Archive for February 2014

The Common Tiger, Phnom Penh

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Common Tiger is an orange and black butterfly that gives me the creeps when I think about it. (Butterflies/moths are my worst fear) (Weird, I know) Luckily, this Common Tiger is a delightful restaurant tucked away amongst mango trees with a sprawling wooden patio and open plan mid-century architecture, and heavenly food.

The initial plan was to come here for the $50 four course degustation dinner, but I realized that I wouldn't be able to finish four courses, so we came for lunch instead. And it was delicious.

We had refreshing smoothies to start: pineapple $3.50, and mango $3.00. 

The menu here changes once or twice a week, depending on the chef's inspiration. This makes me so happy, because it means the food is always fresh and adapted to whatever is available locally, and that he is constantly experimenting and creating new and amazing dishes. The chef is South African Timothy Bruyns, who has worked all over Asia and Africa in luxury resorts, including Song Saa Resort, a private island heaven off the coast of Sihanoukville. Click on the link to explode with envy and excitement and happiness. 

Anyway, we were spoiled for choice here, because although there were only six or seven items on the menu, they all sounded so delicious. 

Braised then glazed pork ribs with som tam and sticky rice. $9. 
The ribs were so tender that they fell right off the bone, and were perfectly seasoned.

The som tam was just the right amount of spiciness and provided the perfect tang to accompany the richness of the ribs. And sticky rice is so much better than real rice, and all three components of the dish went so well together. 

Pan roasted sea bass with new potatoes, salsa and sauce vinaigrette. $12.00.
The fish was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth, and the baby potatoes were soft and fluffy. The sauce was heaven sauce. 

Unfortunately we were too full after eating that we couldn't have dessert! It was some sort of dark chocolate concoction that sounded divine, and I'm sure it would have been. I highly recommend everyone to come here (please!), and if you try the degustation menu please let me know! They also had a three course lunch special for $20, which is amazing value considering one of the mains (a pork belly dish - my ultimate weakness) was $18 (which you could pick as part of your lunch special). 

This restaurant makes me so happy, I would gladly eat here a thousand more times and not get sick of it. <3 It's definitely one of the best restaurants in Phnom Penh, and so affordable. 

No. 20, Street 294
BKK 1, Phnom Penh
+855 23 212 917
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 12pm - 10pm


Fish Amok: Cambodian Seafood Curry in Banana Leaf

Monday, 3 February 2014

I first tried fish amok three years ago when I visited Cambodia for the first time. It was at a restaurant called Malis located in the heart of Phnom Penh. Our tuk-tuk driver got so completely lost trying to find it and when we got out of the tuk-tuk, hot and sweaty and frustrated, and paid him probably way too much, we stepped into this little oasis with air conditioning and friendly, English speaking waitstaff who were so incredibly attentive, and $3 cocktails. The amok was so heavenly that I mentally bookmarked Malis as "The Amok Place" and promised to come back to Cambodia and eat there a million more times.

And I did come back. I've tried so many amoks from so many places but I think that Malis is still my favorite. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I haven't yet found another amok that is such a perfect blend of fragrant spices and fresh, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth fish packaged in a bundle of banana leaves. It's good.

Amok is basically a process of steaming or baking curried seafood (or chicken, or tofu, or vegetables, whatever you want, really) in a banana leaf parcel. When we were in Siem Reap last weekend, I attended a cooking class at Le Tigre de Papier and finally learned how to make amok. Three years later. We didn't steam or bake the fish, unfortunately, but it was still delicious. This recipe fries the fish and curry, but when I get home I'm going to try to steam it. I imagine you would just coat the fish in the paste and steam it in the leaves. 

Fish Amok
Serves 2
  • 2 ngor leaves or broccoli leaves, sliced thinly (I have no idea what ngor leaves are, so just use broccoli leaves, or alternatively you can also substitute with spinach)
  • 1 large brown onion, sliced thinly
  • 100g oyster mushrooms, sliced thinly (again, any mushroom would work)
  • 300g fish, sliced thinly
  • 4 leaves of Swiss chard, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chicken salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Amok Paste:
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1 finger sized piece of turmeric
  • 1 finger sized piece of ginger
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic



Mortar and pestle.


Amok paste.

Heat a large pan and then pour in half of the the coconut milk. 

When the coconut milk starts to boil, add in the amok paste and onions and fry until the onions are soft. Add in the fish and fry on both sides.

Pour in the remaining coconut milk, and add in the leaves and mushrooms, continually stirring. Add sugar, fish sauce, and chicken to taste.

To serve, pour into your banana leaf bowls, and serve with rice.

Try it! It's delicious :)

Cooking Lessons $14
+855 (0)12 265 811
Pub Street, Siem Reap