I love the beautiful countryside. I love the crazy, chaotic streets. I love the friendly people. I love Cambodian smiles. I love Tuk Tuk's - how cheap they are ($1-2 for one way in town), the breeze in your face as you drive in one, how you can see everything up close. I do not like the heat but that's not Cambodia's fault and I refuse to hold it against it. I also love Cambodia's restaurants and food and, now, its one mini-golf course. And those are the subjects of this post.
It had poured and poured the night before and we held off deciding on what to do until the morning. I rhymed off a bunch of options that the kids could pick from, "Silk factory, butterfly gardens, Mini-golf, Landmi--" "MINI-GOLF!?!?" they yelled, "There's mini-golf, here?" So it was decided, we would go to Angkor Wat Putt Mini-Golf before the heat of the day and play it's fourteen holes. Yes, for some reason, only fourteen holes.
Cambodia isn't exactly a Mecca for Mini-golf. The man who created the course had never played before but got the idea from a British traveler and went with it. The course is pretty amazing. There are a number of holes with miniature replicas of Ancient temples found in Siem Reap, like Angkor Wat. Some holes are easy and some are unbelievably hard but have a par of 7 to show for it. The tradition is that if you get a hole-in-one, you get a free beer or pop. Sadly we came very close but no one got a hole-in-one.
The course is kind of out of town and a lot of Tuk Tuk drivers don't really know where it is, so I just emailed the owner, and he emailed right back and sent a Tuk Tuk to our hotel. Within ten minutes we were on our way.
The rest of this is mainly for my Dad. Whenever he would go away for work ('on course' we called it), I would always say, "What did you eat for supper?" I always wanted to know what he ordered at restaurants and it's grown into a mutual thing ever since. We eat out all the time now and there isn't any way of letting him know exactly what we are eating, so I thought I would let him (and all of you) know about a special meal we had at a very special restaurant. This is for you, Pappy.
We decided to eat out at Haven, after reading so many great reviews on Tripadvisor. Haven is run by three Swiss people who came to Siem Reap and volunteered in an orphanage for seven months. When they were there, they became concerned for the adults who 'age out' of the orphanages and wondered about the plans for those men and women. When they discovered that there really is no plan, they decided to open up Haven to help train young adults from orphanages, safe homes or very poor rural areas in restaurant skills, life skills and other training. After a year, they help place each person in a permanent position.
Unlike anywhere else we've eaten, we needed reservations. I had to email and reserve for the next day. During high season, I would have to reserve 2-3 days in advance. They are that popular. And for good reason. The food was amazing! We will definitely be going again. The prices were higher than other Cambodian restaurants (entrees were $7 instead of $3.50, for example) but it all went to a great cause and everything was freshly prepared. The service was great as well. I had a Cambodian dish, "Fish Amok" which I love and could eat all the time. It's really mild. (I also really like Cambodian Banana flower Salad). David had Chicken Cordon Bleu with mashed potatoes, and the twins had Haven burgers. We had fresh pineapple, apple, ginger juice too. It sounds iffy but it was really fabulous.