The Meanderthals

Anyone for sticky rice?

When I got up this morning, I had to wonder what type of adventure awaited us today.


For the past three days, I’ve been traveling the northeastern regions of Cambodia doing research for the dessert book I’m working on with PSE (Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant) and, each day, there has been an adventure of some kind.


My travel companions are Sveva, a French gal, Alex, an Italian chap, Vincent, a photographer from Kansas and two Cambodians, Rithy and Savuth, who work in PSE’s restaurant school.


Our mission this week was to uncover traditional recipes from this region and, so far, it has been a week to remember.


We awoke to a heavy rainfall which stopped soon after we left the hotel, allowing us to visit another market, eat some more gloopy stuff and visit a local pagoda. After lunch, the heavens opened again, forcing us to shelter in a riverside restaurant until it passed so we could make the 1km walk to the neighbouring village.


Two hours – and a nap – later, Rithy told us we were could finally move on. We gathered our equipment and started down the path to the village where, we were told, we’d learn about local legends.


After hours of heavy rainfall, the dirt path had turned into mud. Sveva broke a flipflop. We all got stuck in the mud. The road ended, turned into a small pond, and resumed again. We walked past a herd of buffalo which glowered so angrily at us so that we slid and slithered in the mud as fast as we could before they decided to chase us.


Twenty minutes later, our guide stopped. We couldn’t go any further. There was no more village. The road was bad. The bridge was gone.


Since she’d only worked at the Department of Tourism for a month, I’m not sure which was the correct story. Was there a village there in the first place? I wonder.


So we sludged and squelched our way back down the path, past the gruff-looking buffalo and through the grass and mud. Back to wash our feet, have a jolly good laugh and find some more sticky rice and unusual Cambodian desserts.


And to wonder what tomorrow might bring.



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  • leslie

    Sorry to say this, but the food sure does sound yucky! I probably won’t be buying the cookbook…:) Hope you are enjoying your tasting journey… do you stay so slim eating all of this sticky rice? Can’t wait to see you. Leslie g.

  • Valerie Artese

    Hey Gabi, what an adventure or disaster depending on how you look at it! I’m following closely, waiting with fingers crossed for something delicious to happen.

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