Welcome to Cambodia, a land filled with bicycles, green rice paddies and unforgettable Khmer smiles.
My foodie pilgrimage on this leg of my South East Asia tour was to the coastal town of Kep, famous for its crab.
First we stopped to get a shot of the town's stone crab statue. Cambodians seem to be keen on painted cement sculptures. In the nearby town of Kampot, a monumental Jackfruit statue (one of the area's favourite local fruits) was in mid-construction but yet to be painted.
We then drove down to the long strip of beach shacks for our lunch. We chose Kimly restaurant, recommended to us by a local, but I'm guessing most of the restaurants would have turned out a pretty fresh meal seeing as we ate literally on top of the water.
As I was reading the menu, a young boy waded into the sea in front of the restaurant to inspect his crab boxes and see if he'd already got his catch of the day.
We ordered a plate of 'crab with local spices' and were served up a humungous portion of bright orange crab with a side order of rice. This cost us a mere nine dollars and was more than enough for two hungry people.
The crab was cooked with a creamy coconut based spicy sauce with chilli, green peppers and fresh green buds of local Kampot pepper - Cambodia's first product to be given a protected geographical indication.
If you are ever in the area, pair your lunch with a visit to one of the local pepper plantantions. Bicycle and moped hire or taxis can be organised at any guesthouse.
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