|Al fresco seating at the Meric|
|Pounded wild eggplant with crispy pork (background)|
Local Cresson Salad with Chicken (foreground)
To start, the salad was made unique through the fragrant Cresson leaves. The unusual taste and smell of this local leaf (a type of watercress) lifted an otherwise common salad dressed with peanut sauce. While we enjoyed the eggplant puree, we are still scratching our heads as to where the crispy pork was. Was it so finely ground into the puree that it leant taste without being present by itself? We should have asked but were distracted between the dancing and devouring what we had on our plates.
|Pan fried butter Cat Fish wtih Green Mango Sauce|
|Braised beef shank with palm sugar and star anise|
The beef shank was in sweet contrast, literally. Stewed as best as it can be – and I say that having experienced that meats here are just generally very lean, chewy and bordering on dry. Marbling is either unappreciated and/or unavailable. I definitely did not see any fat cows while cruising through the farmlands on my Quad 4-wheeler. But the beef here was comparatively easier on the teeth, and quite tasty. The quarter hard boiled egg was a nice touch, but I thought the garnish of fried shallots did nothing except distract the diner.
The duo of Khmer organic rice (white and brown) served in a banana leaf bowl was good, and the mix was a nice play on tastes and textures from the 2 different grains. It also served us critically well through the next course.
|Stir fried frogs with holy Basil|
My stir fried frogs were rather ordinary since I grew up eating frogs. In fact, I found the meat to be, yes again, too tough as compared with the frog legs I normally eat. The basil stir fry would have been a winner if the dish wasn’t so salty overall. I almost ran out of rice – quite a challenge considering the portions were generous. B who does not eat frog, had a stir fry of prawns with Kampot pepper. Tasty enough was alas the pepper didn’t come through as the sauce was also too salty and masked any goodness the pepper had to offer.
The spare ribs in jackfruit curry was pleasant enough although it was again rather ordinary. Slightly sweet from the fruit, but unfortunately not fragrant enough as it should be given the qualities of the fruit. And of course, pork that was just a tad tough and not as enjoyable as ribs should be.
The sweet ending was “ok”. Unfortunately, if you’re used to enjoying Thai desserts, this course seemed to pale in comparison. The tapioca in coconut milk served in a glass was the best, alongside a pumpkin custard on sticky rice drizzled with palm sugar. The other 2 tapioca based desserts were bordering on bland and a little too tough to work through and not enough incentive since I was getting full.
|Pork rib with young jackfruit and coconut milk sour soup|
|Assorted Khmer Sweets|
PS. you probably gathered that there wasn't much lighting outdoors, thus the quality of the photos.
Hotel De La Paix
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