Food being the main motivating force that gets the boss and I out of bed in the morning, we always search for great places to eat when we travel.
After a couple of false starts in Siem Reap, we were fortunate to discover the Haven.
Haven is a training restaurant for young adult orphans (orphans, half orphans and abandoned children) started by Swiss couple Sara & Paul Wallimann.
Haven gives these orphans a vocational training in hospitality or as a cook, teaches them life skills and supports them in their transition from institution to real world.
The food is superb and the restaurant so popular that you must book in advance for dinner and sometimes for lunch as well.
We phoned up and managed to get a table for lunch as long as we arrived within 15 mins ( when good food is on offer we can be anywhere in 15 mins!).
Haven is a small place a short walk from the famous ( some say infamous) Pub Street.
We were greeted on arrival by a young girl with a welcoming smile and guided to our table outside in a small garden area lined with banana plants and shaded by a sail awning.
After making our choices from the menu there then followed one of the best meals we have enjoyed in a very long time. In fact so good that we immediately booked a table for the following days lunch ( dinner already being fully booked).
On day 2 I remembered to carry my camera to photograph the food.
For a starter we ordered the delicious green mango salad, but so excited were we to eat it that I forgot to take a photo before it was finished!
Next I ordered the pan-fried fish with green mango salad ( now you can see it) on a bed of fried potatoes and home-made mayo.
The Boss had a Khmer Chicken Curry.
For dessert we had the divine yellow bean dumplings in hot coconut milk with ginger.
It takes a little time to prepare but the wait is worth it!
Then to finish I decided to try the fruit infused rice wine from a local company called Sombai
Sombai was started by a lady from Mauritius who infuses locally sourced fruits and spices into the rice wine.
I am not normally a fan of rice wine but sometimes on holiday one tends to live dangerously. This one was however very very nice. I chose the cinnamon and banana flavor and really enjoyed it.
The other available flavours are Anise-Coffee, Coconut-Pineapple, Galangal – Tamarind, Ginger – Red Chili, Green Tea – Orange, Lemon – Lemongrass, Mango – Green Chili.
The rice wine comes in beautifully hand painted bottles and would make great souvenir gifts (Obviously once you have drunk the wine inside!)
Rather than knock it back in one, it was very nice to sip slowly and ensured that I would be in a very good mood for the afternoon’s sight seeing.