Review: Naga Gate Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap

Early in November this year, me and 3 of my good friends from elementary and high school traveled to Siem Reap to see the majestic temples of Angkor. The city of Siem Reap is rapidly expanding. There are new infrastructures being built everywhere from hotels and residences to high-rising commercial buildings.

So, in keeping with our budget while exploring a new place with comfort, we stayed at Naga Gate Boutique Hotel, a new nicely designed contemporary hotel in Siem Reap.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

It is conveniently located along Makara St, Chun Lung Village. It’s 2 km away from the city centre, but it’s easy to get around – about 7 minutes by tuktuk ride to the PUB Street, the place to be if you need a range of options for restaurants and for evening entertainment in Siem Reap.

The tuktuks that picked us up. Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Arrival – at the hotel’s reception. Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Upon arrival they picked me up at the bus station, and they picked my friends up at the airport. At the hotel, the staff were very welcoming and we were greeted with a towel and a complimentary welcome cocktail – it was so refreshing!

Me…enjoying the complimentary welcome cocktail by the pool. 🙂

Since we were 5, we opted to stay in a Family Interconnecting Pool View Room so that we would have ample time to catch up since we haven’t seen each other for so many years (2 of them I haven’t seen for 18 years and for 14 years). The rooms are interconnected to each other and there was enough space for everybody. It was very spacious, very tidy and very comfortable.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Our room has 1 large double bed, 2 extra double beds, 2 private bathrooms and a bathtub. The beds were very comfortable; it’s firm and pretty good for your back. The blanket is thick and soft too, and the pillows are fluffy.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

The windows are huge to ensure sunlight when you need it. It has a sitting area – a small couch, a small round table and 2 chairs where we could relax or do some work.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Our rooms were well furnished with 2 safety deposit boxes, 2 flat screen TVs with cable channels, 2 small refrigerators, 2 air conditioners, 2 kettles. Other extras include free toiletries, 5 bathrobes, slippers and many more.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel has also a lovely restaurant which offers Cambodian and western cuisine. We had breakfast there and it was super – plenty of choice and very generous portions. The food was fresh, healthy and luscious.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

I highly recommend the chicken soup. My friends and I loved their salad, too, as well as their coffee and fresh homemade fruit juice.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

Photo credit to my friend, Carl G. Fernandez.

What I loved about Naga Gate was its facilities. They have a nice sea water swimming pool with sun loungers as well as a fitness center and a spa. Due to our hectic schedule, I never got to try out the gym and massage. The hotel facilities are excellent – keeping with any top class hotel, and provides free strong WiFi which is accessible everywhere in the hotel.

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Photo credit to my friend, Julie Ann D. Manzano.

Photo credit to my friend, Julie Ann D. Manzano

Early splash in the pool, 6AM. 🙂

The staff were absolutely lovely and always greeted us with a beautiful smile. We like the kindness and politeness of the staff. They were attentive – always there to help us, and they really tried to make sure that our stay would be a special one.

with the staff of the hotel.

The best thing about Naga Gate is definitely its price. A room, complete with breakfast and complimentary use of swimming pool, as well as a discount to services like massage. Talk about good value for money! 🙂

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel

Naga Gate Boutique Hotel is certainly a true oasis – quiet, fabulous and a real touch of luxury! It’s chic and cosy in a busy street but managed to remain remote from the noise and movement of the city. Its location, helpful staff and its facilities, not to mention its affordable rate, makes it the perfect place for family and friends visiting the gateway to the ruins of Angkor.

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Taste of Home: Baked French Omelet

Ever since I was a small child I love omelets! I enjoy to eat this dish for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. I just stuffed it with the vegetables I like or cheese and it makes a super yummy meal.

Baked French Omelet

My mom has always made incredible omelets and since I was in elementary she taught me how to make it – her way, the Filipino way. But, through the years, and as I continue to immerse myself into different cultures, I learned several ways of making omelet.

At the moment, the oven baked French omelet, which I learned from Alan, is the one that inspires me the most especially when they are perfectly baked and stuffed with cooked fresh yumminess of carrots, tomatoes onions, ham and cheese – it’s downright healthy, absolutely delicious and gorgeously sumptuous.

Fresh eggs, fresh vegetables and fresh ham – combine them in such a pleasant way, would definitely inspires you to get up early in the morning, and probably not any kind of omelet you may have encountered before.

One technique to make this elegant bright yellow cheesy-doused omelet is to whip the egg mixture until it is very foamy. The mixture will still be foamy while coking, so that the bubbles of air trapped inside will expand while in the oven making the omelet lighter.

Baked French Omelet

If you wish to try this melt-in-your-mouth egg dish, here’s a simple recipe: I hope you enjoy eating the way we savor it.

Ingredients good for 6 servings:

  • 10 fresh medium-sized chicken eggs
  • 300 grams of ham, cut into thin stripes
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 1 kilogram of tomatoes, diced
  • 200 grams of Emmental cheese, grated
  • ½ cup of milk
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Method:

Step 1: Prepare the ham and vegetables mixture.

  • Cook the tomatoes and onion in the pan.
  • When it’s half-cooked add the carrots.
  • When it’s fully cooked, add the ham. Stir occasionally.
  • Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the egg mixture.

  • Put all the eggs in a big bowl.
  • Add salt, pepper and a bit of milk.
  • Whip the mixture until it is very foamy.

Step 3: Putting together.

  • Put the egg mixture in an oven dish.
  • Add the vegetables and ham.
  • Stir until it becomes homogenous.

Step 4: Bake it.

  • Put it in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes.
  • Ten minutes before the dish is cooked, add the cheese on top.

Step 5: Et Voila! Serve, share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Chicken Fajitas

I love cooking Chicken Fajitas! And, it’s the family’s favourite too!

Chicken Fajitas

It’s a feast of flavours and colours! It looks so colorful and so pretty. It’s mouth-watering, tasty and healthy!

We love it even more because it’s as easy as pie to cook and perfect for parties.

Indeed, I’m tickled pink to share with you my colorful recipe.

Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients good for 6 servings:

Marinade:

  • 400 grams of boneless chicken breast, cut in stripes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 10 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 piece jalapeno, seeded and cut in stripes

Fajitas vegetables:

  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper, cut into thin stripes
  • 1 medium-sized red bell pepper, cut into thin stripes
  • 1 medium-sized yellow bell pepper, cut into thin stripes
  • 1 medium-sized onion, cut into thin stripes

Fajitas vegetables

Methods:

Step 1: Prepare the marinade. In a mixing bowl, put in the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, salt, garlic, cilantro, spring onions, and jalapeno. Mix thoroughly. Add the chicken. Combine it well. Marinade it for about 15 minutes or, if you can, marinade it longer or overnight, the better so that the chicken could absorb the mixture.

Step 2: Sautéed the vegetables. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Put in the vegetables. Stir occasionally, and sautéed it for about 3 minutes. Put it on a plate.

Step 3: Cook the meat. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same frying pan. Put in the meat. Stir occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir. Add a small glass of water, and cook it for about 10 minutes over high heat.

Step 4: Putting together. When the meat is cooked, add the sautéed vegetables. Mix well. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Step 5: Serve, share and enjoy. Put the chicken fajitas to a large bowl, and serve with warmed tortillas, guacamole, and tomato salsa.

Taste of Home: Chicken with Lemon Pepper Cream Sauce

Chicken with lemon pepper cream sauce is a new addition to family’s food favorite – it’s lemony, creamy, peppery, and tasty.

Chicken with lemon pepper cream sauce

Here are the reasons why we love this dish:

  • We love the freshly crashed Kampot peppercorns and the combination of pepper and lemon as it creates a really wonderful full flavor.
  • It’s an easy-to-make meal – easy enough to make it for a weeknight but gorgeous enough to make for a special occasion.
  • The velvety consistency of the sauce transforms our table into chic and elegant French dining room.

In my recipe, I use boneless, skinless chicken breast and fry it quickly about 3 to 4 minutes each side. I also add a wee bit of salt and some complementary spices like garlic and shallots for more flavor. In addition, I use Emmental cheese as it is fruity and tastier than cheddar and it doesn’t taste strong. It is best served with hot steamed rice, or steamed fresh vegetables like asparagus or broccoli, or sautĂ©ed spinach.

If you do not have a lemon pepper powder spice you can make your own lemon pepper powder by using pepper powder, garlic powder, salt,  and lemon juice of half a lemon. Then mix it well together.

It’s definitely a dish that would make everyone happy.

Chicken with lemon pepper cream sauce

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 100 grams Emmental cheese, grated
  • 206 grams of fresh cooking cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper powder
  • 1 small cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Seasoning: (substitute in case you do not have lemon pepper powder)

  • Lemon juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chicken with lemon pepper cream sauce

Method:

  1. Season both sides of the chicken with lemon pepper powder.
  2. Put some olive oil on a pan in a high heat. Spread the oil on a pan and get it hot.
  3. Cook the chicken. Wait until the chicken turns into a beautiful golden brown caramelized color. Flip over the chicken. Cook each side of the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, deglazed the pan with a little bit of water and let it boil just to get all those flavor that stick in pan.
  5. Put in some of your favorite cheese.
  6. Add fresh cooking cream. Mix well.
  7. Add some spring onion and parsley. Mix everything well together.
  8. Put it on a serving bowl. Finish it with some grated cheese and chopped parsley.
  9. Serve it with steamed rice or steamed fresh vegetables – asparagus or broccoli or sautéed spinach.
  10. Share and enjoy!

 

 

Taste of Home: Thai Beef Salad

Tonight, I fancied a simple yet tasty and healthy meal, so I decided to make Thai Beef Salad for dinner, one of the Thai dish I really like to eat whenever we go to a Thai Restaurant.

I love this aromatic Thai Beef Salad. It tastes heavenly. Plus, I love the combination of fresh vegetables, lime dressing, and cook meat.

Thai Beef Salad

When I started tossing the veggies together, the pungent of the spices was luscious! And, when I took a bite – it was a WOW – I could taste the sweetness, sourness, saltiness, spiciness…all at once.

In my recipe, I don’t use red chili since my family do not really like spicy food that much.

Certainly, it’s a wonderful recipe – it’s super easy and you can find the ingredients in any grocery store.

Ingredients good for 3 servings:

Marinade:

  • 500 grams of beef, cut into thin slice against the grains
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Salad:

  • cherry tomatoes, cut into half
  • 2 pieces cucumber, sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small shallots, cut into thin (very thin) slice
  • Ice berg lettuce or lettuce of your choice.
  • 1 small piece of carrot

Dressing:

  • juice of 4 lime
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • soy sauce to taste
  • pepper

Thai Beef Salad

Method:

1. Marinade the beef. In a bowl, put the beef, lime juice, minced garlic, fish sauce, and salt. Mix it well. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. Marinate the beef for about 3 hours.

2. Prepare the salad. Slice all the vegetables – cherry tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, cilantro, carrot and lettuce. Mix well. Put the greens on the plate, and set aside.

3. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, put the juice of 4 limes, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and pepper. Stir it thoroughly. Set aside.

4. Cook the meat. In a frying pan, cook the meat – about 2 minutes on each side.

5. Putting together. On a plate, put in first the salad. Next, put the meat on top of the salad. Then, put some dressing.

6. Serve with steamed rice, share and enjoy.

Visiting the Salt Fields in Kampot

Have you been to a salt field before? Just outside of Kampot town, about 15 minutes, on the road to Kep we visited the only salt fields in Cambodia – Kampot’s salt fields both during the dry season and during the rainy season.

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

During the dry season (November to May), we saw small dazzling white hills of salt crystals from the sea water that we use in cooking.

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

While we were on the tour, we learned that the workers bring in sea water from the ocean by hand and pour it into the fields. Then let it evaporate so that salt crystals will form. The raw salt is then raked into neat triangular piles, collected and piled up in sheds beside the salt fields. It is then delivered to the salt factory where it is cleaned and iodine is added. Then it is scooped up, packed down and sold off throughout the country.

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

When the rain comes (June to November), the sea water in the fields does not have time to evaporate and the salt crystals cannot be collected.

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Even though we didn’t see the glowing white hills, we still enjoyed the stunning view of the salt fields that turns into big natural mirrors.

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Kampot’s Salt Fields

Certainly, the salt fields offer strikingly different views and perspectives every season and provides great photo opportunities and ability for photographers to play with the beautiful landscape.

Trekking at Kep National Park

Kep is a small coastal town in Cambodia. It is known for its seafood and tropical beaches. It is a beach getaway for foreigners living in Cambodia, although mostly for locals, as one could eat fresh seafood, laze on the beach and enjoy sundowners.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep is more than just a beach, though! Behind the beaches are a range of small mountains/ big hills where Kep National Park, a jungle preserve, is located. It boasts beautiful views of the surrounding islands, tranquil scenery and a galore of local wildlife.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

So, on the second day, we decided to go trekking in an 8km trail in Kep National Park that makes a loop around the mountain. It was actually our first time in the Cambodian jungle. The main trail was quite steep, well-prepared, well-maintained and well-marked.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

We took a few minutes rest where the Sunset Rock is, which had a lovely view over the coast. After a rest there, we continued our journey in the remaining loop of the trail. In total, we spent about 2.5 hours in the park. We got to see interesting exotic plants and animals, breathtaking panoramic views of the dense vegetation, nearby islands, and the thick canopy kept us shaded most of the time. At some stage, worried monkeys started to growl and one even threw a stone at us while we were taking a short break on a bench. We got the feeling that they meant no harm and just wanted to protect their habitat.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

As we hiked up the mountain, our conversations with our 10 year old lil explorer ran from different types of insects, reptiles, arthropods to the possibility of multiverse to American-Vietnam War to politics and to I-pad games.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

We are certainly impressed and proud with our son as he finished his 1st long hike in the steaming jungle – even though he suffered he was brave. The temperature was about 35-40 degree Celsius, with this ever present pre-storm electrical heat one can only find in Cambodia during the rainy season.

Kep National Park

After the hike, our clothes were totally soaked in sweat; we had to take a shower as soon as we got back to our Bungalow.

Kep National Park is beautiful! It was well worth the effort – enjoyable good walk and challenging in a pleasant way, plus we got a tan! While trekking, we met quite a few other enthusiasts who were equally proud to endure the heat in order to enjoy the local wildlife.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • The entire trip will take about 2-3 hours.
  • The entrance fee s USD1.50 per person at the start of the trek just above the parking area of Veranda Natural Resort.
  • Start early because it is steaming hot in there and if you’re lucky you could see wildlife including birds, snakes, squirrels, monkeys, butterflies and many more.
  • Be guided by the maps and information on the trails as you walk up the mountain.
  • Bring water.
  • Wear mosquito repellent because mosquitoes are everywhere.
  • Wear decent walking shoes.