While in Saigon recently, I visited Ipa-Nima’s three-storey bag parlour on Rue Pasteur and left toting this much embellished green leather satchel – a perfect day bag and large enough for Z’s paraphernalia (without looking like a naff baby bag).
One of the best examples of ‘east-west’ fusion I’ve experienced in a long time was some Kampot pepper chocolate I recently tried from Street 240’s Chocolate by The Shop.
The pepper originates from Cambodia’s Kampot province, and back in colonial times was highly prized by the French, who even used it in restaurants back in Paris. Its production fell by the wayside during the Khmer Rouge era but it’s now undergoing a renaissance as Cambodians, expats and tourists alike re-discover its highly fragrant and delicious taste (it really is better than ‘ordinary’ pepper!).
The geniuses at Chocolate by The Shop have mixed crushed Kampot peppercorns with quality Belgian chocolate to create a taste sensation with serious bite. Fellow chocoholics and pepper fiends should definitely give it a try!
Silk shops can be found on almost every corner in Phnom Penh with most carrying similar wares, some slightly more tasteful than others. A small silk shop called Kraven House manages to combine taste with reasonable prices (and it’s also run by an NGO as an added bonus).
It stocks a mixture of ubiquitous silk bags and scarves with some more unique items. I particularly covet their coin purses and jewellery rolls with a funky Indian-style print and beaded embroidery. They also stock stripey cotton scarves which are well worth checking out.
The shop is so small and unassuming that I hardly even remember its name and mostly just refer to it as ‘Favourite Shop’. It also seems to be a favourite with buyers for western retailers. A friend has seen people from shops like Cambodia House in Sydney’s Woollahra stocking up on wholesale orders here, which they can then make quite the profit on in a world where silk and anything with a ‘Made in Cambodia’ tag is a bit more precious and rare.
Kravan House, 13 Street 178, Phnom Penh