We at Le Bar were honored that Ambrosia could find the time to come and assess our
We had intended to write and thank her at an earlier date but we also deemed it necessary
to research an issue she raised in her review (Vol. 1 No. 7). She found certain faults
with our Papaya Pok Pok, a traditional Thai salad.
Unfortunately, on this subject her knowledge of authentic Thai gastronomy does not
appear to be as extensive as her name would suggest. She complained about the following
-She said the papaya was unripe and it was served with minute seemingly uncooked
crab legs which had little or no meat.
We were the first to introduce this salad to Phnom Penh and it was, and still is,
prepared for us by our young Thai hostesses. Needless to say, the Thais were most
embarrassed by this review and knowing the recipe quite intimately at this stage,
we feel we must inform you that her criticism was both misguided and unfounded.
First, Papaya Pok Pok uses green or as she stated unripe papaya, chopped in thin
segments, the idea being to use the papaya, as it is commonly used in Thailand, as
a vegetable and not a fruit. You crush the papaya with fresh, uncooked crab in order
to get a mixture of the juices of both. This is then seasoned with tomato, garlic,
herbs, fish sauce, lemon juice and then red chillis to taste. The entire ingredients
are then once again crushed and blended.
Secondly, the crab legs which Ambrosia found so unattractive are in fact presented
with the dish for aesthetic, decorative reasons. And are also there, as the connoisseur
knows, to be sucked on at will...they are not intended as food for hungry reviewers!
We hope that we have clarified any misunderstandings over the true nature of the
Pok Pok or Som Tam salad, as it is also known in the Kingdom. We also hope that we
have added in some way to Ambrosia's, presumably already extensive knowledge of oriental
We look forward to seeing Ambrosia, armed with this new knowledge, come to the recently
renovated Le Bar and try out a real Pok Pok salad, or if she finds that Pok Pok does
not suit her taste, she may be interested to hear that we have added a whole Khmer
section to our menu, served not only at Khmer prices but also at our new pleasant
And whatever Ambrosia's feelings about frog's legs, she will most certainly be enchanted
by the crepes served from our terrace creperie. We look forward to "seeing"
the mysterious Ambrosia and we trust her next visit will be of mutual satisfaction.
- Staff and management of Le Ba
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