Siem Reap is a little city North of Cambodia that relies very heavily on tourism. Well-known for its magnificent Angkor Temples and night life at Pub Street, I found that Siem Reap had a lot more to offer than just that especially for foodies like me.The Khmer cuisine by itself is a little lacklustre due to the moderate use of spices and seasoning. Being sandwiched by Thailand and Vietnam, i.e two of the greatest countries for foodies does not help either.
But look a little deeper and you will realise that there are several places in town that pay a little more attention detail and infuses techniques not known to traditional Khmer cooks to create a sensory pleasing journey.
Asia’s 50th best restaurant is helmed by Joannes Riviere who seeks to re-creates the Khmer cuisine with a touch of French. The flavours throughout the meal were very crisp. The finish was clean and there were not lingering/overpowering flavours from the usual suspects of fine dining.
Mie Cafe was on my itinerary as an option, and not an essential until I dined at the restaurant. From the zesty salad course to the skimpy dish of grilled prawn with butter and the rich chocolate fondant at the end, it was just heaven on earth for Mie.
Course 1; Carpaccio of snake head fish with Cambodian spices, grapefruit and hazelnut oil dressing served with poached egg tempura at Mie Cafe. They say first impressions are the most lasting.
A social enterprise aimed at helping the vulnerable by teaching them an important life skill. As Haven's tagline suggests, “where helping taste good”. That is because for most parts of the meal, it really was!
The menu looked suspiciously Thai but the food from these two regions are fairly intertwined making it hard to tell them apart without tasting. While I could not find the Khmer inspiration in the dishes here, it was safe to say that Touich Restaurant Bar presented to me some very well-executed dishes that regarded the Thai cuisine in the most respectable manner. That is, by presenting it with quality and authenticity.