Monday is for Reminiscing: Peace Cafe Cooking Class & Angkor Wat

Ah, VeganMoFo. Convincing me to reflect and scroll through my digital photos, page by page, memory by memory. During the preparation for my much-referenced but seldom documented hiatus last winter, I felt a pull towards Cambodia (especially after pouring over this) so strong that I decided to spend the holidays there, by myself. It’s difficult for me to put a lot, and even a little, of those travels and experiences and reflections into words – and it’s been nearly a year now, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I’ve spent the past few years doing a lot of versatile event planning on a fairly non-stop basis (on top of that whole long-running, soul-sucking office job I had then), and it was time to take a break and let my inner whimsy run free, nearly every day. I had studied abroad in college a decade before, with some now nearly-forgotten wandering across Europe, but nothing like this. 

Enjoying one of my final coconuts.

Anyhow, as for an experience I can document, at the recommendation of my wonderful friend Bahar, who I was fortunate enough to literally run into on the streets of Bangkok (I knew she was there, but still!), I made sure to stop by Peace Cafe when I was in Siem Reap, a vegetarian cafe, bakery, juice bar and community center all-in-one, for one of their hands-on, personal cooking classes.  I made a long afternoon out of things, starting with a vibrant juice, learning about Cambodian vegetarian cuisine, enjoying what was likely the most generous meal of my entire trip, and finishing, appropriately, with a mug of cold Angkor beer. I couldn’t get enough of that beer. Or amok. Or Cambodia. Or traveling – but I digress.

Photos, dishes and more below. 


Siem Reap River

Downtown bicycle parking

Downtown strolling

I was partial to hopping on the backs of motorbikes whenever I could put my giant backpack down…

A note from the staff at my guesthouse

Shadow of Angkor I: one of the nicest guesthouses I stayed in on my travels

Siem Reap River

On the right path

The amazing menu cover at Peace Cafe

Fresh juice to start

After three weeks of traveling, it was so fun to use a kitchen again.

Summer rolls

Green Papaya Salad

The first step of any real Cambodian amok, making your own curry paste:

The second, using grown-on-site ingredients:

On the stove..

Traditional Cambodian amok features fish steamed in banana leaves with a curried sauce – the vegetarian (and all dishes at the class were vegan) take, which I enjoyed variations of elsewhere in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, as well, often included tofu, peppers, eggplant, coconut milk, homemade curry paste (which you see being created above), fresh herbs and greens.

I love this dish.

Served with brown rice and sliced cucumber


My lovely instructor:

Yeah, I want this in my living room.

One cannot consume enough fresh mango when it is local:

After the class, I sat down to my feast and…

Siem Reap temple

From Angkor Wat….



With half of MoFo ahead, I just may share some more from my time in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Otres Beach, in addition to Thailand and Laos, with even more delicious amok from Chamkar and Treez, to name a couple.


  1. This extremely popular restaurant located near the capital’s ferry terminal with stunning river views serves Cambodian and Western fare. No dish will set you back more than 7USD. Serving everything from pizza and tacos to couscous on its Western menu, Bopha also dishes up exotic Khmer cuisine, including the Cambodian signature dish of fish amok – a steamed curry served in banana leaves. There is also an impressive vegetarian menu. Bopha Phnom Penh’s official address is Sisowath Quay, “next to the Ferry Port” where boats depart for Siem Reap. It is just north of the riverside district. Make reservations by calling 855 23 42 72 09 or 855 92 64 63 61. Alcohol available.

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