Morning & Evening Dancing

e2Exercise is one of the best ways for people to have a good health. Of course, everyone wishes to have a healthy life. Cambodians, like elder people and adults try hard to do exercise daily, we see them a lot with dancing exercises in the early morning around 5 AM to 7 AM and in evening from 5 PM to 7 PM.

You can find it everywhere in ex3Phnom Penh wherever it has a garden, parks around the city (like by the Vietnam Friendship monument), at the riverside, and Olympic Stadium. Dancing is very good for losing weight, muscle strength and reduce stress, when we are dancing we also have fun moving with the music and meeting a lot of new people. It is very great workout and very social and fun. Everyone can join in the dancing by paying the trainer 1,000 riel each person and you can dance freely.   If you are newcomer, if you just tell the guide, they will come over and train you how to dance. I hope you will enjoy dancing and having fun with people.

Thoughts on Foreigners

f1I have been living in Cambodia 19 years – all my life. My country is located in mainland South-east Asia, having a border with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the gulf of Thailand. 181,035 kilometers square for me is so small. However, the land is not large like it used to be, I still feel happy to live in my enchanted country. My country is well-known as a country with many beautiful natural and historical places. Those things attract so many foreigners from various continents. Most of them are from Vietnam, China, Korea, Laos, Thailand, U.S.A, Japan, U.K, France, and Australia.

 Although I have been living in this country since I was born, I have never seen number of foreigners that come to Cambodia as many as these past few years. The first time that I met with foreigner was the time that I visited Kompong Som Province which is now named Sihanouk Ville. She was from France. At that time, she saw me and my sisters were learning how to swim, and she came over to us and offered to help teach us how to swim. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable with her since she was a foreigner, but later I started feeling more comfortable after seeing her friendly and kind behaviors.

IMG_3051I think foreigners are kind and friendly. They are willing to help in everything that they think they can. They don’t care much about being judged by the others. They like doing whatever they like. They are not only kind and friendly but also interested in learning everything around them like people, cultures, food and many other things when they are in foreign countries.

How They Dress?2

I love the way they dress. To be honest, T-shirt, scarf, hat, bracelets, jeans/short skirt, sandals or high top look really good on them. From what I think, those things are really comfortable for them as a tourist who likes exploring. Differ from Cambodian people who like wearing elegant clothes with expensive jewelry.

4What they Do?

I find that they like buying souvenirs. Those little things that are sold at the markets like Toul Tom Poung, Phsar Thmey and of course night market at Siem Reap, are so beautiful. Foreigners seem so interested in those tiny little things, even me as a Cambodian also like those kind of things. What is more, I notice that most of them now know a lot about the price in Cambodia. IMG_2882For example, most of tuk tuk drivers likes to gain more profits from foreigners since they think that foreigners don’t know much about the real price for riding a tuk tuk. Let say the price for the riding is only about 2$ for Cambodian but almost $4 to $5 dollar for foreigners. Luckily, most of foreigners now know about this, so I find it’s hard for those drivers to get the money like they used to get from foreigners.

Adventures

Foreigners love freedom. They are curious. They seem to like doing things that Cambodian people rarely do like hiking, diving, and cycling around Phnom Penh city or in Siem Reap. For tIMG_3665hose who enjoy watching the street scene love to ride a cyclo rather than tuk tuk. In fact, I notice that few of them allow a cyclo driver to sit, and they themselves drive the cyclo instead. It is one of the reason why I think foreigners like to experience new things. For Cambodian people, hiking and diving sounds dangerous but for foreigners, it sounds exciting. Foreigners love exploring natural places rather than man-made places. Unlike Cambodian people, they really like going to man-made places like super market and amusement park. About two weeks ago, I went to Siem Reap with my family. I saw many foreigners visited Angkor Wat temple. Most of them are around 20s to 30s. Most of foreigner who pay a visit in Siem Reap, try as much as they can to wake up before the dawn in order to see a beautiful sunrise behind Angkor Wat temple. Watching the sunrise is not the only thing that foreigners love to. I find that they are really in love watching the sunset also. IMG_3173Not only at Bakheng Mountain which is the famous place to enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset in the land of Angkor, but at Sihanouk Ville also. The big difference between them and Cambodian people is that foreigners love to spend every moment in their life doing things that they love to do. IMG_2747For them, exploring new places, tasting local food from various countries, hiking mountains, diving to see many colorful corals and the living things under the sea, cycling along the street, and watching the sunset are the worth experiences for them to do at least once in their lives.

Best Places to Watch Sunset in Phnom Penh

Eclipse Sky Bar
s4People can experience the best view of the beautiful sunset from the lovely rooftop bar, which is located on the rooftop of Phnom Penh Centre. It is known as the most popular and highest sky bar in Phnom Penh. Fresh drink, food, music, the atmosphere up there, and the great view of sunset will relieve our stress from school and work. It is really the great place for those who like experiencing the great evening and night time.

Le Moon Terrace Bar
s5On the rooftop of Amanjaya Pancam Hotel riverside, Le Moon Terrace Bar is also known as the famous one for watching the sunset. This place is not only for those who like watching the sunset, but also for those who like watching the night view of the riverside. People will find themself relaxed with the great atmosphere and a fresh cocktail right next to them.

Chow
s1Another famous rooftop for watching the sunset is Chow. After the sun has set, you can turn around to find another stunning night view of the riverside and the beautiful street along it. Moreover, people can enjoy the view in a tiny pool with a cocktail. On some occasions, this place can get really crowed for sunset. For people who like to see the sunset and the night view of the river, they should try this one.

The Fifth Element
This restaurant and bar is located on the rooftop at La Maison D’Ambre’s Hotel. People won’t only see a beautiful red sun that is set at the west of Phnom Penh city, but they also can see a whole view of the city too. It is the right place for those who like to spend their evening and night time watching the sunset, eating European and Khmer cuisine, and listening to music.s2

What’s The Late Night Noise? Dry Rice Noodle Cart

ca4People are not allow to shout at night because it’s rude and disrespectful to people who are sleeping. So people call out to customers by hitting sticks together and the echo sound is used for selling their noodles. People start selling the noodles at around 9:00 pm to midnight or sometimes later. At night you can notice them because there are two people, one is making noodles at the cart while the other one is finding customers by using the sound of their sticks. People who work at night or eat a late dinner can buy the dry rice noodles that are sold on the street.

Dry Rice Noodles is made into a noodle soup that consists of energy. It’s known in Khmer as “Kouy Teav”. Noodles are made of rice that have been crushed into powder and then remade into noodles. They can be served at breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert. They are several ways the noodles can be prepared: dry noodles, noodles soup with pork, beef, chicken…etc.

Mostly people sell the dry rice noodles on a moving cart or a standing cart along the street. The soup’s ingredients are specific to the owner’s cart – noodle, bowls, chopsticks or spoon, and sauce such as soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup and others.

car4Customers can order small, medium or a large bowls. Small bowls cost about 3500 riel while large bowls about 6000 riel. The sellers usually shout out loud for customer’s attention to their business during morning or afternoon. People like to eat this noodle soup because it is really delicious. I would recommend to try it if you can.

Cambodian Street Kids

Cambodia is a developing country and there are so many people who suffer poverty at the same time. Cambodia suffered a great damage after Pol Pot Regime, which caused most of Cambodian people live a miserable life and in poverty. Still most of Cambodian families have a hard time raising their kids because they have a financial crisis within their family. In Phnom Penh and in the countryside, we can see there are a lot of homeless people who mostly are kids and older people. In fact, each year, Cambodia receives a lot of aids from other countries. Moreover, there are many NGOs who try to help Cambodian children by providing free school, food, and place to stay.

Nowadays, the biggest problem in the Cambodian society is about lack of human resources. Because there are so many kids who decide to drop school and some of them do not have enough money to study. As Cambodia is a poor country, there are a lot of children who do not have a chance to go to school. Most of them end up selling some flowers or bracelets along the road, especially in Phnom Penh; while the others end up working at the restaurants like washing dishes or serving food. There are several factors that lead them to do this.

First, they do not have enough money to pay for the tuition fee. Even in the public schools, kids must pay money to study every day. They are afraid that they do not have enough money to pay for that therefore they decide not to go to school at all. Secondly, their parents do not allow them to study. There are many Cambodian families (mostly poor with low education) that prefer their children to find money to support the family. As a mother and father, why do they do like this to their kids? Why do they prefer to stay at home and let their kids go out and find money to buy food while they are doing nothing at all? In my opinion, I think the reason is that those parents might think that people mostly feel pity when they see a kid sell something along the road and they will end up helping those kids like by buying the flowers or sometime they give more money. I am so shocked to see that those parents just sit under the tree and watch their kids who are 4 or 5 years old stand on the road begging people for money or selling flowers under the hot weather. However, most people want to help those kids by deciding not to buy those flowers or give them money. Therefore, their parents might change their thoughts and stop their kids from doing that. In short, I hope the Cambodian government will come up with a solution to deal with this major problem soon.

Street Clams

Clams are a kind of snack food here in Cambodia. Everyone here likes to eat clams with spices and more so with sausage, but that is more for a meal. cGenerally, we can buy them from sellers who use carts to sell their clams. There are four flavors that can be easily found for street clams – plain (normal) clams, salt clams, spicy-chili clams and spicy-lemon clams. The spicy ones are best.

u clams

Cart sellers sell one can of clams for about 1500 riel. They can be found easily by the markets, like Central Market in Phnom Penh or down big streets. People tend to buy a can or two and bite them open and drop the shells on the street. They should be eaten it when the weather is hot because then the clams’ meat will be cooked. If they are eaten when the clams are still cool or have a strong smell, it will make people have a bad stomach.

Clams are easy to find in the river or tributary here in Cambodia. They are easy to make too. Just buy freshwater clams or catch them from the river and put into boiling water. You can take them out immediately cause clams don’t have blood so it is easy and fast to cook. Then just mix some ingredients like salt, chili or spicy lemon to make them delicious. After that, take them to dry under the sun until it hot enough (about 15 minutes) than you can eat.

clam2 clam4

Kralan – Khmer Sticky Rice in Bamboo

Kralan is a snack that is made from Cambodia sticky rice cooked with coconut milk and soybean in a bamboo tube. Kralan is very popular for Cambodian people as well as for foreigners. We can find it kralan1everywhere in Cambodia, but especially in the province and it is a bit harder to find in Phnom Penh city. Now, there are some sellers who come from the provinces to sell it in the city, but they cost higher than in the provinces. A tube of kralan cost about 2,000 to 4,000 riels, depending on the size. The most delicious kralan comes from the Kratie province and it is hard to get one tube of the sweet snack in Phnom Penh. imageskra Here are the steps on how to make it.  First, we have to have all the ingredients like sticky rice, soy bean, coconut milk, sugar and salt. We have to soak the sticky rice and soybean for 2 hours then wash it with cleaned water. Secondly, take the bamboo tree to cut into pieces at it joints, so the tube has only one way out to put the rice. Then take the tube and clean it with water. The bamboo tree must be the bamboos that grow in village because it has long tubes, contains a lot of water and has white flesh inside the tube. Third, take the sticky rice and soybean and mix together with a little salt and sugar. Next, we have to put it into the tube and stuff it tight. If it is not tight, the kralan will become muddy. Then cover the tube surface with coconut hast or banana leaves – stuff these tight at the top. Last step, we have to take all the tubes that are filled with the sticky rice and ingredients to burn where the coals are spread in a long line.UntitledThere is a shelf in the middle that the bamboo tubes are placed on at both side of the fire. All sides of the tubes must face the fire, so it is well cooked. It takes about 35 to 50 minutes because we cannot use too strong of a fire. After it is well cooked, take it to be cooled and then remove the outer layer of the tubes, which were burned. images-12 Finally, the Kralan is done and ready to eat! 

How to Order Food at the Sorya Mall Food Court

hSometimes If we are let out early from class for lunch and don’t know where to go we go to a food court. People should try the Sorya Mall food court – it’s the place I’d like to recommend. The price is suitable 8,000 to 16,000 riel (2-4$) and there are a lot of tables and chairs to choose to sit, though sometimes it can get crowded. There are all kinds of Food-court-on-4th-floor-at-Sorya-Shopping-Center-in-Phnom-Penh-Cambodia foods that are waiting for people to grab it. There is Thai food, Vietnamese food, Chinese food, Korean food, and food from Italy. How to get the food is by first deciding what you want after taking a look around and then take your money to the counter – across from the food stalls – and change it with one of the cards. For example I would change my money 20,000 riel (5 dollars) to get a card that has 5 dollars on it. Then you can take the card and purchase all kind of food and soft drinks up at the food counters. By using a card it makes it easy for people not to use the same hand to grab money and food at the same time.g After you are done eating, left over money on the card can be retrieved by returning the card to the counter. But don’t forget about desserts. The desserts are also what should not be missed – like sweet taro and banana are famous desserts here in Cambodia, among many others. If you haven’t tasted them you should go now.

I recommend to the people in the city to try the food up there in Sorya Mall, its good, fast, and easy to get.

Untitled

Grilled Bananas

Grilled bananas are bananas you take from a farm and grill using wood charcoal. images-3It tastes a little salty, as all the sweetness is gone – it is a dried out banana. They mostly sell them at huts or at the markets, but some people sell the grilled bananas by bike or moto carts.  At a cart, the grilled bananas cost 1000 riel (about 25 cents usd) for five bananas. The grilled bananas will not affect your health if you eat a lot of them. They are easy to buy every where in Phnom Penh. The other things you see on the grill are potatoes. They cost 500 riel each. The potatoes are smashed and then packed back together in a circle and grilled, they taste slightly sweet, but not traditional sweet. In short Cambodians like grilled banana so much, but especially me – I eat them before and during class everyday ji

When Asking for a Discount…

I was born into a traditional family. My father works at one of the ministries and my mother is a seller at Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung Market). I was at the market when I was little; marketI would say my second home is in the shop. I helped my mom at the shop since I was a small kid, until I became an adult. My mom’s shop is smaller than others and we sell all kinds of handmade jewelry. Right now, I want to share with you, the best things that tourists and buyers say to ask for a discount. As a buyer, they not only want the best service and quality, but also want the best price, which is a discounted price. I was faced with this situation many times since I was young, and it still happens all the time between sellers and buyers. At my mom’s shop we mostly have more tourist customers. jewleryIf they walk-in and looking for a gift for their relatives in the morning almost 70% do not ask or say: “we are your first customer, so you should give us the good price.” or “We will bring you more customers and our tour-team to buy from you lots because your shop gives us the good price.” They should say this. However, in market there is not only one kind of customer, it also has customers who tell seller that they live in Cambodia three or four years (expats) so they know clearly about the price. In fact, this it is the hints to let seller know and will give them a discount and not cut them the high price. The last types of customers are those who have a friend who usually comes to purchase at shop regularly. They just mention their friend’s name and the seller will definitely give them a good price when seller knows who they are. So when you come to visit my shop and other shops in the markets – don’t forget to use these tips to ask for a discount. I’m sure I will give the best price ever that no other shop could give, just need to ask nicely.