Phnom Penh Again
I went back to Phnom Penh a few weeks ago. I had enjoyed my previous trip so much that I thought it was worth another visit - and I was not disappointed. I did a little more exploring this time, which turned out to be great. I wandered more (without any destination) and that usually leads to a few good finds - as it did this time. I went with a few friends (James & Patrick from Singapore - and James' friend Joe who met us there). They were game for a bit of exploration, so we ate more street food, we went deeper into the alley ways, checked out more local markets, and we stayed out later at night. We found temples, tucked away food stalls, small wet markets, abandoned villas, hidden bars, delicious food, and a lots of really friendly people.
One of the things that I have started doing when I travel is renting a bike and riding around. It is fantastic (albeit sometimes a bit more dangerous) way to see a city. It is much faster than walking, but slow enough to see everything, and you are still out in the open air (unlike car travel which usually leaves me feeling a bit detached).
I had read about a brewery in Phnom Penh so when Joe and Patrick went off to see Toul Sleng (possibly the most depressing place in SE Asia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuol_Sleng_Genocide_Museum ) James and I rented bikes and rode off in search of the Man Han Lou brewery.
Luckily James had a clue; while I was busily racing up and down the streets and zipping along in the crazy Cambodian traffic James located the fairly nondescript Building that housed the object of our desire. And none too soon as pedaling madly around dusty Phnom Penh dodging on coming cars, other bikes, motor bikes, lorries, and the occasional Ox cart can really build up ones thirst.
The Man Han Lou Brewery & Restaurant (opened in 2007) serves four kinds of beer - delineated by color Gold, Red, Black and Green . I find this to be common among Brewers trained in China (delineation by color) as indeed Man Han Lou's Brewmaster was (or so Patrick told me after speaking with him - my Mandarin being all but nonexistent) The beers were surprisingly good for a small brewery operating in what has to be difficult conditions. All four of the beers were flavorful and well made. I have since read that only two of the beers are brewed (the Gold and the Black), one is a blend (the Red is a combination of the Gold and the Black), and the Green beer is the Gold with spirulina added. None the less - we enjoyed several glasses of them all.
The restaurant serves both local and Chinese dishes. We had a small variety meal and all the dishes were very nice. The service was very good as well (but it was mid afternoon with but one other table in the entire place). An excellent bike adventure and well worth searching out !
I have since read that another small brewery (the "Munich Beer Restaurant") has since opened and that they are making a decent drop. - I guess we will have to go back to Phnom Penh for another visit again soon.
Man Han Lou Restaurant - #456 Monivong Boulevard
Munich Beer Restaurant - #86 Sothearos Boulevard.
For more Cambodian Beer ramblings check out one of my favorite food blogs
For Pix of our trip check - http://www.flickr.com/photos/55592119@N00/sets/72157611323295128/