Let’s face it, while traveling abroad is an amazing experience, sometimes you just want a little comfort food that you are used to. We Americans get a bad rap for flocking to McDonald’s and Subway chains around the world, but I hate to admit that sometimes those “familiar” places can be a necessity after you have been away from home for awhile (I’m talking more than a few weeks away). Especially after you are getting a little tired of the local cuisine.
On my SE Asian tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Hong Kong, I am totally admitting that by about day 10, I was maxed out on Asian cuisine. I had my fill of Vietnamese Pho, traditional Khmer (Cambodian) vegetable curry, fried rice, fresh spring rolls and the list goes on. While all of those dishes were awesome, I got to a point where I just needed a good slice of pizza or a sandwich (or quite honestly even a so-so piece of pizza would have sufficed at that point)! And each day I denied myself this growing desire, the worse my craving for something familiar got. I would have happily eaten pizza for breakfast if it was served:)
After a harrowing first night in our hotel in Siem Reap in Cambodia which included needing to switch rooms in the middle of the night because of huge cockroaches and waking up to multiple unknown insect bites on my forehead resulting in a swollen mess, I was not going to let any of that ruin pretty much the sole reason I came on this trip in the first place; to see Angkor Wat. The lack of sleep and humid heat didn’t stop me from truly enjoying and learning about this majestic place. It really was a dream come true to be standing amongst these ancient temples.
The town of Siem Reap is going through a huge explosion of new high end hotels, restaurants and shops as tourism through Cambodia is picking up. I didn’t really have any expectations of Siem Reap but I actually really liked it. I will say that it is on the touristy side with lots of bars, restaurants, cafes and market shopping, but if you find places that are not right on the main street, it can feel quite quaint.
Our tour guide Sam took us through the alleyways to this adorable French bistro place called La Boulangerie Cafe. He didn’t tell us where we were going, so I was kind of expecting it to be traditional Cambodian food. To my surprise, it was a true French bistro with sandwiches, pizza and pastries as well as a lot of Asian options! It really was a one-stop shop for everything you could possibly want to eat.
Now, decision time. I was so torn over getting a make-your-own sandwich or pizza (they had awesome options, but I was feeling like getting it my way!) that I ended up splitting both with my friend Kat. I can’t even tell you how incredibly perfect and tasty that sandwich and pizza were. I wasn’t sure if I was just so anxious to have food like that, or if it was really just that good, but I was one happy camper at the end of that meal.
The next day I went shopping around the markets at lunch with some of my friends from the trip and we ended back up near La Boulangerie Cafe. I wanted to branch out and try something new but I was just being called back to that place for another sandwich. It is so unlike me to go back to the same place two days in a row, but I did, and I absolutely loved it again. Either I was getting addicted or else I was just preemptively eating my share of good sandwiches before I was going to be back on the “Asian food at every meal” plan.
I found myself thinking, “Would it be so bad if I ate here for every meal during our three day visit?” Hmmmmm…….
(Just so you know, that was the last time I ate there, but I’m pretty sure that given the choice, I would have happily eaten at La Boulangerie again and again).
Check out some great pictures of the place from their Facebook page.