Pretend you’ve been shipwrecked on an island or stranded in rush hour traffic for a year or two. What’s the first thing you grab to eat when you haul your withered carcass back to civilization?
For me, it’s not the standard cheeseburgers, hot dogs and apple pies you’re expecting. The food I crave most after months of nothing but Vietnamese is…
Mexican. But fat chance finding good Mexican food in Cambodia or Vietnam…so pizza. Pizza will do.
That’s where my brain was after more than a week in Cambodia. Faced with a run of sub-par Khmer food, it was time to take a risk on Asian pizza.
Siem Reap is a hub for tourists, meaning the pizza here should at the very least be edible. And, it is!
And there are a lot of pizza joints in Siem Reap.
But one little ingredient you won’t find on any pizza in the US—that is, unless your Uncle Keith is cooking up a midnight snack halfway through his Netflix marathon—is a wonderful, mysterious herb that seems to be everywhere in Cambodia.
Haha, just kidding. It’s weed.
To be honest, I think every pizzeria in Siem Reap offers happy sprinkles. So why the hell wouldn’t you try some while you’re here?
Don’t smoke? Neither do I. But when in Rome, snack as the Romans do.
Just pretend it’s a local Khmer delicacy, like fried tarantulas or ants.
Anyway, I was tired of dealing with harassment from tuk tuk drivers, so I ordered online—an everything pizza, and in the “extra instructions” box?
Please make it very, very happy.
Here I realized the amazing flexibility of the English language. I could imagine the cooks tickling the pizza dough and giving it compliments.
“You’re going to be so delicious. You are perfect, just the way you are.”
After 45 minutes, my pizza was feeling good enough about itself to arrive at my hotel. The delivery girl was very happy, so the pizza had to be even happier.
Well, it wasn’t. I don’t know if they gave me oregano instead (why would they, when pot is cheaper). What’s more likely is that cramming an entire large pizza down your gullet works to slow down the happiness molecules from reaching the rest of your body.
Nothing happened…but was I going to stop when life got a little tough?
That’s right! I ordered another pizza (from a different restaurant).
Give me a pizza so ecstatic that it’s a quivering, jolly, belly-laughing mess of cheese and sauce.
Again, nothing. I’d eaten enough food for a family of 4, but still nothing.
Being cynical, I assumed the weed was a hoax to get backpackers to spend money on the placebo effect as an excuse to shovel down pizza.
And there’s no amazing revelation here—that’s all it is. So save your money and order real food, or buy some oregano of your own from literally any tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap.
But if you’re a sunny optimist or you really, REALLY want some pizza, I can recommend Ecstatic Pizza.
No, you won’t fly to the moon—but the food itself is cheap and decent, which is more than you can expect from many restaurants in town.