Sugar-cane juice may be the ideal drink for a scorching Cambodian day. Served in frosty mugs or plastic-bags, the pale golden liquid has a refreshingly citric sweetness. Though it's available throughout much of Southeast Asia, I'd never seen as many sugar-cane juice stands as I encountered in Cambodia. It seemed that every street, market, and noodle-shop had its own sugar-cane grinder at work. So in the interest of doing as the locals do, I ordered a bag.
The vendor grabbed some stalks of sugar-cane that were chilling in water, and placed them in his grinder. Leaning his whole body into the wheel, he turned them through one, two, three times. He threw some of the mushy pulp into the bottom of a plastic bag, and then poured in the lemon-yellow juice. Dipping a straw in, I took a sip. It was not as sweet as I expected, but nicely tart. And it certainly took the edge off the midday heat.