Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Smells of Occheuteal Beach

We're certain the sounds of a tropical beach are familiar to your ears: surf crashing rhythmically on sand, squeals of delight, wind whistling gently through palm trees, and a collective, happy gasp as the sun sinks pinkly into the sea.

For the sights, we have some photos here:

But what about the smells?

Cambodia's beaches offered our noses something far beyond your typcial salt air and we had to share. Sitting, sunning, shading and floating on Occheuteal Beach was kind of like attending a sports event with exotic food hawkers. Cambodians don't mess around with boring stuff like popcorn or cotton candy; even a can of beer isn't Budweiser-boring -- here, they offer it from the countries of Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore.

Ladies wander up and down the narrow strip of sand carrying a yoke-like contraption that involves a narrow stick about five feet long and a triangular set of wires on each end that hold a giant round platter.~> read more

 It's kind of like those scales in the produce department at Safeway, only twice the size, hanging off the rod in your closet. Sometimes, one end of the yoke has a fire pit on it that the women use to barbeque you up something fresh!

Other ladies and girls carry only a giant bowl on their heads, carefully balanced in a round pillow made of the checkered krama scarf material, with pounds of fruit or fried this-or-that, and wield a giant cleaver to fresh cut whatever you desire. Watching a seven-year-old whack pineapple from its pesky skin for $0.25, while balancing on her knees and tipping nothing into the sand, was a nerve wracking site, trust me!

All day, women balance the yokes and platters effortlessly as they plod along the beach belting out their buffet items. Wish you were with us to taste the flavors!

- BBQ squid -- fresh from the Gulf, barbeque-cum-blackened up right in front of you.

- Sweet pineapple -- hot sun ripens the so-fresh fruit, which is cut to eat...yum!

- Steamed dumplings -- the warm doughy smell of steamed rice flour dumplings interrupts sun bathing, for sure!

- Roasted Peanuts -- warm, salty, nutty goodness wrapped in newspaper cones.

- Grilled Coconut -- chopped, cooked and rolled into a spring roll with peanuts, mung beans and palm sugar. SO good!

- Durian -- horrible, foul, custard-vomit smelling durian. We're not fans of the fruit!

- BBQ Bananas -- peeled and grilled to perfection; these in Cambodia have a denser, deeper flavor and you get a bunch rolled in a plastic bag for snacking.

- Apple-Rubber-Honey -- otherwise known as Jack Fruit. Gotta try it once.

- Salt-Brine-Fish-in-the-Sun -- just like it sounds. Tiny fish and tiny mollusks are sold, mostly to locals, for munching. Smell usually triggers nose wrinkling. Also triggers question of: "How long have those been sitting in the sun, unrefrigerated?"

- Fried doughnuts and sun-melty-chocolate -- doughnut-like-crisps with gooey tops of chocolate and nutella. Probably remnant of something French, but many good things are here in Cambodia.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt Mary, How wonderful! Are you gaining weight? It may be worth it!

9:20 PM  
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7:26 AM  

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