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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Siem Reap: The Last Dinner of the Trip @ Touich Restaurant Bar

After having several French inspired Khmer dining, I decided to sample the local palate of traditional Khmer cuisine.  My meal at Khmer Kitchen (un-blogged) in the heart of Siem Reap was pretty decent, with a subtler, more balanced flavour that tended to be a little less exciting than its South East Asian counter part Thailand.  But what happens when you bring the cuisine one notch up?  Touich Restaurant Bar served my last dinner in Cambodia.  The menu looked suspiciously Thai but the food from these two regions are fairly intertwined its hard to tell them apart without tasting.

Eventually, we succumbed to the Thai cuisines on offer along with a lovely dish from the grill.  To start was a Tom Yam Soup and Mango Salad.
The Mango salad was absolutely sensational!  Sweet, sour and salty came together with the crunchy vegetables to whet the appetite.  Several juicy shrimps added short notes of seafood flavour but it was hardly as impactful as the mint and basil in the salad.  The zesty flavour the the lime was hard to dislike too.  Very good.

The Tom Yam was supposed to be a main but we called it as an appetiser anyway!  I have to say, whilst this was not the best  Tom Yam I have ever had, this little pot was laden with ingredients.  From Galangal  to Coriander to lemon grass, onion and the list goes on.  It is as if the chef decided to pull every herb in her cook book and give it a go.  To finish were some very coarsely cut up squid and prawns for protein. The product was very close to being sensational but perhaps the heat could be turned up!  For the best Tom Yam, nothing beats the one I had at Chatuchak Market in Thailand.   

JH’s dish after due diligence was the Stir Fried Scallops and Prawns  $10.50 USD.  It was Trip Advisor’s recommendation.
There were heaps of scallops in this dish but with most of them being very small in size, there was hardly any excitement.  It was after all the very similar to the Basil stir fry which we had at Haven Training Kitchen called the Lok Lak and something we ordered the night before too.  I think the both of us definitely could not recommend this dish to anyone. 

The last dish for the night was the Salt Baked Snapper $11.50 USD.  When the fish came out coated in a crusty layer of salt, I was sold.  Strangely enough reminded me of the Bangkok with the boys last year! Smashing fun.
The waiter offered to peel the skin off which we gladly accepted.  As the skin pilled off part by part, the moist flesh was revealed.  This was the beauty of the salt baked fish.  Juicy on the inside, but flavoured so very tenderly by the salt on the outside.  And the real killer lies in the sauce served on the size.  A zesty, garlicky sauce with a punch of sugar and a dash of acidity from the lime.  Sensational all together!

The meal at Touich Restaurant Bar was every bit satisfying.  It was a little over $30 USD for the two of us and we were filled to the brim!  So full it was hard getting back to the hotel.  While I could not find the Khmer inspiration in the dishes, it was safe to say that Touich Restaurant Bar in Siem Reap presented to me some very well-executed dishes that regarded the Thai cuisine in the most respectable manner.  That is, by presenting it with quality and authenticity. Was it a weird choice of restaurant to be dining at considering I was in Cambodia?  Well, maybe yes, but any regrets?   Definitely NO.

Do note that the seating is outdoor only.  In hotter and wetter seasons, mosquitoes are quite apparent so the restaurant offers free repellants.