Street stall dining in Battambang

Battambang is a culinary destination. There are varieties of fruits and vegetables native to this region that don't grow as well anywhere else. And the local preparation of many condiments and foods have a distinct character to them. Every night on the riverside, food vendors set up shop. On the far end of (further from the market than the tokalok, or fruit shake, stalls) is a routine stop whenever my colleagues and I are in town. I think two or three vendors cook the same thing but my colleagues prefer the family at the end; the woman in the picture below is the main cook and everyone else helps with other parts of the operation.  Grilled in banana leaves and eaten with rice, sangvaec* is a processed fish product made over the course of … [Read more...]

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

All's quiet in the Penh as celebrations to welcome the year of the Horse continue. It's our second chance to kick into gear those New Year's resolutions. But for those who truly excel at procrastination the biggest one is yet to come, Khmer New Year in April. … [Read more...]

Santa Claus has come to the Penh

Our son's first word (apart from mama and papa) was elephant - every time we pointed to an elephant in one of his books he'd say "peh-pet". Last year he was still a bit young to appreciate the celebration of Christmas, and was afraid of Santa Claus, even when he arrived with his favorite creature, Sambo the elephant. This year we milked that naughty/nice list idea cuz it works like a charm - it'll be a treat to watch this little boy on Christmas morning now that he knows better. Sambo, happily, is no longer a regular on Phnom Penh's busy riverside. He retired this year to a zoo. … [Read more...]

Christmas cards with a Khmer twist

I bought these cards at a Women's International Group (WIG) Christmas Fair a few years ago. On the back of the cards is a copyright for Global Art and Anita Dean who, from a quick google search, is the founder of Global Art, Phnom Penh. I wish they printed the name of the artist too. Anyway, I hope I'm not breaking any copyright rules by scanning and posting these beautiful cards. If anyone knows who the artist is, please leave a comment!   … [Read more...]

at the end of the work week – blue crabs for lunch in Kep’s Psar Kdam

It's always nice when work takes you down to the coast. This is our team's last trip to assess public health facilities. That we were in Kep was much appreciated! Kep is a small seaside province which has been designated a resort area so it is rapidly developing - see some photos of Kep on our Flickr. The crab market (Psar Kdam) is an especially big attraction. There are all manner of seafood on the grill for sale here. Ten squid on a stick cost 20000Riel (US$5). Whole chicken on the grill is around 30000Riel too. Big fish are around 8000-12000Riel each. Blue crabs are the signature catch for Kep, so we splurged on these for lunch on our last day. For small crabs we were able to haggle 18000Riel/kg (~US$2/lb). For 35000Riel/kg the crabs … [Read more...]

Maternity package rates at Bumrungrad (Bangkok) and St Luke’s hospital (Manila)

As of this writing, the exchange rate is 30 Baht=US $1. So a normal delivery package at Bumgrungrad is US $1,196, while a C-section birth is US $3100. I was quite impressed with my experience at Samitivej hospital for our first child's birth in 2011. I imagine the facilities in Bumrungrad, which is considered a higher-class (5star) facility, must be better. In comparison, when we had our daughter in March this year in St Luke's Hospital (Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Manila) the quote for a C-section delivery is PHP155,000-185,000 (US $3789-$4512) for 4-5 days' hospitalization including delivery, recovery and nursery room charges, medicines and supplies used in the delivery room, hospitalization expenses (private room) and professional … [Read more...]

Bumrungrad Hospital in pictures

It feels like we've been making a tour of hospitals this year. Six months ago we spent a lot of time in St Luke's Hospital in Manila (also considered a 5-star medical tourism hospital). I had the baby there while Keith had a series of cardiac checkups and screenings. We all had dental work done there too. Now, Keith was evacuated to Bangkok's Bumrungrad because of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. What a year. Well.. here is Bumrungrad in pictures. Compared to hospitals back home in NYC this looks like a nice hotel.   Other posts on this topic: Maternity package rates at Bumrungrad (Bangkok) and St Luke’s hospital (Manila) Sept 28, 2013 Having a baby in Manila vs. Having a baby in Bangkok (for … [Read more...]

things I love about Bangkok – Thai Iced Tea and Iced Green Tea

One iced tea costs 25 Baht (~US $0.83) from a street vendor just outside Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. … [Read more...]