The great thing about living at the volunteer house is that all meals are provided. Three meals a day, seven days a week.
Two classic Cambodian meal delicacies to be enjoyed are the loklak and the fish amok. Loklak is a beef dish served over lettuce. Apparently it originated in Vietnam, created by a French chef, and somehow made it’s way over here. The amok is a dish where a curry is steamed through banana leaves and served as soup. The fish is usually so tender it falls apart. Both dishes are delicious and come with rice!
A house meeting established that for each volunteer, the volunteer house gets $10USD to provide food. Consequently, amok and loklak never make it on the menu.
At the Volunteer House, breakfast usually consists of toast and bananas from the fruit bowl. But I’ve been getting plain rice and egg (usually boiled whole or made into an omelette).
The packed lunch is the same every day. Plain rice, with a chicken wing and a small packet of soy sauce.
Dinner usually consists of a vegetable dish (carrots and potatoes) sometimes in broth, meat and beans, sometimes a cooked whole fish and plain rice. Occasionally there is fried rice, which is a real treat. Once, there was a banana stewed in coconut milk for dessert which was delicious. Lunch is generally the same as dinner (when not packed).
When I was home with an upset stomach, I was kindly given gentle foods for my stomach. ‘Rice porridge’. It was very salty, and was like rice soup with droplets of soy sauce sprinkled over it.
Rice. Three meals a day. Seven days a week.
I’m four weeks in and every time I go out, I just can’t do it. I can’t do any more rice. No more!! And instead of getting the delightfully spicy loklak, or the deliciously tender fish amok I get fries. Or a crepe, or anything I can sink my teeth into. Decadently junky western food. I should feel so ashamed. But I don’t, I’m consumed by food joy.
And every now and then, fresh mangoes appear in the fruit bowl, cutting through the haze of rice and all is well…
A particularly pretty looking packed lunch.
Rice porridge for the unwell.
Breakfast of fried eggs and rice.
Another breakfast of egg and rice.
The fruit bowl. Bananas keep me sane.
A dinner selection – L-R Deep fried fish, rice, pumpkin soup and 2 minute noodles with bok choy