One of my favorite things to do when traveling to new places is to try their local coffee shops. Doesn’t matter if the country isn’t particularly known for coffee, or if their offerings don’t differ from those back home. There’s still bound to be something different about the way they prepare their drinks, the ingredients they use, the presentation. Different may not always mean good, but like I said in my confession, coffee’s an experience — one that I definitely cannot pass up on when traveling.
During my trip to Siem Reap last month, my friends and I discovered The Blue Pumpkin, one of Cambodia’s most popular cafes, and liked it well enough to visit it twice (actually, thrice, but it turned out to be closed that other time).
TBP has several branches all over Cambodia, and eight in Siem Reap alone. So if you visit Siem Reap and fail to spot it even once, I’m going to doubt that you were there at all, especially since they have a branch in the airport and another right in front of the entrance to the Angkor Wat complex, dubbed the Angkor Cafe. You might have read about my first time there during our first day in Siem Reap, when I tried their affogato. I already talked about how I enjoyed it, but I failed to post the photo of that creamy concoction. So here it is!
Yummy!!! I’m not much for ice cream, but when it’s prepared this way, I’m definitely not going to say no to it!
The second time we visited TBP was right after watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat. We were all pretty starved and itching to sit down, so we headed back to the Angkor Cafe. Unfortunately, it was still closed. We decided to wait until it opened, but when 8 AM came and went and it STILL hadn’t opened, we shrugged it off and walked down to one of the cafeteria-style eating places nearby.
The funny thing was that we ended up having lunch at TBP, though in their Old Market branch this time. We didn’t plan on it; it just looked to be the most appealing option to us, particularly because they had an air-conditioned dining area. I’ve got to mention that I loved the design of the place, it looked so airy and relaxing with the white walls and glass windows–and they even had something like lounge seating with cushions and all.
I went with an order of Mexican coffee to accompany my croque monsieur. I’d been curious about that drink since I first saw it on the menu the other day, and since I’d never tried it before, I figured I’d give it a go. Now, I just Googled up “Mexican coffee” and found out that it’s supposed to be similar to Irish coffee as it’s a mixture of coffee, liqueur (supposedly Kahlua and tequila), sugar and whipped cream/ice cream. TBP’s version of it combines espresso with sweet milk, cocoa and cinnamon. Nope, no alcohol here. And after tasting it, I’d have to say adding liqueur would be an overkill–I already felt so spirited with the concoction as it was.
It reminded me of traditional Vietnamese coffee, because of the use of condensed milk (at least that’s what I think it was), but it was made even thicker and sweeter by the cocoa. The hint of cinnamon adds that whole Mexican vibe to it, really giving it that rich, vibrant flavor.
Would I drink it everyday? Definitely not. It combines all of the things I shouldn’t eat/drink on a GERD diet, making it way too sinful for me. Did I like it, though? For sure. I might even attempt to make my own version of it at home one time. And I’m seriously adding Mexico to my list of places to visit, just so I can taste the authentic version of it. I mean, how weird is it that I tried Mexican coffee in Cambodia?
As weird as me trying Irish coffee in the Philippines, I suppose 😛
And here I am with my coffee –>