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A quick guide for visiting Angkor Wat

The most famous travel site in all of Cambodia is undoubtedly the iconic Angkor Wat and the surrounding Angkor temples.   This UNESCO site covers over 400 square kilometers of territory and is made up of literally thousands of temples built by the Khmer empire between the 5th and 15th centuries.  Some of these have been meticulously restored for tourists, while others are piles of rubble lying in the jungle.   The Angkor Archeological Park is a quick jaunt from nearby Siem Reap, a town popular with backpackers, tourists and world travelers of all sorts.  When the crew of Off the Beaten Plate hit Cambodia, we spent three days tackling this juggernaut of a site.  Do not let the crowds deter you: a visit to Angkor is completely worth it.  Here is a quick guide. Continue reading

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New foods: Cambodia’s ant dishes

Cambodia may be a travel destination reputed for its gorgeous temples and idyllic countryside, its amazing food is often overshadowed by nearby neighbors such as Thailand and Vietnam.  Amongst the many Khmer delicacies that we sampled during our time in the country, ants were perhaps one of the most unique.  While consumption of insects is taboo in many western cultures, it has become the norm here in Cambodia.  The practice of eating insects here stems from the plentiful availability of them, a history of war and unrest, and of course they are inexpensive, as it is easy to forage for them.  We sampled ants two different ways: Continue reading

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What is Singapore’s national dish?

What is Singapore’s national dish?  This question has no simple answer in the city state of Singapore, a world class foodie travel destination.  Ask ten Singaporeans, and you may get ten different answers.  Home to four main cuisines, Chinese, Peranakan, Malay and Indian, not to mention numerous sub-cuisines and international options, Singapore is a culinary juggernaut.  But after asking several knowledgeable Singaporeans, and a little creative web searching, I think I might have this narrowed down to a few likely candidates, one from each cuisine. Continue reading

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Italian buffet lunches in Singapore: One-Ninety and Basilico

Singapore may be one of the world’s most delicious travel destinations, but this city state has many more options to offer visitors than its local Malay, Peranakan, Chinese and Indian cuisines.  If you would like a break from heavy hawker fare, check out the Four Seasons Singapore or the Regent for light Mediterranean style lunches.  These are two stunning examples of Singapore’s wonderful and exciting buffet culture. Continue reading

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New foods: Ayam buah keluak, chicken and black nut stew at PeraMakan

Singapore is famous amongst the travel crowd for its Peranakan cuisine.   The Peranakans are a culture/ethnic group that mixes Chinese and Malay, and they are found in areas of Malaysia such as Penang and Malacca.  Ayam buah keluak, or chicken and black nut stew, is one of the most famous and unusual dishes of this iconic Singapore cuisine.  It is quite unique, in that the black nuts after which the dish is named are  highly poisonous if not properly prepared.   They are first scrubbed, then soaked in water for three days, boiled and rinsed again.   The nut flesh is removed, pounded and mixed with spices, and placed back inside the nut.  The nuts are then simmered with chicken and other ingredients, making a dark, rich sauce.  Continue reading