Plenty to do
Published/Last edited or updated: 24th March, 2021
It may be Cambodia’s second-largest city, but Battambang, a sleepy burg connected to the Tonle Sap by the Sangkar River, retains a unique small-town charm and makes for a great weekend getaway from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
FRIDAY 19:00 Dinner at Jaan Bai In the middle of town, a stone’s throw away from the bustling fresh food stalls of Meeting Place Market (Psas Nat), Jaan Bai is both a social enterprise for the Cambodian Children’s Trust and a ground-breaking contemporary restaurant created with the backing of David Thompson, the man who made Thai food famous, and Sydney restaurateur John Fink. Jaan Bai serves up a short selection of Thai dishes with an emphasis on big flavours. You can either do it tapas style and share a selection of small plates, such as pork belly boa slaw with peanuts and five spice ($5) or eggplant and mushroom dumplings ($3), or go for the large plates, like twice cooked coconut braised beef rib with prik nahm pla ($12), a stunning (as you would expect) Thai green chicken curry ($5.50) or maybe a sticky skin glazed chicken with palm sugar, lime and chilli ($7) catches your fancy. And there’s much more, all equally bursting with personality. If trying to work out what you want gets too difficult, and this is very possible, just say “khlean”, and the crew will serve you up a selection of different dishes from the menu for $15 per person, including a glass of wine. But whatever you do, don’t go overboard before dessert. The salted honeycomb and caramel sundae ($3.50) is seriously not for sharing and mango sticky rice ($4.50) makes for unusually divine comfort food. Definitely check out the cocktail list too, those are killer.
Jaan Bai Street 2. T: (078) 263 144. Open Tue to Sun, ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,100 words.)
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
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