AsiaPundit has often eaten food from street stalls and small eateries run by cigarette-puffing proprietors. While ashes falling upon meals has occasionally caused concern, we should remember that chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative.:
We hear a lot about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but let’s not overlook the dangers of second-hand chewing tobacco…
Chewing Tobacco in Noodles Sickens 30
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Thirty Cambodians suffered food poisoning after eating homemade noodles contaminated with chewing tobacco that had dropped into the batter from the cook’s mouth, police said Monday.
In Cambodia, it is not unusual to discover objects that are typically smoked found in meals. AsiaPundit was once shocked to discover a large quantity of another noxious weed on food ordered at a very popular restaurant.
Happy Herb’s began in the heady days when the UN ruled Cambodia while they tried to sort out some half-decent elections. Cambodia was flooded with danger-seeking fools with astronomical wages which they squandered on drugs, prostitutes and fine dining. Herb was taught to cook pizzas by one of this crew, and suggested adding ganja, a traditional Khmer ingredient. (Later in the meal a veteran of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia came over, steaming drunk and blazing a big Sherlock Holmes style pipe. “I used to be Very Important!” he said to a military policeman who couldn’t understand English. “I was an Election Monitor in 93!” His Khmer wife and child stood back in embarrassment.)
Herb’s always been a dab hand in the kitchen. He was his unit’s cook in the civil war, before he ran away. “I didn’t want to fight,” he said. As his unit was nearing the battlefield he and his two mates jumped off the lorry and legged it into the jungle. Because he was a deserter no one would give him a lift, so it took him a week to walk back to Phnom Penh. He sold all of his gear for food except for his AK-47, which he keeps to shoo away the tiny lizards that gather around light bulbs at night. “I take out the powder from the bullets,” he says, “I leave just enough to stun the little chik-chaks.”
The pizza arrived on a nice wooden platter. Herb’s found a blend of spices that complements the flavour of ganja perfectly. Anyone who’s tried cooking with weed will know that it leaves a sharp taste that overwhelms the rest of the food. Herb’s pizza has managed to tone it down with lots of creamy cheese, oregano and some other Italian herbs.
Related to food, many recommendations for fine dining in the Mekong region and elsewhere can be found by visiting the first-quarter nominees for the Best Asian Food Blog.
(Above image stolen from the Virtual Tourist page for Happy Herb’s.)
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