This story is part of my list of things to do in Siem Reap »
Green mango salad at New Leaf Eatery $4USD
Cambodia is a country rebuilding itself and on the ground there are many NGO (non-governmental organisations) that are designed to support social enterprises and teach people new skills in hospitality. This is not what you would call "pity tourism" - indeed dining at some of these NGO cafes and restaurants will give you one of the best meals, drinks, cakes you could have.
Amok 2 ways at New Leaf Eatery $6.25USD
New Leaf Eatery on Street 09 has a fabulous atmosphere that just draws you in. The menu is made up of a mix of Cambodian dishes and Western dishes (about 30%/70%) and 80% of the profits go to the various charities. The staff are sweet and helpful and we absolutely adored the green mango salad and the fish amok 2 ways. The mains even come with a complimentary beer, limeade or ginger ale.
Strawberry and kampot pepper shake (left) $4.25USD, Watermelon Virgin Mary $3.75USD at Marum
One of the tastiest places to try real Khmer food is at Marum, an NGO and training centre for disadvantaged youth. Staff wear t-shirts that denote them as a teacher or a student. The staff are genuinely friendly and the food is absolutely delicious. I'd put this down as one of my favourite meals in Siem Reap.
Prawn, pork and prahok dip $5.75USD, Fish soup with tamarind, galangal and Morning Glory $5.75USD and Red tree ant, kaffir lime, beef and chilli stir fry $6.50USD at Marum
I went gaga over the prawn, pork and prahok dip a flavoursome curry style of dip with crudites. The red tree ant, kaffir lime, beef and chilli stir fry has red ants that have a citrus flavour and the stir fry is delicious. And the fish soup is a tangy, comforting soup with plenty of morning glory in it.
Cupcakes at Blossom Cafe & Training Centre
Most of us take education for granted but post school qualifications are simply not accessible to a large part of the Cambodian population. And for the students at Blossom Cafe & Training Centre they learn how to make delicate and intricate sugarcraft and barista skills in an intensive 12 week training course. The venture was started by a philathropic couple originally from Queensland.
But how are the cupcakes? They're divine and as tasty as they are pretty. My favourite tasting one is the chai cupcake but the rainbow lollipop one is gorgeous and topped with cream cheese icing. They also do full sized cakes, wedding cakes and cookies decorated with delicate henna tattoo style royal icing. Oh and if you're a chai latte addict like me, Blossom Cafe does the best chai lattes ever!