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Food Odyssey

Fried Crab on Kampot Pepper Sauce in Kep, Cambodia Nov 2, 2014

Fried Crab on Kampot Pepper Sauce in Kep, Cambodia

GPS waypoint: 10°29'14.6"N 104°17'20.9"E
Location: Kep, Cambodia

A Must!
I've already zeroed-in on Kep when I was Kampot since it was only 30 minutes away. But I didn't really know what to do there until yoga buddy, Willerie, advised that I should not miss having a crab meal cooked in Kampot pepper sauce. Hmmm. Now she really got my attention.

Walkabout
After a $2 30-min bus ride, I was on a beach in Kep. I asked a beautiful German lady, Patricia, a few essentials to get my bearing (actually, it was just my 'in' to have a conversation with her). She was kind enough to oblige. From there on, I took the 2 km walk to the crab market where I knocked on a few resort doors en route to see if I could interest them to what I do on the internet - nothing came out of it.

Ms. Cheat's Crab Kitchen
At the crab market, I did my rounds on the beachfront restaurants about price and serving portions - which ranged from $5 to $8 per serving. The owner of Crab Kitchen, Ms. Cheat, said she'll give me big size crabs if I eat at her place. She also assured me that I would get more value on her $7 price tag than the other $5 offers. I told her if she does that and I enjoy my meal, I will tell the whole world about my meal. She smiled and took me to the beachfront table to await my crab dish.

Crab on Kampot Pepper
When the crab was served, I was pleasantly surprised. The serving was generous and the plating could rival that of a nouvelle cuisine restaurant. There was an abundance of Kampot green pepper still racked together like strands of DNA adorning the crab dish. A bite into one explodes inside the mouth, giving the crab a new dimension on the palate. With two sizeable crabs (alimasag, not alimango...Philippine talk), it took some effort to finish the whole thing. I could lick my plate dry when done. I told Ms. Cheat how much I enjoyed her meal. In appreciation, she even gave me two mangoes to go!

Bicycling Around
I went back to the beach area and rented out a bicycle ($2/day) and biked it to the other direction, Kep Market. I didn't see anything interesting there...or perhaps it was the wrong time to be in the market. There was a brewing storm with strong winds. I headed back. But on the way, a tuk-tuk was slowly passing by. I waved to the driver if I could latch along. He gave the ok sign. Cool! I hung tight on the tuk-tuk as it pulled me and my bike all the way into town. This was another highlight. It was just a day tour of Kep so I didn't get the chance to explore the town some more. I was told that Kep was more expensive than Kampot. But there was still a $4 dorm bed available. Mostly though, bungalows are the lodging choice.

Ending Thoughts
Synergy in food doesn't happen everyday. But to be in Kep where you get the best and freshest crab, and have it cooked in Kampot pepper, the best pepper there is on this hemisphere, well, how cool is that? This meal is unforgettable. I'm glad I didn't go cheap on this one (like going for the cheaper $5 but with smaller crabs). Also, I'm sure my rapport with Ms. Cheat went a long way in making that meal as wonderful as it was. Exalted with a higher benchmark in gastronomical indulgence, I set forth to new lands in search of the next memorable meal!

After Kep, it was time to leave Kampot altogether.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

the bus dropped me off at Kep Beach the lovely Patricia who was the first one I met in Kep Kep is hammock town...every eating place offers a hammock the beach was still deserted...still too early
the tree-lined winding road to the crab market...it's a good 2 kilometer walk..maybe longer the sugar cane juice man...$.50 a cup fishing is a pastime in Kep an array of restaurants lined up at the crab market
Kampot Pepper at the market - black, red, white and green hustle and bustle inside the crab market fresh harvest crabs couldn't tell what the monument is...no English
grilled everything - stingray, shrimp, squid, fish, etc. with Ms. Cheat and her fried crab on Kampot Pepper zooming-in...check-out the green pepper sample menu at Crab Kitchen
back to the market, exploring what's there these are the bigger crabs...alimango (Phil name) taking a rest on the walk back to the beach center sun was up, the beachcombers come in droves and the vendors seek shelter from the heat
I believe this is a statue of Lok Yeay Mao, a heroine in  Khmer mythology didn't really want to order anything but I wanted to be on a hammock. I offered to pay $1 the two mangoes Ms. Cheat gave me grapefruit is about $.75. They cut it up for you and provide their spicy lime sauce
the Rock Royal Resort, one of many plush hotels lined up on the beach in front of the 'Welcome to Kep' crab landmark riding a bike is one of the best ways to explore Kep, $2/day on the other direction of the Crab Market is the Kep Market, about 5 kms away. If you have to make a choice, choose the Crab Market

Kep Cost Index (US$1 = Riel 4000 = Php 44)

Kep is generally more expensive than Kampot being a beach area
  • $2 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  • $1 draft beer
  • $0.25 sugar cane juice in a plastic cup
  • $4/day cheap dorm lodging
  • $5-$10 crab dish on Kampot Pepper
  • $6 Khmer massage
  • $.75 whole grapefruit

Kep FYI / Tips

  • currency conversion: $1 = P44 = Cambodian riel R4,000
  • no need to convert your dollars into riel. All establishments in Cambodia accepts US dollars.
  • Kep is a beach town...bring swim wear, sun block, beach towel, etc.
  • most eating places offer a hammock within your eating space...beach life!

How to Get to Kep from Kampot

  1. Kep is only 30 minutes away from Kampot. You can book the bus through your hotel, $2. From Kep, the last trip going back to Kampot is around 7pm. Best to secure your booking back.

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Nov 2, 2014

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