Blue Pumpkin, Siem Reap

12 Aug


Here is my first post about Siem Reap in Cambodia.
I really liked that place, maybe because after living for 4 months in Vietnam (and not in District 1 in Saigon), it felt like I was back in Europe again. Apart from the tuk-tuk drivers who are harassing you, Siem Reap made me think of a small Southern European city where everyone goes for holidays.
I had this feeling because there were a lot of places to go out, dine out, and most of them looked nice and appetising.



The only place where you can find streefood in the city center is around the market but because I was with my streefood-scared friend, we did not try them (I must admit that even those streetfood shops looked more modern than those in Vietnam).



Anyway, we went three to Blue Pumpkin, which is a famous café and restaurant in the city centre. The third time we had a kind of trouble with an employee:
We wanted to buy some stuffs for the airport because we were coming back to Saigon late on a Sunday.
We took a pastry and some other stuffs and started queuing behind a couple who were paying. While we were queuing, another guy with his girlfriend came to ask the cashier how could he take the pastries (he was Cambodian, but I understood what was the matter because we were wondering the same thing just 5 minutes before). So the cashier told him how to take them, they went away and then came back on the side of the cashier’s box. The first couple had finished paying, and the other one started to put their food on the table. I got what was going on, and put mine in front of the cashier so the couple just backed off.
However, the cashier started taking their stuffs to make them pay. So I started to say “hey we were there before” (making big signs with my hands, just got so used to expressing myself in a bad English with a lot of gestures), and the guy just started to smile stupidly, as many Vietnamese do when they don’t understand (or don’t want to understand). Apparently, the couple were repeating what we said, but the cashier kept going. So I started to say “Are you serious?” and before I could get really angry, my friend, who was behind me the whole time, got mad, took all the pastries from my hand, left them on the table, took me by my arm and made me go out, saying that we weren’t going to do as if there was no trouble at all. So there we were, with no food, and still the will of getting angry (sometimes you just feel stuck in your resentment when you cannot get angry properly against someone).
In Vietnam, it happens frequently that people want to skip the queue. Most of the time it is because they have less stuffs than you (for instance at the supermarket) and think it is logical that they should go first (of course, they don’t bother asking). But it often happens that they just want to go before you for no specific reason (here the couples had as many stuffs as we had), and usually the employees don’t do anything against that. On the other hand, I still don’t understand how they can be so rude with the fact of queuing but so polite when it comes to leaving a seat to an older person.
Being a foreigner in South-East Asia is not always easy. When walking on the street you’ll always be called “Hello!” by kids (which is cute) and mostly by middle-age men (which is scary), you get honked by taxi drivers, and sometimes you have to face racism or discrimination. I was not used to that because I’m White (although I’m used to sexism which is as common here as in France). I don’t think that minorities in Europe have the same problems as we have in South-East Asia (we’re not making them pay twice as much for the entrance of a museum for instance but they may have more trouble in other circumstances). As a foreigner, you have a specific status, for example, Vietnamese put up more with your behaviour because you are not from the same continent. I heard many times that what I wear is ok because I’m a foreigner (I’m tall and wear short skirts/dresses/shorts which becomes shorter with my height), and I also heard that foreigner men acted in a way that Vietnamese men couldn’t regarding the Vietnamese women.

Anyway, my Blue Pumpkin post apparently became the “reclamation office” post.
Good end of the story, we happened to be in First Class because there weren’t any seats left in Economy Class when my friend took the tickets (first time ever there!), and so we had free food in the Lounge.


The first time I went there, I just took an ice-cream to take away. The waiters did not ask if I wanted a cone or a cup, so I got a cone (not much of a cone fan when it comes to eating fruit ice-creams).

An ice-cream with one scoop costs 1,50$ (about 1,15€). The prices are most of time in dollars in Cambodia, and I really can’t stand it because sellers and shop owners take advantage of it to have expensive prices. It means one scoop would have cost 62 000 dongs in Vietnam, which is really expensive.


Here is my passion fruit cone! It was a god ice-cream, but not as good as an Italian one.





So, about my second time at the Blue Pumpkin, I appreciated the place and the food (even though what I wanted to order in the first place (chocolate cake with caramel ice-cream) was not available anymore…).

I took an Oishi iced tea to start.



And then had a lime cheesecake with a red fruits coulis.



My friend had a fruit salad.



The cheesecake was fine. I missed the red fruits coulis so it was nice eating some.



Here is the bill, it cost us 6,50$ (about 5€).

Mark: 3/5

It is a nice place but it is expensive and the waiters, the second time I went there, seemed really in a hurry, they did not take time for anyone, I thought that McDonald’s employees were nicer than the ones in Blue Pumpkin, however, we knew that it was because the restaurant was crowded.

They have juice buckets for families which is pretty cool.

There are people sitting in big sofas (the second picture above) with some kind of breakfast platter around them which seems cool but I wouldn’t dare doing it (there was one girl with her pc and her lunch, I was afraid for her pc).

So finally, Blue Pumpkin is in a good area, with a nice decoration and nice food (I saw that they have some kind of fish amok (Cambodian dish) in ravioli in a pumpkin soup which looks nice) but the waiters and the lack of intimacy is really the problem with the place.


Blue Pumpkin:

563 Mondol 1

Svay Dang Kum

Siem Reap

(It’s actually on the side of the market).

They also have a location in Phnom Penh


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