheap eats that abound.

There are only three rules:
  • Be open and adventurous
  • Follow the locals
  • The hotel dining room should only be used for breakfast, only because it represents the closest access to coffee
Throw away all pretensions of dining and you will be richly rewarded. If you are prepared to crouch on a miniscule stool on a sidewalk blessings will rain upon you from the culinary gods above. Not only will you swoon at the cavalcade of flavour, you will save a great deal of money and be given unteachable insights into the local culture.

From a bowl of Tom Yam soup consumed inches from Bangkok traffic, to stellar Khmer barbecue eaten as hookers try to sell me their wares, to a bowl of Vietnamese Pho served in the wee smalls of a drunken evening, the dirt cheap gastronomic riches abound with nary a tablecloth in sight.

Recipes perfected through the centuries and served with a pride that MacDonalds and its mass produced bretheren could never comprehend are ubiquitous. And don't even get me started on the orgasmic delicacy that is Vietnamese iced coffee.

I must confess however that I did break form one evening in Phnom Penh and went for a gnosh at The Foreign Correspondants Club. The very name conjures images of late seventies journalists rushing to get that last dispatch out to the telex as Pol Pot's henchmen come marching down the road. The thing is however, that the joint has only been open for about ten years. The branding was brilliant enough to fool a New York times travel writer, causing a retraction to be subsequently printed. Nonetheless, the gorgeous French Colonial building overlooking the river provided a great ambience while I supped on some Osso Buco.

Gotta run, I'm feeling a little peckish.