Director Charlie Hopkinson enjoys a somewhat unusual culinary experience in Cambodia.
"It was on arrival in Phnom Penh that I first witnessed the Cambodians love of eating creepy crawlies. This is a bizarre culinary tradition which really appeals to me. One of the things I love about travelling at this level is trying out as much local food as possible - and you don't get much more grassroots than locusts or tarantulas. Channa, our guide, made the most of this for our group and we seemed to feast on local delicacies wherever we went. One day we might be eating a four course Cambodian lunch in a local school, the next frying fish on a boat, another day would dawn with a cup of strong coffee laced with sweet condensed milk and the view of the sun rising over Angkor Wat and another finish with a full scale feast on the banks of the Mekong in a restaurant run by and for the street kids of Phnom Penh.
Cambodia is awash with fruit and you must try as much as possible. We visited many of the local markets over the seven days of our stay and these offer the more imaginative traveller a great feel for Cambodia. My personal favourite was in the sleepy little town of Battambang. Here no one hassles the visitor and at every fruit stall someone wanted us to try a grape, a kumquat or a slice of papaya. That was the joy of this itinerary; yes we saw the big names but we also visited a couple of ordinary Cambodian towns. Some in our group wondered why Battambang was on the itinerary and Channa replied that it was a charming little town that few tourists visit and so was a good reflection of Cambodian life.
Battambang is in a wealthy agricultural province and has an air of relaxed prosperity which was good to see this in this impoverished country. Cambodia has strong business ties with its rich neighbour Vietnam and one wonders just how much influence Vietnamese businesses have on a nation which is still inextricably linked with the legacy of Pol Pot."
Onto the Killing Fields.......
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