Thursday, November 29, 2007


KS often eats snails as a snack, pulling them out of their shells one by one and dipping then in sauce. But one day we made a snail dish, so we had to pull them all out at once.........

After buying a few kilos of snails at the market, the first thing that needed doing was what you see in this photo. Using a knife the shell of the snail is smashed on one side to make a hole.
After that they were put in a pot with some water over the fire. Here you see just after they have come out of the boiling water. You can also see the water vat. Many people in Cambodia use these to store their water in. We don’t need them in the city, as we have running water.

Some of you guessed the photo in a previous post- you were right! It was of us de- shelling snails. We used some small sticks to pull the cooked snail out of the shell. The holes made in the shells earlier made it easier.

- The de shelled snails have a shower.
- And now for the seasoning! This is actually a dish we make at home sometimes. We usually use beef rather than snails, it’s called “Char Gdar”.

On the left there is a bowl of something yellow. It’s a mixture of roots and herbs crushed together using the mortor and pestle you see in the middle. The mixture includes a yellowy-orangey root, a white root that looks a bit like ginger and lemongrass.
Lime juice, lime leaves, garlic and chilli are also used for flavour, along with salt, sugar, pepper and in this case prahok. But if you don’t have prahok you can use fish sauce. The green leaves in the top right hand corner are from a plant called “mreh-bro”. If you buy it in a bottle in Cabramatta, Sydney the label says “Holy Basil”.

Peanuts are also used to flavour this dish. But first they need crushing. This type of flat woven basket is also used for sorting rice, drying fish and probably a million other things.

Time to cook! The yellow mixture and garlic goes in first.

I think the snails were added next and the other seasonings, and finally the holy basil. Almost ready to eat.

The finished product. Can you guess which dish is the snail char gdar? I love the smell and flavour of char gdar so I was looking forward to eating this dish. Although I must say I’d prefer beef to snail, but the dish as a whole is so “chngoi” (good smelling food) that I wasn’t too concerned about what meat was in there. However when I tried it it was too spicy for me! I forgot that when we make it at home I control the amount of chilli that goes in. So I filled up on the other dishes, I might tell you about them in another blog post in the future.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

These days...

The other weekend we went out of town with a group from college. I don't go out of the city much, and whenever I do I see lots of things I've never seen before. Can you guess what we’re doing in this photo?
To get to where we were going we had to cross the river on a ferry. The photo below I ook when we were on it. Our moto was right at the front, I felt like we were about to drive into the river!

Our church building has been flooded the last 5 Sundays, so we have been meeting peoples houses. Last week we had to walk along a rickety narrow bridge to get there- it was a bit scary!

I’m about half way through Level 3 Khmer language classes. I’m finding I have much more writing homework than before. I used to try to hang around outside in the late afternoon for speaking practice. At that time of day people on campus are playing sport, or sitting on the grass talking, so it’s a good time for chatting. But these days writing homework is taking up my time.

As I have already got to know people a bit, spending time speaking with them is a bit more natural now anyway.

Also, I just started going to an evangelistic Bible study. So far its been exciting for me because I’m starting to understand more words, and I’m enjoying trying to talk to people after the meeting.

At the end people share prayer requests. Its quite overwhelming, many people have sick family members, and/or are out of work

Thursday, November 08, 2007


“Phnom” means “hill”. Ironically Phnom Penh is quite flat.

There is one hill which now has a “wat” (temple) built on it. Wat Phnom as it is called was apparently built in 1373 when an old lady called Penh found some Buddha statues near the river. From there a city formed around Wat Phnom of Penh.

Today its used as a temple, and is also a popular place to visit for fun.

Last year, when I first got to Cambodia I found I really missed beign able to go for a walk. The weather, traffic and roads are really good for strolling around. I lived near Wat Phnom though, so it was a nice place to walk, lots of greeness and shade as you can see from the photos.

Although, there are lots of monkeys jumping around everywhere. On the ground, in the trees etc, so it doesn't make for a very restful stroll.

Most of these photos I took around the bottom of the huge round-about like thing. But you can also walk up the hill and see the temple at the top. But I was more interested in the greeness!

There are many people sellings all kinds of things.

At the front there is a huge clock in the grass. You can kind of see it in these photos.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Water, water, still everywhere!

I’m enjoying bike riding these days as the weather is nice and cool. It makes it so much easier! The down side to rainy season though, is that my feet get so muddy everyday. Here is some advice for riding a bike in rainy season:

1. If the road is covered in water ride slowly – there might be unseen potholes lurking in the murkiness.

2.If the people on the moto next to you drive into a pothole and fall off, don’t try to watch them, keep looking out for your own potholes.

3. Don’t wear backless shoes. If you come off your bike and you end up in the water they might float away under a moving car.

4. Don’t assume that the road won’t get potholes when it rains even if it was just paved last year.

5.If you find it too stressful riding in busy traffic, in muddy water worrying about the potholes that you can’t see, anticipating that at any moment your front wheel might take a sharp downward movement, try walking your bike instead. You’ll end up with wet jeans up to your knees, but less heart palpitations.

6. Wash your feet/shoes/jeans well when you get home. You don’t know what’s in that water.

7. Avoid cows (they don’t know the traffic laws).

I read that a cow was taken into police custody recently. They said it had caused 2 fatal traffic accidents this year. Altogether 4 people died and 3 were injured. (From “South Eastern Globe”, Nov 2007 quoting “The Cambodian Daily” October 12th)