Travel Thursday #3: Siem Reap – fresh as fresh can get

Siem Reap New Market

A basket of goodies at the New Market in Siem Reap. Shallots, limes, ginger, green mangoes, tamarinds and tamarind pulp. Chillies and onions.  This is the second post on the New Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia – you can go here to read my first post on the market, and hear the history  of the New Market.

The hotel that we were staying at in Siem Reap had lousy coffee and worse tea. So while I was at the market, I bought some lemon grass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and limes. Borrowing a blunt knife from the hotel, each afternoon I hacked pieces into the bottom of our tea cups and filled them with boiling water. It was great. We refilled and refilled and refilled our cups as we dozed, showered, did some hand washing and booked another foot massage. The tea was wonderful.

And where can I walk

The market was quite amazing, as I mentioned in my last travel post, and surprisingly full of motorbikes in the narrow paths between stalls. You can see it is hazardous walking around. You almost need a motorbike or huge cart in front of you to be safe!


The amount of chillies in the market attests to the spiciness of local food. And the limes and herbs to the wonderful lightness and freshness of their dishes.


And the locally plentiful pea eggplants so wonderfully bitter in curries.


Speaking of bitter and acidic, tamarind abounds. It is only in the last week that I found out that you can eat tamarind out of the shell. I never knew, otherwise I would have bought some and tried it.


Where would you be without chilli sauce?

Chilli Sauce

The amount of food is overwhelming. The amount of each item was amazing. For example, here is just one garlic stall.

Garlic to the horizon

You can buy it unpeeled or peeled. Here is a lady who peels the garlic. She is so happy! I wanted to sit down with her and peel the garlic if that’s what it takes to get an attitude like hers!

Peeling garlic

It is not all vegetables. All sorts of tropical fruit can be found. These are rambutan which grow only in SE Asia, and you can read more about them at Appetite for China.


And then, worn out from negotiating motorbikes and negotiating prices, the savvy market shopper stops for a meal cooked on site.



The market is huge. In two hours we only saw less than half. Along with the tea ingredients, we brought some French pastries and green mango with chilli salt.

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Eggplant with Sesame and Soy Buttery Steamed Rice Eat in? Golden Dal Singapore Food Market Chickpea and Ginger Salad Sweet Potato Curry Summer Pink Strawberry Frappe Oatcakes Cucumber Salad with Herbs and Poppy Seed peppers

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About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
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15 Responses to Travel Thursday #3: Siem Reap – fresh as fresh can get

  1. Susan says:

    What bounty! I love traveling to the markets frequented by locals. Can’t stop staring at that basket of red chilies – after my own heart.

    Those chillis are amazing, Susan, aren’t they? I so wanted to grab a basketful of ingredients and find a kitchen and cook! That is the hardest part of travelling – not being able to cook.

  2. Vaishali says:

    These pictures are so beautiful and evocative. Your post brought back memories of drinking tea flavored with lemon grass when I was growing up in India. Thanks!

    Oh, delighted to have evoked memories,Vaishali. I went to a market in Trivandrum too. I will post that experience eventually.

  3. Suganya says:

    Those bird eye chillies pack a mighty punch. Still they look pretty. My heart skipped a beat looking at this bounty. Now I miss farmer markets I used to visit in India.

    Hi Suganya. Nowhere do we have markets like this in Australia. Such fresh produce.

  4. Aparna says:

    These pictures remind of the markets here. And yes, tamarind can be eaten out of the shell. Some varieties tend to be very sour, but some have a lovely sweet and sour combination of tastes.

    Thanks, Aparna, I will certainly try next time I am in India or SE Asia.

  5. I love how the chilli sauce comes in plastic bags…definitely indicates how much and how fast it’s used.

    and I love how each bag is fully inflated. Makes you wonder what kind of chemical reaction is going on inside each one….

  6. Ruth says:

    Glorious photos. Thanks for taking me along vicariously.

    Hi Ruth, thanks for visiting us in (virtual) Siem Reap. It is always very special when someone enjoys the photos of glorious food, wonderful people and exciting places.

  7. maritasays says:

    Great post and images again. I especially enjoy your no-nonsense attitude when it came to your hotel’s lousy tea! Tamarind is very popular over here as well, as a snack, but I have yet to try them. Very curious though,

    Thanks, B. I can’t wait for you to try tamarind and share your experience. I am so curious too, and regret that I didn’t know this before I spent 5 weeks in Tamarind Countries. I have to tell you, the teas was Very Very Good.

  8. Lucy says:

    Now that’s what I call a market.

    How wonderful to see the Thai eggplants in that basket. I dream of such fresh bundles of herbs…lovely images. Can’t take my eyes off the smiling garlic-seller!

    That garlic seller was amazing. How I love being in SE Asia and India, amongst happiness. And the herbs :-)

  9. Nilmandra says:

    Ah… the delightful chaos of open-air markets in Southeast Asia :) I kind of miss that. Loving those photos of yours. I’m working on my photography and hope to be as good some day.

    Hey, Nilmandra, your photography is already great! I too love the ordered chaos of those markets.

  10. WOW! its fresh vegetable like those that make you want to take up cooking, no? Loved your commentary!
    and an entirely garlic stall? :-))

    Those fruit look delicious; I guess you peel the skin for the juicy fruit inside – looks similar to what I had in India, except, didn’t have the spikes.
    thanks for sharing!

    and oh! those raw tamarinds were treats when we were kids. Get some salt on the palm and cover the peeled tamarind with it and then chew. ewwwwww! yumm!

    There is nothing like going to a market to activate the cooking gene!

    The fruit is rambutan. It is generally called by that name, but

    “in French, ramboutan or ramboutanier; in Dutch, ramboetan; occasionally in India, ramboostan. To the Chinese it is shao tzu, to Vietnamese, chom chom or vai thieu; to Kampucheans, ser mon, or chle sao mao. There are other local names in the various dialects of southeast Asia and the East Indies.”

    An amazing nutritional profile: see
    Also the oil is good for cosmetic and health use. I guess that is made from the seeds.

    To see what the fruit looks like, and how to open one, go to The fruit is quite smooth and a lovely, almost bland, very cooling taste.

    So you just chew the tamarind pod? And the inside oozes out? ewwwww!

  11. Mallika says:

    I loved those images. Brought back memories of my recent holiday in Thailand. You lucky, lucky thing!!

    Hi Mallika – lucky you! I have not yet been to Thailand or Vietnam. Soon, soon. So glad that I was able to bring back some happy memories.

  12. Tom Aarons says:

    Yum. You make me homesick for somewhere that isn’t really home!

    I totally totally understand. I get homesick for many parts of the world. Especially India.

  13. nadia says:

    Re: rambutan

    ‘Rambut’ means hair in Malay. So it can be literally translated to hairy fruit. I’m going to Siem Reap this weekend and your entry on the new market is awesome – would have missed it and gone for the old one only :)

  14. Pharm says:

    Very nice site!

  15. David says:

    as a sometime tour leader who has led his charges to the old market, i enjoyed and learned from your Siem Reap new market posts. Thank you!

    if you should be travelling to Hanoi sometime in the next year, please let us know. DavidinHanoi

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