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Kep & Kampot Revisited

It’s been a little over a year since I last wrote about Kep and Kampot, but I went back again over Christmas and I just had to share how beautiful it was all over again.

Kep, Crab Shack, CambodiaKnai Bang Chatt, Kep, CambodiaKnai Bang Chatt, Kep, CambodiaWhere to Eat

As always, a trip to the crabshacks in Kep should be mandatory – fresh crab with kampot pepper is out of this world. I always go for the steamed crab, as it’s a lot juicier. We usually head to Kimly, but it tends to get busy as it was voted the best place to eat in Kep by the Lonely Planet a few years ago. If it’s too packed, So Kheang a few doors down is marginally cheaper (and they often have better crab, too).

KepKnai Bang Chatt, Kep, CambodiaThere are a few places a little further down from the crab market that do amazing cocktails – the mojitos in particular are worth trying. Be sure to get down for sunset – it’s pretty spectacular.

Knai Bang Chatt, the Sailing Club, also do nice cocktails – I prefer the cheap and cheerful food from the crab market, but in terms of ambience it can’t be beaten.

Mojito, Crabshack, Kep, CambodiaKep, Crab Shack, CambodiaDSC08648Kep, Crab Shack, CambodiaKnai Bang Chatt, Kep, CambodiaKampot is supposed to have amazing coffee, but both times I’ve been have been way too close to Christmas, when the coffee shops are shut. The ribs at The Rusty Keyhole in Kampot are a must – quite simply the most delicious ribs I have ever had – a statement still true one year on! Their portions are huge, so keep that in mind when ordering – and if you ever brave the dino ribs, please let me know!

Rusty Keyhole, Kampot, CambodiaRusty Keyhole, Kampot, CambodiaWhere to Stay

We’ve always stayed at the Villa Saat. It’s perfect for big groups, the pool is amazing, and the staff are very attentive and helpful. Not to mention the photogenic tiled floors – needless to say, Villa Saat was all over my Instagram feed.

Villa Saat, Kep, CambodiaVilla Saat, Kep, CambodiaVilla Saat, Kep, CambodiaDSC08565The best part about Villa Saat is the fact that you can get local masseurs to come by to give you a massage. But one top tip – Khmer massages are very firm. Personally, I prefer firm massages (not so keen on the idea of paying someone to stroke me) – but I know it’s not to everyone’s taste.

What To Do

The highlight of my trip was spending the day out on a boat with Captain Eric on a tour of local fishing villages, islands and secluded beaches.

Kep Boat Tour, CambodiaKep Boat Tour, CambodiaThe Facebook page is in French, but Eric speaks great English, and is very knowledgable about the area. Drinks and lunch can be provided, as are snorkels – a lot of great coral and marine life. The water was so clear – it was absolutely stunning.

Kep, CambodiaKep Boat Tour, CambodiaWatermelon, Pineapple and Banana, CambodiaKep Province is an absolute gem, and a must see when you’re in the region.

Knai Bang Chatt, Kep, CambodiaHave you ever been to Kep? What are some of your favourite places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

 

The Tiger’s Eye, Phnom Penh

A year or so ago I wrote about the amazing food over at The Common Tiger. Since then, The Common Tiger has sadly permanently closed its doors – but the same team are still creating the same stunning dishes at a new location, The Tiger’s Eye on Sotheros Boulevard.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom PenhTiger's Eye, Phnom PenhI say ‘same stunning dishes’ loosely, as the menu is still seasonal, but each dish is still as jaw-droppingly beautiful as it is delicious – just as it was back in BKK.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: BreadTiger's Eye, Phnom PenhTiger's Eye, Phnom PenhBooking in advance is strongly recommended (it’s very popular) – and you seriously don’t want to miss out on this tasting menu.

I opted against the paired wines, as I’m quite a slow drinker – and downing several glasses of wine in the heart of the Christmas season is just asking for trouble.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: White Onion Panacotta, Caramlised Cashew Nut Pesto, Herbs & Goats CheeseThe first course after the bread was a white onion pannacotta served with a caramelised cashew nut pesto and goats cheese. It was as mouthwateringly delicious as it sounds – I really enjoyed the texture of the savoury pannacotta.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: White Onion Panacotta, Caramlised Cashew Nut Pesto, Herbs & Goats CheeseTiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: White Onion Panacotta, Caramlised Cashew Nut Pesto, Herbs & Goats CheeseNext up was a pork course – pork crackling and a terrine of braised head, served with Kep crab, leek and avocado.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Pork, Terrine, Kep Crab, Leek, Avocado, Pork CracklingTiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Pork, Terrine, Kep Crab, Leek, Avocado, Pork CracklingTiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Pork, Terrine, Kep Crab, Leek, Avocado, Pork CracklingIt was all so beautifully presented, and the braised leek with the crab pate was sublime. The pork crackling was my favourite part of this course, reminding me of the one from Kurobuta – flavourful, crisp, and light as air.

This was followed by pan-roasted seabass served with a northern Thai style curry, aubergine, and rice.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Pan Roasted Sea Bass, Thai Curry, Aubergine, RiceAlthough pleasant, this course didn’t blow me over the way the first two did – saying that, it was still really tasty, and I enjoyed the vegetables with the rich sauce in particular.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Tenderloin, Peppercorn, Mushroom, PotatoTiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Tenderloin, Peppercorn, Mushroom, Potato Penh:The final main was truly incredible, and really showcased what the team behind The Tiger’s Eye really excel at – the use of Cambodian flavours and ingredients in a modern and imaginative way.

The beef tenderloin and short rib were served with green Kampot peppercorns, mushrooms and potato.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Tenderloin, Peppercorn, Mushroom, PotatoThe steak was cooked to perfection, in my opinion, and the mushroom was flavourful and meaty in texture – just the way I like it.

Tiger's Eye, Phnom Penh: Pumpkin Creme Caramel, Meringue, Sticky Rice and Cashew NutThe final course was also inspired by local cuisine – a delicious pumpkin creme caramel, served with sticky rice and cashew nut.

You really can’t fault The Tiger’s Eye for their food or service. It is without a doubt one of my favourite restaurants, and the only drawback for me is the fact that it isn’t in London!

The Tiger’s Eye is located at 49 Sotheros Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

What about you? What are some of your favourite restaurants abroad that you wish were in the UK? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

Farm to Table, Phnom Penh

Farm to Table, Phnom PenhIf you’re looking for fresh, delicious and organic food in Phnom Penh, then I highly recommend heading on down to Farm to Table.

Farm to Table, Phnom PenhFarm to Table, Phnom PenhThe same team running the popular clean eating shop Artillery are behind Farm to Table, a tranquil eatery in the heart of the trendy Boeung Keng Kang (BKK) neighbourhood.

Farm to Table, Phnom PenhFarm to Table, Phnom PenhFarm to Table, Phnom PenhAll of the food is reliably sourced, and deliciously fresh – the salads are safe to eat too, something I usually avoid when I’m traveling in the region.

The courtyard is charming, shaded by the trees – and the makeshift toy kitchen and tractor make it perfect for taking little ones along, too.

Kid's Meal Quesadilla, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhThe Cobb Salad, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhThe Cobb Salad, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhThe food is absolutely gorgeous. The Cobb Salad above is topped with a fried egg, and they have a great selection of fresh juice, including coconut water and sugar cane.

Full Breakfast, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhFull Breakfast, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhThey also do a mean breakfast, served with what is described as a salsa, but is actually more like a flavoured oil – the only thing I wasn’t a fan of in the whole place.

Duck Confit, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhDuck Confit, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhI went for the duck confit, served with a fried egg, blistered tomatoes, baby potatoes and a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Grilled White Tuna, Farm to Table, Phnom PenhThe grilled white tuna salad was served with crushed potato, fresh herbs and ratatouille, with fish sourced from Sihanoukville.

Farm to Table, Phnom PenhFarm to Table, Phnom PenhThe dishes are simple – but perfectly done, of really high quality, and are delicious. Farm to Table often do great lunch deals, too, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. You can be sure to tuck into a satisfying, tasty and filling lunch at Farm to Table (without any of the regret).

Farm to Table, Phnom PenhAnd who knows, you might even make a couple of friends when you’re there, too!

Farm to Table is at No 16, Street 260, BKK1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Have you ever been to a Farm to Table restaurant before? What are some of your favourite organic eateries? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

Where to Buy Souvenirs in Phnom Penh

I always like bringing back a little gift or two when I’ve been on holiday. I’ve found there’s a pretty fine line, though – there are only so many tacky keyrings you can stomach (especially from places you haven’t been before).

Where to Buy Souvenirs, Phnom PenhWith this in mind, I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite places to buy souvenirs in Phnom Penh. Hopefully this should have something for everyone – from tchotchke lovers (you know who you are), to foodies, the fashion conscious and the socially and environmentally conscious, too.

For Foodies

You can’t really go wrong with a edible gift – it won’t take up space, and it’s always pretty exciting to try new flavours. A gift of Kampot pepper is definitely the way to go – whether they use it in their pepper grinder, or make a delicious seafood sauce with a bit of lime juice. You can pick this up absolutely everywhere, but I got mine in this cute package below from one of the stores along Street 240.

Kampot PepperIf they’ve got more of a sweet tooth, I’d strongly recommend swinging by The Shop on Street 240 for Chocolate. They’ve got some really unusual chocolate flavours, like Mondulkiri Honey and Sesame, Kampot Pepper, and Keffir Lime, and package them beautifully, too.

For Arty Types

Trunkh, Phnom Penh, Where To Buy SouvenirsTrunkh, on Street 13, has some amazing things – I really have to reel myself in whenever I’m in there. They’ve got an eclectic mix of homewares and clothing inspired by Cambodia, but with a very contemporary feel. It’s a little pricier than some of the other places on this list, but you’re really paying for quality – and some of the items are really beautiful, like my tiger painting above!

Trunkh, Phnom Penh, Where To Buy SouvenirsTrunkh, Phnom Penh, Where To Buy SouvenirsTrunkh, Phnom Penh, Where To Buy SouvenirsTrunkh, Phnom Penh, Where To Buy Souvenirs If you’re looking for more traditional Cambodian print and art, then Le Lezard Bleu on street 240 have a great selection of vintage prints, as well as silver artworks, photographs, and paintings, too.

For Fashion and Beauty Lovers

I recently popped into one of the  A.N.D. stores, and was really impressed – they are a fair trade brand, and work with local artisans. I bought a black cotton crop top which I ended up wearing pretty much everyday this trip, I loved it so much – and it was made by a landmine victim, too. They have a great selection of handwoven clothes, bags and accessories, as well as wood carved accessories and notebooks, too.

ArtisansDesigners, A.N.D., Where to Buy Souvenirs, Phnom PenhArtisansDesigners, A.N.D., Where to Buy Souvenirs, Phnom PenhFor beauty lovers, it’s worth going to Senteurs D’Angkor on Street 13 to stock up on natural soaps, oils, candles, and lotions.

For the Socially or Environmentally Conscious

A lot of these boutiques tend to have a social good element to them, but none more so than Friends ‘N’ Stuff or Mekong Quilts.

Friends N Stuff, Phnom Penh, Where to Buy SouvenirsFriends N Stuff, Phnom Penh, Where to Buy SouvenirsThe Friends N Stuff shop is next to their restaurant, which is well worth going to – you can check out my previous review on it here. All of their products go to support great causes, and they have a nice selection of notebooks and accessories made with recycled materials with profits going back into the community. I picked up this cute pillow cover while I was there – I just really liked the contemporary and fun design.

Friends N Stuff, Phnom Penh, Where to Buy SouvenirsMekong Quilts is a non-profit organisation that supports women in Vietnam and Cambodia. They also have a lovely range of items, from bunting and Christmas decorations to magnets, keyrings, duvet covers and laptop bags!

Mekong Quilts, Where to Buy Souvenirs in Phnom PenhSmateria have some great items – brightly coloured bags and accessories made from upcycled and repurposed materials.

For the Tchotchke Lovers

Central Market, Where to Buy Souvenirs, Phnom PenhCentral Market, Where to Buy Souvenirs, Phnom PenhSome people just can’t get enough of hilariously awful souvenirs and tat – elephant earrings, magnets, ‘Same Same But Different’ T-Shirts, you know the sort. For you lot, you should just head to the Central Market, as you’ll find everything there. But remember, don’t take the first price they offer you!

Do you buy a lot of souvenirs? Where do you pick up your favourite items when you’re abroad? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

Jack Daniels Tour – Lynchburg, Tennessee

I just want to start the post off by saying that I am not a whiskey fan. I just don’t get it, really – the overpowering smell and taste really doesn’t do it for me. Having said that, I absolutely love knowing how things are made – so for someone that hates whiskey, I was probably more excited about this tour than I thought I would be.

Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Lynchburg, Tennessee was a two-hour drive away from Nashville. It’s very much Smalltown, USA – it’s absolutely tiny, and the entire town revolves around the Jack Daniels distillery.

Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee
Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

It’s located in a really beautiful part of the countryside, so we had a little wander of the grounds and the local shops before we set off on the tour.

Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Our group was number 7, rather fitting really, as the No.7 is their signature whiskey (although no one knows why it’s that number in particular!)

Jack Daniels Fire Brigade, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

The tour was really enjoyable – it was great seeing how the barrels were made, and I liked seeing the process, and other touches like how they have their own fire brigade. How adorable is that truck?

We went on the tasting tour, which meant we could sample a few of their whiskies for an extra $10. It’s well worth doing, because who would want to do a whiskey tour without getting to drink some after?

Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Out of the three we tried, I like the Gentleman Jack, and the latest release – The Tennessee Fire. I was really excited to have brought back a bottle of the latter for my boyfriend as it wasn’t coming out in the UK for another couple of months!

After the tour, we went back into Lynchburg proper to have a wander and get some food.

Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeBarrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeBarrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

I had some of the most delicious pulled pork nachos I have EVER had in my life. Although I did have to ask for more jalapenos about three times – not because the service wasn’t excellent (man, I miss that Southern service) – but because I like A LOT of jalapenos.

Pulled Pork Nachos, Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseePulled Pork Nachos, Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseePulled Pork Nachos, Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseePulled Pork Nachos, Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

In the town, we did a little souvenir shopping – make sure you go to the official Jack Daniels store as their prices are a lot more reasonable than the smaller stores there (a mistake I made!)

They also had a Jack Daniels ice cream – a twist on the classic rum and raisin – which I got stuck into. It was really delicious, and perfect for the warm weather!

Jack Daniels Ice Cream, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeJack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

It was a really lovely way to end my fleeting visit to Tennessee, and a great experience that I would thoroughly recommend!

Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Have you ever been to the Jack Daniels distillery? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!