Room with a View

The rainy season has finally come back to Battambang. It is an interesting time. Sometimes you can’t go out – the road in front of the house turns into a creek, and things start slowing down. Last year, many villages suffered from severe flooding, so severe that many houses and huts were submerged and most of the rice destroyed. Still, people here need and want the rain. No rain, no rice – too much rain – no rice as well.

I welcome the rainy season. It is a peaceful time, and also an excuse for not going anywhere. I recall, about eight years ago – I was living in Taiwan – and Taipei had just been hit by one of the worst taiphoons in decades. The subway system had been flooded, people parked their cars on elevated highways, and the road in front of my house had turned into a river as well. I was actually supposed to go to the airport and fly to Shanghai for a company meeting. I rang our Shanghai office’s manager and told him that I wasn’t sure, I could get to the airport – because yes – there wasn’t even a road in front of my house. He just couldn’t understand and tried to exert pressure by going like this: The meeting is really important, we can’t reschedule just because of the weather, and so on… Late in the evening, I somehow managed to get to the airport. It felt terrible, and I should have stayed at home like most Taiwanese did.  I hadn’t respected the weather.

Here the people respect the weather – If you can’t go out, you can’t go out. And so do I. Yesterday evening, I had only instant noodles, a bit of cheese, and a can of tuna at home because I had planned to go out for dinner. I looked outside and it became clear, I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t mind – even though I really don’t like instant noodles very much:-)

The pictures are taken from my window a few days ago. The camera lightened up the sky a bit though. It was actually quite dark and very much looked like rain.

Have a wonderful day or evening wherever you may be.


Chinese Pulled Noodles – Lanzhou La Mian Restaurant in Battambang

Battambang-Lanzhou-lamian-WindowOnAsiaOrgHave you ever eaten handmade noodles? Handmade Italian spaghetti, German spaetzle, or hand-pulled Chinese noodles? Factory produced and processed noodles can’t even apply to play in the same league :-). The owner of my favorite lunch restaurant in Battambang pulls noodles out of fresh dough – by hand – interesting to watch and very delicious to eat. You can either have fried noodles or a noodle soup and have the choice between beef, chicken, pork, and prawns plus vegetables. If you are a vegetarian, do not fear. He also offers his noodles with tofu and a healthy load of veggies. In addition to his noodle dishes, the owner makes fantastic dumplings, filled with minced meat, spices, and vegetables. Have them boiled, fried, or deep fried. Mix your own dip with garlic, chilies, vinegar, and soy sauce. Delicious!  The restaurant also has quite a few rice dishes on the menu, and  in case you get bored, just ask for something completely different. If the place is not too busy, the boss will pretty much do any Chinese dish for you.

The boss (man on the on the shop sign and the photo above) is originally from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province in Northwestern China. He moved to Cambodia a few years ago and initially worked as a cook in Chinese restaurants in Phnom Penh. Luckily, he met his wife there and decided to setup shop in Battambang.

Apart from being an inexpensive choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the restaurant is also a good place to meet locals, expats and fellow travelers, and listen a bit to what’s going on in town. carrotsporkegg-WindowOnAsiaOrg


Lanzhou La Mian is on Road Number 2, next to the Bus Stop Guesthouse in Battambang, Cambodia. For a map on Battambang, click here.

What is your favorite noodle dish? BanMian-WindowOnAsiaOrg