Living in Asia definitely takes some getting used to and for some, its not as easy to get used to certain aspects such as street pissing, sugary bread, offal in soup. Breakfast is probably the hardest meal to adapt to, with many people struggling to down a plate of fried rice or noodle soup first thing in the morning. In the west our breakfasts usually consist of bread, fruit, eggs, cereal and on weekends a special brunch with all the trimmings such as bacon, bernaise sauce and chorizo thrown in.
In Asia, things are a little different. Breakfasts feature similar foods that would be eaten at lunch and dinner and always come with either rice or noodles. In Cambodia, one of the most readily available and cheap breakfasts takes the form of bai sach ch’rook o or pork and rice.
The dish consists of lightly marinated pork that has been grilled to the point of jerky over an open fire and it is served on a steaming mound of rice with a side soup and some pickled vegetables (cucumber, carrot and onion) and chilli relish. The resulting dish is filling and pretty yummy! The pickles tend to be a little sweet for my liking, so I will eat but avoid the pickled juice and load it up with chilli (of course). The meat has a lovely smokey and slightly sweet taste to it that is great with a splash of soy sauce that is usually found on most tables.
Stalls selling bai sach ch’rook are everywhere – street corners, inside markets and even more upmarket restaurant places offer the dish. It typically comes with an egg omelet or a fried egg as well and the street carts selling the dish will also offer a chicken version and sometimes have a stewed offal dish with eggs too that I haven’t yet had the guts (ha ha) to try.
Eating pork like this for breakfast may seem foreign and un-stomachable to some people, but it is a very economical and filling meal which is exactly what most people over here are looking for. We have even seen people order two plates of rice to one serving of pork to get the most value for their dollar. It makes sense when you know that a lot of people in Cambodia are earning a pittance and need to ensure they go to work on a full stomach.