I was a little apprehensive to go to Cambodia, as I know that in many south east Asian countries majority if not all their meals are meat. Surely enough, there was nothing vegan on the Air Asia flights so might have secretly snuck in some of my own snacks. The airports in Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Phnem also had just about zero options for me to eat. My mood further soured as on the Taxi ride to Sinoukville, I saw rows and rows of hanging flesh along the sides of the road. The island oh Koh Rong though, had probably the most delicious vegan meals I have ever tasted in my life.
(Of course they might have used some msg or preservatives with animal derivatives, but considering the language barrier I was happy enough as long as I had no visible meat or dairy in my meals)
Thai Place and White Pearl Beach had skilled chefs who very quickly caught on that whatever I ordered would be “vegetable”. Stir fries with cashew nuts were the best in the world, especially since the whole island had cashew trees so you knew you were getting very fresh produce. Have a peek at how cashew nuts grow and how you can eat them here! Ginger stir fry, sweet and sour, yellow curry, red curry and peanut massoman curry were all winners! So while these restaurants and their scrumptious meals made up most of my diet in the three weeks on Koh Rong, I wanted to show what I would eat on a typical day on the beach.
Mornings would start early, by 7:30am I would have already gone for a swim and was sniffing around the make shift kitchen for some food. I would usually settle for some oat porridge mixed with fresh fruit. The flesh of the fresh fruit of bananas, mangoes and pineapple was always so sweet and delicious I was excited to eat as much as I could every day. Imagine that, a pine apple that does not burn your whole face off if you try and eat it all in one sitting. The breakfast would always be paired with some water and the view of the beach. Khmer coffee is also quite good, so once I managed to source some soy milk I was enjoying small amounts of caffeine. (Hey! I am on holiday and don’t touch coffee ever)
After whatever the morning held (usually a dive), such as the clean up dive or moving some of the debris from the sunken catamaran, I became peckish. Luckily, there is an abundance of cashew nut fruit around so I could always bite into one for a revitalizing juice. Everyone asks me what they taste like. My best attempt at a description is a appley-peary taste with a nut like after taste. It kind of leaves a woody feeling in your mouth that not everyone is into. I thought they were fantastic.
Lunch Time! While unfortunately getting lunch is quite the expedition on Koh Rong : You either wade across a river to White Pearl Beach where the food is delicious and quick, or you wait over an hour at the thai restaurant. If you have the time, that is worth it as any stir fry there could have been sent down from the heavens. That is what I had this particular day, a ginger stir fry with fantastic mushrooms. (That I had to check several times were not chicken)
For dinner, we decided to attempt to cook something instead of going to one of the restaurants. I cut up all the vegetables I could find and decided to attempt to make a stir fry. I was actually shooed away from cooking the rice by a local because I was clearly making a fool out of myself. I made some guacamole to go with the food. Honestly, it turned out quite disappointing. Cooking away from my own kitchen and pans, makes it a general mess.
Overall, my favourite two restaurants definitely catered plenty of delicious vegan food for me to enjoy over the past three months. I miss the cashew nut stir fry big time! If you are going to Cambodia, do not worry about food. You will find plenty of delicious options!