Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chamkar's Tofu and the Energetic Vibe at Pub Street

November 27, 2010. Siem Reap. In all honesty it was difficult deciding where to have dinner on my very first night in Siem Reap. There were so many online recommendations from TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Frommer's, New York Times, etc. After much thought combined with half an hour of scanning various reviews plus taking into account my budget (most importantly!), I decided to try Chamkar, a vegetarian restaurant. One of the reviews said that they regretted not discovering this place earlier on during their trip because they would have gone back. Plus, food here was cheaper than the other restaurants in the area. Sounds promising- good yet affordable food.  Yeah, so this was it for me.

I didn't have an easy time finding the place. The tuk-tuk driver didn't know where it was.  All I knew was that it was in the vicinity of Pub street.  Asking the locals standing around the corner of Pub street did not help at all. At that point, I was actually thinking maybe going out tonight was a bad idea since I could have ordered for room service while comfortably tucked away in bed. But well, I was already out and maybe it was time to implement "plan b".  Oh but I didn't have any plan b. Hahaha.  That's the type of traveler I am. Sigh.

Note that tuk-tuks are not allowed to ply Pub street at night.  Pedestrians take over the road as dusk sets in. There's no sidewalk to speak of so having the road blocked off from vehicles at night was definitely a good idea. If you've been to Thailand's Khaosan Road you'll notice some similarity as Pub street exudes such an energetic vibe.  After a few minutes of walking, I decided to take the small alley perpendicular to Pub street. A few steps further and I unexpectedly found Chakram. It's across Amok restaurant. Yay, this was definitely a good sign.

I ordered immediately and tried the specialty of the house- "rediscovering tofu".  It was stuffed tofu with caramelized onions on the side.

I paired this with a bowl of steamed rice.

Service is just so-so. Don't expect five-star service.  But food is affordable if you compare it with the other restaurants around the area.  I think I spent less than $10 for the entire meal.

And so it can be said that I was generally satisfied with the meal and would definitely recommend Chakram to anyone who visits Siem Reap.

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