Cambodia: Discovering Street Art in Boeung Kak in Phnom Penh

Boeung Kak Lake, also known as Lakeside in Phnom Penh, was a backpacker’s haven. We went there once in July 2010, spent a couple of minutes – chillin’ in one of the bars in front of the lake while enjoying the lake breeze. At that time we hadn’t heard about the street art there until very recently.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Since our son loves visual art, we decided to explore Street 93 in Boeung Kak so that he could see and experience how street art looks like.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

The Street 93 in Boeung Kak is a small, colorful alley. As we walked through it, we saw murals and paintings on the walls. A lot of the street art were in front of people’s home – some were even hiding behind the parked tuktuk or clothesline. I heard that some locals and tourists alike come and paint there to bring life back into the area.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Once there, I noticed that Boeung Kak Lake’s vibe was different when compared in 2010 – it’s quite calmer and quieter now. After the lake was completely drained and filled in, some homes have been cleared out and hordes of gypsy travelers are no longer there. Likewise, while wandering around the area, we spotted small children playing in the streets, some locals cooking their food, etc.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

It was nice to see the street art, although it rained while we were there. I enjoyed the street art but not the place – it’s still kind of dodgy.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

I realized that street art is interesting, creative, unlimited, vibrant, eye-catching and diverse. I think the murals and the paintings in the street remind people to feel alive and make them happy. It also inspires, motivates, allows people think, and makes peoples’ ordinary day a lot more interesting.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • How to get there: Take Monivong Blvd. Turn left when you reach the traffic light near Phnom Penh Hotel. Keep going until you reach the mosque. Then turn left as soon as you see the bright murals on the walls it means you’re on the right street.
  • It’s free. There is no entrance fee to walk through the art district.
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Myanmar: Twilight walk and sunset at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon

Yangon is a hustling and gorgeously messy city. So, one afternoon we wanted to escape the chaos after exploring the city, and we headed to Kandawgyi Lake for a wee bit of peace and quiet.

Kandawgyi Lake

Kandawgyi Lake

Schwedagon Paya

I’ve learned that Kandawgyi Lake (also known as Great Royal Lake) is an artificial lake, built by the British as a reservoir to supply the city with clean water. It is one of the two major lakes in Yangon and it’s the one nearest to the city center.

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

We watched the glowing sun vanished into the thin air and we ambled along the lakefront and around the park while savoring the tranquility of the place. The place is most attractive at sunset and provides some pretty sweet views. At twilight, the Karaweik Hall looked stunning and from a distance it looked like a huge golden barge floating in the middle of the lake, shimmering in the sun and when it was reflected in its calm waters.

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

After strolling leisurely, we dined out in one of the local restaurants while enjoying the chilly breeze and the serene setting.

Kandawgyi Lake

strolling at the lakeside of Kandawgyi Lake

Chicken BBQ Burmese style

Kandawgyi Lake

Undoubtedly, we had a gorgeous afternoon there. The lake and the park are both beautiful and peaceful, and certainly an oasis in the middle of the congested, intense city.

Kandawgyi Lake

Kandawgyi Lake

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • It is open daily until 10PM.
  • Entrance fee is 2,000 Kyat ($0.50).
  • There are several open air restaurants around the park.

Taste of Home: Beef Kaldereta with a French twist

I was longing for a beef stew, so I thought of making one of my favorite hearty Filipino stew, Kaldereta, another dish I learned from my mom.

Originally, Kaldereta uses goat meat, but my family prefers beef with potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, fresh tomato sauce and liver pate, which gives this dish its own identity. However, this time, I am adding mushrooms and red wine for some little French twist. So it was quite a combination.

Beef kaldereta with a French twist

Even though Beef Kaldereta is easy to cook, it requires a long cooking time so that the meat becomes really tender.

Sometimes I serve it with steamed rice and sometimes we just ate it as it is. It was a great hit and it’s definitely a keeper!

Ingredients good for 6 servings:

Marinate the beef:

  • 1 kg of beef, cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Stew:

  • Beef marinate
  • 2 medium carrots, cut roughly
  • 1 large potato, cut roughly
  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 5 big tomatoes, cut roughly
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 1 Knorr beef cube
  • 150 grams of liver pate
  • 1 small can green peas
  • 425 grams of mushroom
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • black pepper, freshly crashed, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Beef kaldereta with a French twist

How to make it:

  1. Put the meat in a marinating bowl. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce. Mix thoroughly. Set aside and marinate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Put olive oil in a cooking pot.
  3. Sautéed the garlic, onion and tomato.
  4. Add the beef marinate, and cook until it turns light brown.
  5. Put in the liver pate. Stir.
  6. Pour 500 mL of water. Mix. Add the Knorr beef cube. Stir. Cover the pot. Cook in low heat for about 1.5 hours or until the beef gets tender. Add more water if needed.
  7. Add freshly crashed black pepper. Stir thoroughly.
  8. While the stew is simmering, put the mushroom in a separate frying pan. Let it cook for about 7 minutes so that the water in it will evaporate.
  9. Pour in the wine. Stir.
  10. Add potatoes, carrots and mushroom. Stir. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  11. Prepare a flour mixture. Put a tablespoon of flour in a small cup. Add water, and stir thoroughly so that the flour dissolves.
  12. Pour in the flour mixture in to the cooking pot. Stir. Keep stirring regularly so that it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  13. Add the bell peppers and green peas. Stir. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  14. Et voila! Serve, share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Tartiflette

Very recently, we added a new welcome addition to our menu. It’s called Tartiflette – such a cute charming name for a recipe, isn’t it?

Tartiflette is a French-style cheesy potato bake, and a popular scrumptious winter dish in France. It’s a combination of potato, bacon, camembert cheese and white wine – I love it!

Tartiflette

We really enjoy a good home-made Tartiflette. It’s cheesy, rich and delicious! Personally, I think, I could eat this any time of day, and I’m sure you’ll crave it all times.

If you are like me and my family who love cheesy potatoes, you may wish to give Tartiflette a try. Here’s a simple recipe, and I hope you’ll enjoy the way we like it with pleasure.

Ingredients good for 6 servings:

  • 2 kg of potatoes, peeled, cut in thick slices and boiled
  • 600 grams bacon striped, sliced
  • 500 grams of camembert cheese, sliced
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 5 big onions, sliced
  • black pepper, freshly crashed, to taste

Tartiflette

How to make it:

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into thick slices. Then boil the potatoes. Check if the potatoes are cooked by inserting the tip of a knife – if there’s no more potatoes sticking to the blade it means that the potatoes are cooked.
  • Slice the bacon according to your desired size.
  • Peel and slice the onions.
  • In a frying pan, put the bacon. Add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add freshly crashed black pepper. Stir.
  • Add the wine. Mix it thoroughly. Bring it to boil, and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes in order to bland the flavors.
  • Cut the camembert cheese into slices.
  • Scoop half of the mixture (bacon, onion and wine) into an oven dish. Spread some sliced camembert cheese on top. Put in the other half of the mixture on top of the cheese. Then topped it with the rest of the camembert cheese.
  • Cover the oven dish with aluminum foil.
  • Bake it at 200 ⁰C for about 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, uncover the oven dish to allow the cheese to melt.
  • Et voila! Serve, share and enjoy!

Cambodia: A visit to the chapel in Areyksat Village in Phnom Penh with friends

One of the things I enjoy doing very early in the morning at weekends while my two handsome boys are still enjoying their sleep is to visit the Chapel in Areyksat Village in Phnom Penh with friends. The village is about 15 minutes by ferry boat ride from the city.

While waiting the ferry boat to Areyksat Village

A cousin’s friend introduced me to this place very recently, and since then we have visited it several times – about 7 times. We took a ferry boat at 6AM. Once there, we stayed for about an hour before we headed back home.

Here are 4 reasons why I love to visit the chapel in Areyksat Village in the morning:

1.The chapel in Areyksat Village is small and beautiful. It is unique as it houses 2 statues of Mother Mary – the statue of Virgin Mary was found by a Cambodian Buddhist in the Mekong River on November 19, 2012 and the statue of Mary, Mother of Mekong River was found by a Khmer Muslim and 8 Vietnamese fishermen in the Mekong River on April 16, 2008. I love visiting this chapel early in the morning because it’s very quiet – a perfect place for praying and for meditation.

before heading back home

The main door of the chapel

The Statue of the Virgin Mary

The Statue of the Virgin Mary

with the Statue of the Virgin Mary

2. The ferry boat ride is fascinating especially since it crosses where the Tonle Sap River and Mekong River meet. The water is very calm and peaceful. As the morning breeze touches my face and the warm sun shines on me, it brings a feeling of excitement, joy, smile and a wonderful sense of expectation.

aboard the ferry boat

aboard the ferry boat

the ferry boats

The ferry boat

…to the village

on our way to the village

3. I like going there early in the morning because it’s fresh, not too hot and not too crowded. Plus, I could see the sun creeping over the horizon – magical.

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

4. The village seems interesting. It seems that it is popular for bicycling, as I noticed many cyclists while aboard the ferry boat. In addition, as the ferry approaches the wharf, I saw several small boat houses where some poor families live. Likewise, inside the chapel compound, I’ve noticed a wee school (with 2 or 3 classrooms) where they teach mostly small Vietnamese children since most of the families living nearby are Vietnamese.

can you see the boat houses?

The boat houses

A boat house

Certainly, the early morning trip to the chapel in Aryeksat is a beautiful start to the day – happy for the breath of fresh air, and grateful for all the goodness that surrounds me and for the beautiful family and friends I have. I love it! And next time I go there, I would bring my family and explore the other part of the village.

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • The ferry boat ride is very cheap – almost nothing as it only costs 500 Riels ($0.125) each way person.
  • The ferry boat is available from 5.30AM to 8.00PM daily.

 

Taste of Home: Pan-seared butter-basted chicken steak with mushroom and pepper sauce

A few days ago, I came up with my own recipe for a simple Chicken Steak. It was my first time but it was already a hit in the family. Success!

Today, I cooked it again for lunch and I served with mushroom and Kampot pepper sauce to make it a wee bit more elaborate.

Pan-seared butter-basted chicken steak with mushroom and pepper sauce, side dish with stir-fry mixed vegetables

I marinated the chicken breast with lemon juice, oregano, Kampot pepper and salt for about 3 hours to absorb the seasonings and to make it tastier. I used salted butter to pan-seared the chicken breast.

While cooking, I loved its aroma – it smells really, really good and it feels like it create a multi-layered sensory experience. The texture was good – it was perfectly cooked.

My family love and enjoy every single bite with pleasure. It’s rich, sumptuously moist, flavorful, tender, juicy and filling! Side dish, with a bright stir-fry mixed vegetables. Perfect!

Pan-seared butter-basted chicken steak with mushroom and pepper sauce, side dish with stir-fry mixed vegetables

Here’s my simple recipe, in case you would like to try it:

Ingredients good for 3 persons:

Chicken steak

  • 3 pieces of chicken breast, fatless and chunk
  • Lemon juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Kampot pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Mushroom and pepper sauce

  • 1 425 grams of white button mushroom
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 30 cL of tick fresh cream
  • Kampot pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Pan-seared butter-basted chicken steak with mushroom and pepper sauce, side dish with stir-fry mixed vegetables

How to cook it:

Pan-seared butter-basted chicken steak

  • In a marinating bowl, put the chicken, lemon juice, Kampot pepper, olive oil and salt. Toss it thoroughly. Cover the bowl. Let it marinate for 3 hours or longer.
  • Put 5 tbsp of salted butter in a frying pan. Put in the marinated chicken. Cook each side of the chicken over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it turns brown. Scoop some melted butter on top side. Flip it over to cook the other side. Add some more butter if there’s no more melted butter.Put the sliced white button mushroom in a separate frying pan. Cook it gently for about 5 minutes so that all the liquid in the mushroom evaporates. Set it aside.

Mushroom and Pepper Sauce

  • Put 1 tbsp of butter into a frying pan. Add shallots, cooked mushrooms and garlic. Stir.
  • Add thick fresh cream. Stir.
  • Add pepper and salt. Stir.
  • Cook for about 8 minutes.

Putting together

  • Put 1 chicken steak on the plate.
  • Scoop some mushroom sauce on the chicken steak
  • Serve, share and enjoy.

 

Taste of Home: Carne Guisada

One of the Mexican dishes that I really like is a Mexican beef stew – Carne Guisada, so yesterday, I gave it a try to cook my own version for lunch. I’ve got spectacular results – just the right amount of spice, the meat was very tender, the flavor was awesome, and it was very easy to make!

Carne guisada

I served the Carne Guisada with steamed Jasmine rice and side dish with fresh carrot tomato and cucumber salad. It made a perfect meal and it’s loved in the house – my family and I enjoyed it with pleasure.

To those of you who wish to give our new favorite a try, here’s a keeper recipe for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of beef, chunk
  • 3 big tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • 6 gloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cube beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • Kampot black pepper, to taste

Carne guisada

How to cook it?

  1. In a bowl, put the beef, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano and basil. Toss it thoroughly. Let it marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Drizzle and heat up olive oil into a pan.
  3. Put the marinated meat into the pan. Stir. Let it cook until the meat turns brown.
  4. Once the meat is browned, add tomatoes, garlic and onion. Mix well. Let it cook for about 10 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and the tomatoes becomes soft.
  5. Add water and a cube of beef broth. Stir well.
  6. Cover the pan. Lower the heat, and simmer for 2 hours to allow the sauce to thicken.
  7. In a small bowl, put the flour and add some water. Stir it well until the flour dissolves.
  8. Then add the flour mixture into the pan. Stir it regularly so that the meat won’t stick in the pan. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  9. Serve, share and enjoy.