Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Brunch in the shadows of gods.

For our day in Angkor, we scheduled sunrise in Angkor Thom. We scaled the crumbling steps of the Bayon as the first breath of pale-indigo sunlight drifted over the forest. We’d planned ahead, and as we watched the giant stone faces brighten in the morning light, we had a breakfast of Earl Grey muffins and slices of banana bread that we’d purchased at a café in Siem Reap the night before.

By the time we finished exploring some of Angkor Thom’s more overgrown temples several hours later, the muffins were starting to feel a little insufficient. We scanned the open dirt centre for food, not expecting to find much other than touristy Khmer food stands. Thankfully, we spotted a woman selling one of my favorite Indochine foods, baguette sandwiches. While Bordeaux waited for our order, I picked out a ripe mango from a bicycle fruit shop.

With our brunch in hand, we found a shaded spot among a ruined wall. A stone face smiled up at us, it’s eyes worn away with age and its jaw trimmed with moss. The sandwich was just what I had been craving. The crusty baguette had a nice crunch that complemented the soft filling inside. Compared to the sandwiches I’d enjoyed recently in Vietnam, this one was less salty, and quite a bit sweeter. Rather than a combination of pate and cold cuts, it had chunks of fatty pork and a dressing of sweet chili sauce. In place of cilantro, it had strips of green papaya, which added a nice crispness. The mango too was steller- so soft that it slid off the bamboo skewer as we pierced it, so rich and melting that it tasted like ice cream. It was the perfect brunch for Angkor; as exotic and engaging as the ruined city itself.

1 comment:

michelle said...

Will be there in ten days and counting..... cannot wait to see the temples and enjoy the food. Thanks for the terrific sneak peak!