A French Dinner At Van's Restaurant

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | Published in


On our second evening in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, our good friend and host brought us to a high class French restaurant called Van's Restaurant.

As we entered the premises, I realized the restaurant was located in a historical French colonial style building. In fact, the building was originally an Indochina Bank building dating as far back as 1898. It became the property of the Cambodian Van family in 1960 and served as the family residence for many years.

When the civil war broke out in 1970, the whole family fled the country leaving the youngest, 2 year old Porleng Van the last to escape with her sister Porlim. When the economy opened up in 2003, the Van family returned and Porleng restored the building and decided to open it to the public as a French restaurant.

We went up the stairs and came upon this gramophone.

I thought the gramophone blended perfectly with the French colonial architecture of the interiors.

The entrance into the Dining Room looked especially warm and welcoming.

As we stepped inside, I marveled at the interiors and the furniture.

I decided to take a few snapshots of the Dining Room.

There were not many customers at that time so I felt comfortable snapping away.

Soon we were all seated and the waiter took our orders.

We were given the complimentary bread.

My bread and butter. Yummy!

Our entrée was the French Onion Soup.

It was delicious!

We also ordered a bottle of red wine. Here's my glass of red wine which I enjoyed.

I had actually forgotten what I ate for my Main Course - it was more than a year ago! - but if not mistaken, it was Baked Lamb Sirloin. I only remember I kind of enjoyed it.

For dessert, I had the Soft Chocolate Apple Brownie with Cream Sauce.

It was sinfully delicious!

As with our hotel stay and our lunch, this dinner was again taken care of by our generous host. I have never ever dreamed of having a free French dinner in Cambodia, but that was what happened and I am really thankful.

The dinner sure helped me lift my depression after visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum hours earlier, but I guess we did not expect what was to come next!


An Evening At The Hungry Hog

Posted by : foongpc | Sunday, November 27, 2011 | Published in


Last evening, I went to The Hungry Hog in Subang Jaya for dinner with fellow bloggers Caroline, Eric and Dan Liew.

It was quite some time since I last met up with Dan (it was at Chili's in Mid Valley together with Haaziq - read HERE) so I was looking forward to this dinner. Besides, Eric and Caroline had been raving about the burgers at The Hungry Hog restaurant and I wanted to try it despite the fact that I am not a fan of burgers.

The menu was rather simple and basic with burgers, the mains, sides, salad and desserts. Sometimes, simple menu like this is better as you don't have difficulty making up your mind what to eat. You can read the menu HERE.

I chose 3 Little Pigs. What a cute name!! I feel hungry already hearing this name!

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos here as I was too lazy to bring along my camera. I had to make do with my iPhone 3Gs.

So why is it called 3 Little Pigs? Well, that's because it contains 3 ingredients - pork patty, streaky bacon and ham! It's the restaurant's signature pork burger. With added caramelized onions and melted cheese, biting into the pork burger was an almost heavenly experience. It was so yummy and satisfying! Did I just say I am not a fan of burgers? Smiley

Both Eric and Dan also ate the 3 Little Pigs. We all loved it!!

Caroline went for the Humpty Dumpty.

OK, that's another cute burger name! Don't you agree?

It's actually a burger with fried egg, streaky bacon and cheese. It looks delicious to me, although Caroline said it was just OK. I'm pretty sure Humpty Dumpty could not fight with the 3 Little Pigs though. Smiley

Eric ordered the siew yuk (crispy roasted pork belly) for all of us to share.

Oh my, the siew yuk was one of the best I have ever tasted! So succulent and juicy!!! It's even better when dipped in the green spicy sauce. I think I can eat the whole two slabs of the siew yuk all by myself! No sharing next time, thank you!

Eric had wanted to try the bacon ice cream but was unsure if he should. Of course with us there, the ice cream dessert was soon on the table.

The bacon ice cream was unique with bits of candied bacon buried in a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served with a drizzle of honey.

We just ordered one cup and shared amongst us. It was good, though not good enough to make me order another cup to be eaten all by myself! Or maybe it's because the food I had just eaten were high in calories and I would not want the ice cream to exceed my calorie limit for the day! Haha!

Here's a photo of Caroline and Dan. Did you see the polka dot butterfly on top of Caroline's head? Haha! If it's nice, please tell Caroline. If it's not, please keep it to yourself! LOL! Smiley

Eric was not in the picture as he was too busy fiddling with his hi-tech camera.

I had a great time - good dinner and great company - which is always wonderful!

The price at this restaurant was pretty affordable. My 3 Little Pigs cost only RM15.90 which is reasonable considering the very satisfying portion. Smiley

So if you like juicy pork burger and siew yuk (I recommend these two items very highly!) then do drop by The Hungry Hog! For the menu, location and contact number, check out The Hungry Hog website.

Christmas Time Is In The Air Again

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, November 25, 2011 | Published in


It's that time of the year again.

Can you smell it? Feel it? Taste it?

Yes! I am talking about the most wonderful time of the year - Christmas time.

And Christmas is coming early to my blog this year. Can you see the snow falling? Well, actually it's not really early. Today is exactly one month before Christmas Day. Since we can't have snow falling in Malaysia, then the least I can do is have snow falling in my blog! Haha!

The shopping malls around PJ and KL have started putting up Christmas decorations, although they were quite slow. I heard from my Filipino friends that the malls in Philippines were already playing Christmas songs as early as October! Wow!

Anyway, there is nothing that can put me into Christmas mood more than Christmas songs. So today I would like to share with you this wonderful, soulful, slightly jazzy song written and sung by my favourite singer, Mariah Carey. It's called Christmas Time Is In The Air Again.

This Christmas song, taken from Mariah's 2010 Merry Christmas II You album sounds like a classic to me (I almost can't believe she wrote this!) and evokes images of snowflakes, reindeers, christmas trees, snowman, and everything Christmas! Enjoy!

Note: The recording is not very good - you might want to turn up the volume a little.

Christmas time is in the air again
Christmas chimes reminding me of
When we fell like the snow
So deep in love
High above us the evergreens
Sparkle with lights and feel the breeze
As we made future Christmas memories.

Christmas shoppers glance at us and smile
'Cause the mistletoe is occupied
And the dream is to share
This Christmas cheer with you all year
And not wait till the morning
When Christmas time is in the air again.

Mr. Grinch simply can't resist
Warming up when he looks our way
Even Old Scrooge makes a Christmas wish
For a honey to hold Christmas day
And to feel love like ours always
La da da, da da dum

And the dream is to share
This Christmas cheer
With you all throughout the year
And not wait till the morning
When Christmas time is in the air
Christmas time is everywhere
Christmas time is in the air again.

Wishing on a Falling Star

My Visit To Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Part 2)

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Published in


Continued from Part 1

The Tuel Sleng Genocide Museum, previously a security prison known as S-21, has 4 main buildings, known as Building A, B, C and D.

Building A holds the large cells in which the bodies of the last victims were discovered. Building B contains galleries of photographs. Building C holds the rooms which were sub-divided into small cells for prisoners. Building D holds other memorabilia including instruments of torture.

After seeing the paintings by Van Nath, we went over to Building C. The ground floor of the building consists of single cells made of bricks.

I tried to take picture of a single cell unit but stopped short of stepping inside it. In some cells one can see iron chains and shackles but as I did not dare step into any of the unit, I did not take any photos of them.

As the S-21 security prison was formerly a high school, so what you see was actually a classroom that was divided into many tiny brick cells where prisoners were kept.

The chief of the prison was Khang Khek Leu (also known as Comrade Duch), who was a good friend of Pol Pot, leader of Khmer Rouge. Can you believe that Duch who was responsible for all the torture and killings in S-21, was a former mathematics teacher? If he had not been a good friend of Pol Pot, he would have probably been tortured and killed like all the others since the Khmer Rouge targeted educated people!

We then went up to the first floor of the building.

The first floor contains single cells made of wood.

As I walked past each wooden cell, I could imagine the horrors that happened here about more than 30 years ago. There were stories that prisoners were treated badly. They were given only four small spoonfuls of porridge and watery soup twice a day. Drinking water without getting the guards' approval would result in serious beatings.

I could not help feeling a little eerie walking past these cells that afternoon. Inside some of the cells and at corridors, I could see rice sprinkled on the floor. These rice were offerings to the spirits.

Many Cambodians believe the ghosts of the victims continue to haunt the place. I do not doubt it.

We went up to the second floor. It was used for mass detention. Barbed wires were placed there to prevent desperate prisoners from committing suicide.

Inside each room were thousands of photos of the victims. Some photos had notes that you can read. I felt emotional reading the stories. I refused to take any pictures of the victims as I felt uncomfortable having such pictures in my camera.

Below is a picture taken from the Internet.

Image courtesy of Thinking About Exhibits

I had to step out of the room to take a breather. I was feeling very down, almost depressed. It was as if the whole place wanted to drag you down with it.

We then went to Building D where we saw the instruments of torture used by the guards. I did not even want to take photos of them! Looking at the tools and imagining how they were used to torture the victims were too much for me to stomach!

Outside Building D, there was a grave dedicated to 14 victims found in Building A.

They were probably the last ones killed by the agents of S-21.

When prisoners were first brought to Tuol Sleng, they were made aware of 10 rules they had to follow during their incarceration. The rules were simply horrible! I took a snapshot of the 10 rules posted on The Security Of Regulation board. Please click on the photo to enlarge the image for easy reading. (The imperfect grammar was a result of faulty translation from the original Khmer)

Having seen with my own eyes the horror of this genocide, I was wondering if the leaders of Khmer Rouge would ever be punished and if Cambodians would somehow be healed from this dreadful history of their nation. There are Cambodians who had lost whole families, and I doubt they would ever find closure to this horrible event.

Meantime, the trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders is still ongoing. Pol Pot, the leader, had died under house arrest in 1998 at the age of 72. The remaining ones being tried are former Deputy Secretary of Khmer Rouge Nuon Chea, 84, former Head of State and Chairman of the party’s Central Committee Khieu Samphan, 79, former foreign minister Ieng Sary, 85, and his wife Ieng Thirith, 79. All four have pleaded non guilty.

Upon my return from Cambodia last July, I read a piece of news that stuck out like a sore thumb. Duch, the S-21 prison chief, had just been convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but was reduced to 19 years for time served. That was absurd! How can a man responsible for thousands of deaths be sentenced to only 35 years? He should be getting life imprisonment!

NOTE : Coincidently, after I put up this post, the news came out the next day that the trial of the remaining 4 Khmer Rouge leaders had resumed. The four had tried to shift the blame to the late Pol Pot. I sincerely hope that justice for the Cambodian people will be found and that they will finally have closure. Follow latest development HERE.