We grew up eating rice (bai) with every meal.  Mom’s fried rice was a treat, and her noodle soup weekends were feasts!  Rice & steak, rice & pork chops, rice & fish (with mangoes and fish sauce), fried rice & pork chops (Dad’s breakfast specialty!), rice soup & Chinese sausages, etc…this list goes on and on.

No wonder the food in Cambodia was so amazingly, deliciously comforting to me.

I couldn’t get enough of the Phnom Penh style noodles at Seng Lipp restaurant (Granny’s favorite noodle shop in the city)!

I am so in love with green noodle soup that I devoured my bowl of it at this roadside stand in 1 minute flat (50 cents a bowl ~ I should have had seconds…or thirds!)

Check this out:

It’s a mobile rice warmer.  Actually, just a giant thermos shaped cooler that Khmer use to tote rice around while keeping it warm (instead of throwing beer or ice in like we would here in the states).  Smart, huh?

Mom’s sister, my Aunt Mala, makes these amazing beef sticks (saich-koh ah’ng) flavored with garlic, lemongrass, salt, black pepper, sugar and some other awesomeness skewered and cooked over a charcoal fire pit.

Mmmmmm.  Thank goodness you can’t see me, I’m practically salivating over the memory.

Fresh fruit is a big part of every meal.

Mangoes (svai), ripe & barely ripe dipped in chili salt (picked from the family trees) ~ I’ve turned Joel onto the barely ripe apple mangoes.

The cutest little pineapples (m’noa-ah), so sweet they taste like their trees were watered with honey, peeled and cut while you wait.  Bagged, skewered and served with a side of chili salt.

Kulen, or lychee fruit, sold by the kilo at Phnom Kulen (Lychee Mountain).  Just peel the red skin back to reveal a pearly white cotton ball sized fruit.

Coconut juice (dteuk doang) for 25 cents, or fresh from my Auntie’s backyard (which is on the land that Dad grew up on).

Machete your way to the refreshing juice, then scrape out the young coconut meat for a little snack.

Beef cubes (bo luc lac, which is actually Vietnamese pronunciation, but that’s what we called it growing up), cooked with whole Kampot green peppercorns, served with a side of rice.

Mom makes the best, but Paper Tiger on Pub Street came a close 2nd.

Prawns and rock lobsters cooked up on the beach, dipped in lime juice and (you guessed it!) eaten with rice.

I need to stop!  I’m making myself hungry.  Not for anything I can cook well here in Khmer (pronounced: Kh-mai) tradition, but for the mouthwatering meals mom and dad make, the local Khmer favorites the Aunties spoiled us with, the delicious foods that remind me where I come from.

chum reap leah (good bye) for now ~ I have to go to bed before I raid the fridge and make myself a midnight snack!