Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eating Ice Cream in Siem Reap

When I was planning my trip to Cambodia I hadn't really given any thought to ice cream, but a tip on Chowhound pointed me to Blue Pumpkin, and I took the bait.

Blue Pumpkin is a popular bakery/cafe whose original branch in the Old Market/Pub Street area has a sleek, modern downstairs area and a futuristic stark white upstairs room. They've branched out and have a number of outlets in town, some for frozen treats only. Blue Pumpkin is a true local success story (though I don't know if it's Khmer or foreign-owned).

The ice creams are moderately creamy, with a reasonably pleasant texture--quite respectable, though nothing to rival the best Italian, French or American artisanal ice creams in the body department. But the flavors can be intriguing, and some are memorable.

My first time out I started with two scoops, caramel-pecan and four spice. The four spice was fabulous, though I can't identify the spices (I suppose likely candidates include nutmeg, cinnamon and clove). The caramel-pecan had a deep, slightly bitter/burnt creme caramel flavor.

I made two subsequent visits, for the sake of my readers, of course, and tried single-scoop cones. The star anise and Kulen honey was good, though with only a hint of anise flavor, mostly honey--I was hoping for a more prominent star anise presence. Apparently the honey from Cambodia's Kulen highlands is quite prized. Banana-galangal was excellent, with fresh bananas mixed in. The galangal element was subtle, but may have added a certain tartness. And the waffle cones are good too.

So if you go to Siem Reap, visit Angkor Wat and eat prahok, but leave time and room for ice cream.


Anonymous janko said...

One of the best Ice creams, I have ever eaten

10:37 AM  

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