Siem Reap, Day 5: Shopping + More Food Trip

r. Kim fetched us before lunch so that we could eat (again) in IL FORNO.

When we got there, we decided to eat in the same spot where we dined 3 days ago. One of the servers and Marzio, the owner, recognized us and smiled at us. Was it too obvious that we love their food?

FEBRUARY 23, 2016

Our last day in Siem Reap was just spent shopping and eating. We woke up quite late since we did not have anything important in our itinerary then Mr. Kim fetched us before lunch so that we could eat (again) in IL FORNO.

When we got there, we decided to eat in the same spot where we dined 3 days ago. One of the servers and Marzio, the owner, recognized us and smiled at us. Was it too obvious that we love their food? 🙂

We ordered pesto (for pasta), cheese platter, and pizza al funghi. I am semi lactose intolerant so I don’t know why I initiated ordering the cheese platter. Everything in our plate (taleggio, spicy primo sale, gorgonzola, mozzarella, honey, nuts, pears) tasted good, although I ended up regretting a little bit why I ate too much of them.

The home-made tagliolini al pesto was excellent! Not too oily and you could really taste that fresh herbs were used for this. Serving was just good for one (hungry) person though so good thing we still ordered a pizza.

We were supposed to order one main dish but the waiter (who was familiar to us) told us that we would not be able to finish our food if we ordered a main dish. At first we were skeptical but turned out that he was right.

It was good that they were consistent with how they made their pizza — a tiny hint of burnt crust, thin and chewy, and generous with the toppings. We enjoyed our pizza al funghi and even if we already finished the cheese platter and pasta, we were able to eat all pizza slices. *oink?*

Homemade tagliolini al pesto
Cheese platter (gorgonzola, taleggio, spicy primo sale, fior de latte mozzarella, olives, honey, nuts, pears)

While eating, we were trying to plan having an early dinner before we go to the airport. But when we finished our lunch at past 2PM, we were too full already and we could feel that we would not yet be hungry by 5:30PM.

We walked around the area and did some last minute shopping after lunch. After that, we walked to BLOSSOM CAFE AND TRAINING CENTRE for desserts.

The place is best known for cupcakes that are “too beautiful to eat, too delicious to resist”, as their tagline says. Indeed, their cupcakes looked really pretty! Plus they offer a lot of flavors so if you have a sweet tooth, it will be difficult to choose which one to eat. But, what is more interesting about Blossom Cafe is that this is also run by an NGO that provides assistance to Cambodian women through vocational training. Similar to Marum Restaurant. 🙂

We stayed there until 5PM, and Mr. Kim fetched us so that we could pack the items we bought that afternoon. Before we bid goodbye, we had an obligatory picture taking. Yay! Let me give you a quick rundown why we deem Mr. Kim (of Kim Cambodia Driver) as one of the best tuktuk drivers in Siem Reap:

  • Responds promptly in e-mails
  • Can negotiate rates, even volunteers discount — case in point, his rates do not include sunrise & sunset viewing in Angkor Park but he gave these for free for our 2 days in the main Angkor Park complex (i.e. those days not in Banteay Srei/Kbal Spean)
  • Unlimited COLD water! Very much appreciated especially during our temple run days. He had a small cooler in his tuktuk and even during the afternoon, water bottles were still cold.
  • Very flexible in terms of pick-up/drop-off arrangements — initially we only booked him for Angkor Park trips but we ended up getting him as our tuktuk driver for the WHOLE TRIP, including non-temple run days; there were also a few occasions when we changed our mind on pick-up/drop-off time and he was okay with the changes
  • Punctual, already waiting in front of the house even before call time
  • Recommends activities in case you have free time and no itinerary yet. I remember he showed us brochure for Flight of the Gibbon and Phare, the Cambodian Circus. We did not avail any of the activities since we felt that our itinerary was already enough, but in case interested, he can buy the tickets since he knows locals working there.
  • Very caring as he bought us free unripe mangoes and a local snack (sticky rice inside a bamboo shoot)
  • Cheerful guy, he likes to laugh and smile during conversations

After having our photos with him, we also had one taken with our Airbnb host, Bunthai. As I mentioned in my first post for Siem Reap travel series, you won’t regret booking with her. I provided a review for her listing as well (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5140353).

At around 6PM, Mr. Somnang fetched us and drove us to the airport. Ride was about 20 minutes and we got there, we found out that check-in would still be 8:30 or 9PM. There was only one restaurant outside the airport — not in the mood for the food they offer, no Wi-Fi so Kim and I kept on regretting out loud how we were not able to eat in Il Forno for dinner…

aThen, Kim had a bright idea — call Mr. Kim to pick us up at the airport and bring us to Il Forno. And so we did. Good thing Mr. Kim was available at that time so after about 30 minutes of waiting, he arrived at the airport and we rode his tuktuk again. Hooray to spontaneity?!

When we reached Il Forno, the place was jam-packed! Good thing there were 2 seats left and it was amazing because it was “our” spot, the table where we ate for the past 2 occasions. Marzio approached us and we told him that we wanted gnocchi and a main dish. Unfortunately, he told us that we would have to wait for 40 minutes because the orders ahead of us were for big groups. I think we were unable to hold back our sad + disappointed looks since he suddenly said that if he could give us pizza quickly, especially because we had a flight to catch. We were already happy with that since we absolutely loved the pizza  at this place so we ordered Pizza Ricca.

It usually takes 10-15 minutes for the pizza to arrive so we kept ourselves busy with chatting. We were surprised though that 5 minutes after ordering, the pizza was already served to us. We looked if they brought the wrong order but it was Pizza Ricca. We were deeply moved by their concern and service for us, which made the pizza taste even better. The pizza was still cooked perfectly, not undercooked, so we kind of thought if this was an order for another table and they just gave it to us since we were in a hurry. Now that kind of concern and service is something that you won’t be able to experience in all dining places. Before we left, we just had to give our biggest thanks to Marzio for the impeccable service they provided us.

Pizza Ricca

After our wonderful dinner at Il Forno, Mr. Kim drove us back to the airport and this time, for real, we bid farewell to each other. Flight back to Manila was not delayed, thankfully. Kim had an awesome foreigner seatmate who is working here in MNL. We exchanged some stories of our Siem Reap trip and he gave me advice for my BKK trip for March. Even until the end, we still got to talk to a fellow traveler which was really cool for me. 🙂

Despite the intense heat, Siem Reap will be a majestic place for me and the kindness of the people is something that I will never forget. Til the next time we see each other again, Siem Reap!

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Before I end this post, a big shout out to my best friend, Kim, who made this trip very memorable! Even if we are total opposites when it comes to traveling — I’m a planner, she is more spontaneous — we really had good chemistry. No bickering, no negative feelings, just pure fun and kulitan. Cheers to our first awesome travel… and cheers to more travels together in the future! ❤

 

LINKS TO OTHER SIEM REAP 2016 POSTS:

Siem Reap, Day 0-1: Angkor Archaeological Park – 8 Park Stops in 1 Day

Siem Reap, Day 2: Il Forno, Quad Adventure Cambodia, Miss Wong, Pub Street

Siem Reap, Day 3: 10 Park Stops in 1 Day, Touich Restaurant

Siem Reap, Day 4: Outskirts of Angkor Park, Bugs Cafe, Lemongrass Garden Massage

Siem Reap, Day 2: Food Trip, Shopping, and ATV Ride

We walked to Il Forno (located in the alley beside Red Piano) for lunch, and we were both excited to eat since we love Italian food.

Also excited for our ATV ride with QUAD ADVENTURE CAMBODIA.

FEBRUARY 20, 2016

Kim and I started our 2nd day quite late since it was a day off for us for Angkor Park. Mr. Kim, our tuktuk driver, picked us up from our house at past 9AM and dropped us at Pub Street. Since we had not yet eaten breakfast, we went around the area and found Father’s Restaurant. I told Kim that I saw a few blogs recommending the place but I could not recall what dishes were recommended. We decided to go inside and just order what we feel like eating…

We were lucky that both food items we ordered tasted good. I had to remove a few herbs from the fresh spring rolls since these made the food cloying to me. After our late breakfast, we visited every stall in the market near Pub Street so that we could shop for souvenirs.

We walked to Il Forno (located in the alley beside Red Piano) for lunch afterwards, and we were both excited to eat since we love Italian food.

Our same spot in Il Forno when we dined twice during our last day in Siem Reap
Pizza Prosciutto & Funghi
Ravioli That’s Amore – part of their special menu that week; homemade ravioli stuffed with parma ham and ricotta served with cherry tomato and rucola

The pizza was so good and we ended up finishing all slices. Both Kim and I do not eat crust but Il Forno’s pizza crust was thin and chewy so we also got to eat this part. Of course, we did not pass up the chance to order ravioli as this is another favorite of ours. After our excellent lunch, we found out that there were a few more stalls nearby so we shopped for pasalubong clothes.

We also visited the Day Market which was a few blocks away. I was able to buy a small legit leather bag for my mom. The kind vendor gave me a discount of USD 15 (from USD 35 to 20) so yay for that!

Even if it was just early afternoon, the heat was already unbearable so we decided to eat ice cream in Blue Pumpkin. I saw a lot of people raving about it so I had high expectations. Well, the ice cream was good but not really something that I would hype about. The air-conditioned store was heaven though because it kept us safe from the heat. T.T

After finishing our ice cream, we asked Mr. Kim to take us back home so that we could rest before our ATV ride scheduled for late afternoon. We asked him to pick us up again at 4PM then drop us off near Red Piano since that was our meeting place with an employee from QUAD ADVENTURE CAMBODIA.

We found Nico (the employee) and his tuktuk near Red Piano, and he drove us to a part of Siem Reap that already resembled countryside. Once there, we were given orientation on the sunset ATV ride we availed (USD 32). Since Kim and I do not drive a car and have never tried riding an ATV, we were given an ATV drive test. We both failed so we ended up with a guide riding behind us so that they could maneuver the ATV if it was already difficult for us.

The whole ride took about an hour. The best part with the ATV ride was we can stop whenever we want to, if we wanted to take pictures or just admire the view.

We also passed by a lot of locals and most of the kids we encountered happily waved to us. Hopefully, they were not too disturbed by the loud noise that the ATV made. Our first stop was at a big fish pond where we could feed the fish…

We rode our ATV again afterwards and proceeded to our last stop where we could watch the sun set…

Beautiful sunset to end our day

When we finished our ATV ride, Nico drove us back to Pub Street since Kim and I plan to feel the night life in this place. We ate at TRIANGLE where the dining area was out in the open. We ordered fresh spring rolls, barbecue, and flat noodles that was cooked like pancit here… Only the spring rolls tasted good. It was such a letdown because the place has a TripAdvisor sticker + their specialty is grilled food. The meat in the barbecue was too tough to chew and the veggies on the stick were quite soggy. As for the flat noodles, it tasted bland. *sigh*

Good thing we would drop by MISS WONG after this so we decided to just order food there aside from cocktails…

We ordered these cocktails and two servings of Steamed Shrimp Har Gow. If it was not that expensive, we would have ordered more servings. I liked the Passion Fruit Cosmopolitan I ordered but the alcohol was too strong for me. I still ended up with palpitations even if I added water into it. T.T Kim’s Lemon Grass Collins was better since it did not have strong alcohol kick and taste.

We went to another drinking place after this but only Kim ordered a mug of beer since it would be bad for me if I did the same. Not a fan of beer anyway so I did not mind. We walked around Pub Street some more before meeting up with Mr. Kim…

While walking back to our tuktuk, Mr. Kim pointed to the fried ice cream stall. We initially wanted to buy here earlier but the stall was still closed. We looked at Mr. Kim and told him we would buy one before going home. We found the serving to be good for sharing at that time since we were quite full already. We chose mango and dragon fruit to be mixed together then had mango bits as toppings. Oh, it was perfect for the humid weather. We were able to gobble it up after a few bites while riding our tuktuk on the way home.

Called it a night after arriving at our house as we had to get up early the following day to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

 

LINKS TO OTHER SIEM REAP 2016 POSTS:

Siem Reap, Day 0-1: Angkor Archaeological Park – 8 Park Stops in 1 Day

Siem Reap, Day 3: 10 Park Stops in 1 Day, Touich Restaurant

Siem Reap, Day 4: Outskirts of Angkor Park, Bugs Cafe, Lemongrass Garden Massage

Siem Reap, Day 5: Il Forno x2, Blossom Cafe and Training Centre