Tag Archives: Cambodia

Revisiting Angkor

Today was the last day of the exhibition Angkor, Birth of a Myth- Louis Delaporte and Cambodia at Museum Guimet in Paris. Coincidentally, it was almost one year ago that I visited these ancient temples myself. Angkor exhibition, museum GuimetEven if we spent a rather long time (five full days!) in Siem Reap (Eat Drink Sleep Siem Reap (survival guide to Siem Reap) visiting nearby temples, I still felt it was not sufficient to really absorb and understand what had happened in the past. “Who what why when” became more complicated than ever! There were the Hindu Kings, then Buddhism; there were many different empires. To notice architectural details each religion brought to different temples during different times was not always easy, and having a lousy guide did not help. Indeed, it felt very overwhelming to be honest. And maybe this is why I still have not written anything about the Angkor temples (after one year!!).Angkor, museum GuimetHowever, visiting the exhibition this afternoon enlightened me. It was such a great pleasure to see old drawings, photos, maps, paintings, moldings, replicates, etc. that I now feel one step closer to actually being able to write something about this extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meanwhile, have you ever felt the same about a historic or archaeological place somewhere in the world?

More information about the exhibition: http://culturoid.com/2013/10/angkor-birth-of-a-myth-louis-delaporte-and-cambodia-musee-guimet-paris/ 

Museum Guimet: www.guimet.frMuseum GuimetPS Museum Guimet is an architectural pearl. It hosts one of the best Asian art collections of the world, if not the very best. So pay a visit if interested in Asian art.

Top Ten of 2013

One year and one week ago I started my blog, encouraged by a friend. I will always be indebted to her as this has been such a wonderful experience and one hell of a ride if I may say. The blog has brought an entirely new dimension to my life; I could have never thought about making so many new friends and attracting so many followers. My sincerest thanks to everyone of you!!

To celebrate this one-year anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what the highlights of the year were. Enjoy, and pick the post that most interests you!

1. The most read postBus ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Laos is a fantastic, rewarding country, but traveling inside is not always simple. I am happy that my post has helped so many thousands of travelers to enjoy Laos!

2. The second-most read postEat Drink Sleep Siem Reap (survival guide to Siem Reap). Nothing to add. Angkor temples, initially built by the Hindu kings, continue to fascinate the entire world. And Siem Reap is the base for exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site.Angkor temples

3. The third-most read postKoh Lipe: mixed feelings. Thailand. Well. I did not fall in love with Koh Lipe, a tiny island in the Andaman Sea near Langkawi, Malaysia. I hear Koh Lipe was quite a paradise ten years but to me it seems the word “sustainable” was forgotten along the way…

4. The most-read post about FinlandIce swimming in Finland. One of my favorite posts, too! Have a look if you haven’t already but do not believe everything I say.

5. The most educational postEating oysters in months without “r”. Oysters, this ancient delicacy! A lot of people wonder when it is safe to eat them. Read my post and tell me, “r” or not to “r”! oysters

6. The most read recipeCôte de Bœuf (ultimate French meat dish). A classic French dish; so simple but delicious! Now you know where to get your iron boost.

7. My first-ever post!Thursday night in Paris

8. The most family-oriented postFranco-Finnish Christmas meal. Christmas in Paris with my parents, husband and French delicacies.

9. The best design object portrayedAlvar Aalto bell lamps from 1937 find a new home in ParisAlvar Aalto lamp

10. The post about friendshipMaking friends over the Indian Ocean. A story about friendship that developed over the Indian Ocean and developed in Tanzania.

PS If you are on Facebook, why not to follow Pearlspotting there too?

Go Khmer: authentic Cambodian food in Paris

You visited Cambodia, returned to Paris, and would like to revisit the famous culinary Khmer experience but have no idea where to go? Indeed, when every other restaurant asiatique in town serves all types of Asian foods, one does become suspicious. Why are the Chinese making sushis and sashimis? Why does a restaurant menu mix Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food? Cannot they just focus on one thing? I understand the region’s culinary history is intertwined, but I personally have more confidence in a restaurant that has one specialty (with maybe one exception, which is Lao Lane Xang).

Bayon is a famous Angkor temple –temple of faces, but also a restaurant located in the southern end of Rue Monge, 5th arrondissement of Paris. When Jean-Marc Tang, the owner of Bayon, had to choose a name for his restaurant, he chose Bayon in order to honor his family who used to live near the Bayon temple.  Bayon (http://www.restaurant-cambodgien.com) is a fairly new to the Parisian restaurant scene (it only opened 2 1/2 years ago) but it is already recommended by Le Fooding (http://www.lefooding.com/restaurant/restaurant-bayon-paris.html).


For starters, we ordered Chom Houk A Mok (cod, bell pepper, bamboo, herbs, coconut milk) and Pler Ko (lemongrass beef salad). Amok was really tasty and served in a banana leaf. Jean-Marc explained to us that they use cod because it is difficult to get access to the fish he would use back at home, but that cod lemongrass beefserves the purpose very well as its taste is quite neutral. Our lemongrass beef salad tasted really fresh: something you would want to eat when it is really hot in Paris. Salad was particularly crispy, beef tender and there was a lot of mint. Both starters were copious and very, very good. Nothing was spicy, but Cambodian food is not traditionally very spicy compared to for example Thai food.

tamarin duck

For main course, we ordered Tear bom pong empile thom (duck in tamarind sauce, green vegetables, dried basil leaves and coriander) and Curry sach moan (chicken, potato, carrot, coconut milk curry).

We were particularly interested in tasting the tamarind duck, because it is our favorite dish at an other Asian restaurant (Lao Lane Xang). The Bayon version was slightly different and had pineapple in it. I was surprised of this addition, because in Cambodia I never had pineapple in anything I ate, but Jean-Marc assured me that pineapple is traditionally used in the Khmer cuisine.

Our second main course, the curry, was full of potatoes and carrots, as we hadchicken potato carrot curry had it in Cambodia. Jean-Marc explained that usually sweet potatoes are used in this type of a curry, but that due to its scarcity in Paris, potatoes make a good replacement (and I could not agree more!). We found this curry delicious but unfortunately could not finish it (portions are quite large and size-wise there is no big difference between starters and main courses).

We indeed had a very lovely Saturday evening. The setting is not particularly romantic (it is more cafe-like), and even the outside appearance may make you wonder where you are walking into, but what you eat inside is authentic and savory. It is always a good sign when tables are filled with locals and I now mean Cambodians! (FYI: there is a new, additional page to the menu, which specializes in dishes even more authentic, like fermented fish etc.)

Bayon Restaurant: 121 rue Monge, 75005 PARIS. Metro: Censier-Daubenton and Les Gobelins. Open daily 12h-15h & 19h-22h30. Closed on Sunday and Monday evening. Tel: 01 43 36 67 43.

Chong Kneas and other floating villages around the Tonlé Sap lake

Besides the Angkor Wat and  other temples, where the trip startsmany tourists end up visiting the Tonlé Sap lake and river system, and its famous floating villages.

Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and its ecosystem is unique in many ways. During the monsoon, the lake’s surface area becomes six times bigger compared to its size during the dry season from November to May. As if this was not impressive enough, the lake changes its flow twice a year (and this is not a result of an old-style Communist experiment…).Catholic church

Moreover, it is estimated that over 1.2 million ethnic Vietnamese and Cham people inhabit the floating villages around the lake, mainly living from fishing (and tourism). More than half of Cambodia’s fish supply comes from this lake, so the lake’s importance for the entire Cambodia, economically and otherwise, cannot be exaggerated.

From Siem Reap it takes less than 30 minutes to reach the harbor (see the first picture) where you hop onto a private boat which takes you to the closest floating village from Siem ReaBuddhist templep: Chong Kneas. For 20USD per person, you have a private boat with a captain and a guide. The entire trip lasts about one hour and thirty minutes. After a fifteen-minute drive you enter the actual lake and start seeing water dwellings: private houses, shops, garages, churches (see the photo of a Catholic church), temples (see the photo of a Buddhist temple), schools etc floating around more or less in harmony.

Basically, what you see is a floating slum. The water is so dirty that you may not want to eat any more amok… a shopSurprisingly the lake does not smell bad, but it is clear everything gets thrown into the lake, and that the sustainability of this ecosystem is in danger as much as inhabitants’ health…

I understand and agree that Chong Kneas offers some nice photo opportunities (early in the morning or at sun set!) and therefore it cannot be labeled as “waste of time”, but I did not appreciate the obvious and overwhelming commercialization of the trip. At one point our guide informed us that we will stop at a communal shop “to buy some food as a donation for a poor local floating school”. We should have just said “no thanks” right away, but blame it oin front of the schooln the sun or jet lag, and we didn’t say anything. We were brought into a floating shop and the seller expected two of us to buy a huge bag of rice, that cost more than a similar rice bag costs in the Litte India of Paris…. We only purchased water and lollipops, and left followed by “a look that could kill you”……

We then visited the famous school. It was like entering a temple: in front there was an altar where the offerings were placed. There was a huge bag of rice but I bet it was there to make others like us feel guilty. school girlThe pupils did not even notice us, and I don’t mean they should have performed a dance to thank us, but yes, I expected some kind of acknowledgment of our existence (or rather arrival of those lollipops at least). The lack of any sign simply gave me an impression that these children knew none of the rice, water, juice, noodles etc was meant for them!

The same evening I was reading The Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide (January-April 2013) and found something on page 55 that confirmed my impression: “Rice scams: Tout tells you orphanage/school needs rice for kids. Takes you to market where you buy wildly overpriced rice to donate. Tout/vendor split profit.” (FYI: This same scam actually happens with women wanting you to buy milk for their babies) locals

I am not saying don’t visit the Tonlé Sap lake and Chong Kneas, but I do recommend you to visit other floating villages that are a little more far away but much, much nicer. Kompong Pluk, Kompong Khleang and Me Chrey are all mentioned in Cambodia, the Lonely Planet. Cambodia & Laos by Eyewitness recommends Kompong Pluk (“an authentique insight”) and Kompong Khleang (“the largest floating settlement”). The French guide book Le Routard Cambodge + extensions Laos puts it most bluntly: “If there is one (floating village) to visit, it is this one (Kampong Khleang)”.

PS It is extremely easy to organize a visit to any of these villages, but should you want someone friendly and reliable with a car, read my previous post about Siem Reap and Mr. Chhor Chamnan.

Eat Drink Sleep Siem Reap (survival guide to Siem Reap)

Our stay in Siem Reap was far from perfect, but I think I have some tips to share with you should you plan to visit this city in the northwestern part of Cambstreet view Siem Reapodia.

WHEN TO GO: We arrived in Siem Reap on February 11, 2013, which was the second day of the Chinese New Year and therefore probably the busiest week of the entire year. According to Chheuy Chhorn, deputy director of the tourism department in Siem Reap, 41 flights from China and Vietnam landed everyday during February 11-13 (source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/2013021461364/Business/angkor-wat-sees-tourism-spike-over-lunar-new-year.html). Imagine the abundance otemple in SRf tourists and then imagine the missing photo opportunities! If you have a choice, do not go to Siem Reap just before, during or right after the Chinese New Year. Siem Reap, thanks to its proximity to Angkor Wat and other famous temples, constantly receives a large number of tourists, but try visiting off season, even during the rainy season.

HOW LONG TO STAY: Prior to visiting Siem Reap many people were astonished at our plan to stay for approximately fiIMG_0539ve days. Many thought two, or at very maximum three days should more than plenty. I still think five days was a good length, and that in general one needs three full days to visit the temples and the surroundings of Siem Reap. Temple tickets are available for one, three or seven days and we purchased a three-day ticket and have no regrets. Since there is so much history, knowledge and beauty to be absorbed, I would recommend splitting those three days over four or even five days (ticket allows you to do so).  It took the rulers centuries to build all those temples, so to get a real feeling one or two days is just not enough!

WHERE TO SLEEP: Our main criteria regarding accommodation was to stay at a local, traditional place and support the local economy. So I did some Tripadvisor research before leaving Paris and found a guesthouse called Tranquility Angkor Villa (the photo below with the bed) and booked it over internet. It started badly: upon our arrival at 10pmfrom the airport there was a problem with overbooking (they constantly double book). We searched everywhere on internet to find another hotel to sleep in but everything was full. Everything. The  manager suggested we sleep on the mattress on their balcony but after seeing a huge rat run by we said no. To cut the story short, we ended up sleeping two nights at Tranquility Angkor Villa but on the second morning I woke up with hundreds of bites all over my body…… I had been bitten by bed bugs! We had planned to move to another more central guesthouse anyway so off we went. We paid 30usd per night (and got reimbursed half becauseTranquility Angkor Villa of the bed bugs) but in my opinion there are so many nicer (and cheaper!) places to stay at for much better quality and location! Do not let Tripadvisor reviews about the owners’  friendliness to fool you. Lastly, two brothers are not even owners…

(As soon as I realized what had happened I wrote a review on Tripadvisor, and I rewrote it upon our return to Paris, and still today, nothing has been published! I see other negative reviews have been written about Tranquility Angkor Villa since our stay but I am still curiously waiting to see when mine comes out, or if it ever will, and why not……)

It has rarely happened to me anywhere in the world that everything is full, but during that week it seemed to be the case in Siem Reap. Almost. For the rest of our stay we slept at Popular Guest House (the photo on the right) which was more centrally located and clean. If you are stuck in Siem Reap and “everything is full”, you may find a room at Popular Guest House because they have over 50 rooms (they are more like a one-Popular Guest Housestar hotel). We found that staff was pretty unfriendly and only interested in money but what can you expect from a place where you pay 10USD per night? There is also a rooftop restaurant but it serves nothing to write home about… (http://www.popularguesthouse.com/)

This said, I would suggest a few places that I heard good things about. Babel Guesthouse (http://www.babelsiemreap.hostel.com/) is a guesthouse located in Wat Bo Road, about 2km from Pub Street (where Tranquility Angkor Villa is also), and it is also recommended by Cambodia and Laos by Eyewitness guidebook. A Finnish couple we met on the Siem Reap – Viantine flight spoke very highly about Babel Guesthouse, saying it was excellent, very clean and food so delicious they didn’t need to leave the guesthouse in the evening. My Home Tropical Garden Villa (http://www.myhomecambodia.com/) is a small, stylish guesthouse with a swimming pool in the same street than Popular Guest House (about 10 minutes walk from Pub Street). This is where we wanted to stay, but could not get a room. Double AC room costs 20USD. A very affordable hotel we heard good things about is Central Boutique Angkor Hotel (http://www.centralboutiqueangkorhotel.com/) where room prices start at 47USD.

In higher category, Hôtel de La Paix is going through renovation and rebranding, and will open as Park Hyatt Siem Reap (http://siemreap.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-siemreap-park/index.jsp?null) very soon (Q1 2013?). A dear friend stayed at Hôtel de La Paix last year and loved it beyond words. “It was BLISS”, he told me.

Otherwise, most of the four- and five-star resorts are located on the Airport Road: far away from Pub Street but more easily accessible should you want to return to your hotel for lunch in between the temple visits. Just last week a friend stayed at Borei Angkor Resort & Spa http://www.boreiangkor.com/) and he got a very interesting off-season deal “definitely worth the money”.

PS Like us, you may want to have a pool to jump into after walking up and down all those temple stairs under the burning sun. However, unless you spend the money to stay at a fancy resort, you do not need to look for a guesthouse with a pool. First of all, temple visits are time-consuming so you may not even have time for swimming. Secondly, you can use a pool at almost any hotel in exchange of few USD.

WHERE TO EAT: Khmer Kitchen

During our five-day stay in we mainly ate at Khmer Kitchen (http://www.khmerkitchens.com/) located in the Alley (be aware of other restaurants that carry an almost identical name). We particularly liked fish amok, chicken khmer curry (with pumpkins, potatoes Khmer Kitchenand carrots) and mango salad. I cannot say the food was very refined but it was consistently good enough, and the setting cosy. Unfortunately the service was quite inattentive and slow most of the time.

One day we tried Angkor Palm (http://www.angkorpalm.com/) because it has a reputation as a good and safe place to get a good introduction to KhmeAngkor Palmr cuisine . The sampling platter for two (the photo on the right) had nothing amazing on it except maybe the spring rolls…

Our last night in Siem Reap came and it was time to change and try something different, so why not Cambodian BBQ (http://www.restaurant-siemreap.com/html/cambodianbbq.php)? We ordered “Real local BBQ”, 10USD for two, which includes beef, chicken or pork, bell peppers, lettuce, onion, basil, rice and yellow needles. As you see in the photo on the left, the mBBQeat is cooked on the domed part and the vegetables in the stock surrounding the domed part. There was a Khmer sauce for dipping but did it make the barbeque more tasty? Not really. It was a fun-enough experience to do once, but I am sure there are better places to taste authentic Cambodian barbeque.

For coffee, we tried Blue Pumpkin (http://www.tbpumpkin.com/) but were not impressed by their coffee or cookies. However, we really appreciated having a quiet moment early in the morning at Le Grand Cafe. EsprLe Grand Cafeesso was excellent, venue beautiful and service efficient. The woman we met there (manager/owner?) speaks very good French and is very friendly. Le Grand Cafe reminds me of some cafes we visited in Havanna and Santiago de Cuba, and I actually regret we didn’t go back in the evening for a drink.

TRANSPORT & VISITS: Every guesthouse and hotel can organize a guide and a car/tuk tuk, but it is cheaper if you have a direct contact. Toward the end of our stay we got to know a young man called Chhor Chamnan and regret of not meeting him earlier. Chhor has been in tourism business for 13 years, working regularly with the Australian Embassy in Singapore. He is pleasant, reliable and his English is very good –highly recommended. He charges 20USD per day for a car in Angkor area and 40USD to visit the sites more far away. Should you need his guide services, he takes an extra 20USD per day.

His email is chhorchamnan@hotmail.com and mobile number +855 (0) 12786723. (We made a mistake of booking our guide via Popular Guest House and the guide’s knowledge was appalling. Apparently finding a good guide is difficult because the best ones are reserved for tour groups and luxury hotels well in advance)

IN CASE OF URGENCY: In the Northeastern end of Pub Street there is a pharmacy called U-Care (http://ucarepharma.com/) which is really as good and reliable as any Western pharmacy. Staff speaks English and are friendly.

For more urgent needs there is Royal Angkor International Hospital on the Airport Road, affiliated with Bangkok Hospital Medical Center (http://www.royalangkorhospital.com). They may not accept your insurance, so you have to pay upfront (it can get very expensive, as a simple consultation costs around 120USD) and Khmer China Clinicget reimbursed by your insurance company once back in your home country –not the way it should work!). Right in the center of Siem Reap, near the upcoming Hyatt, there is also Friendship Khmer-China Clinic (no website but easy to find). It is much less fancy, but highly recommended for their availability, reactivity, kindness and attitude (and prices are substantially lower). I probably would not want to spend a night there but some of the most amazing human beings I have ever met work there.  As your third option, and should you want something Western, there is Naga Healthcare (http://www.nagahealthcare.com/). In our case Doctor Joost Hoekstra was not very helpful, but he speaks French, too.

BOTTOM LINE: The center of Siem Reap is not very nice. In the evening it becomes a Drinking Factory and the epicenter of all happening is its famous Pub Street (see the photo). We only enjoyed the center in the early morning when everyone else (who was not already visiting temples) was too hang over to get up. Pub StreetDuring our Southeast Asia tour we met many people who shared this vision and I think it is a pity. Locals surely are pleased about the foreign currency inflow, but I cannot help myself but to wonder could the tourism have taken a different direction in Siem Reap? This said, I think it is important to separate Siem Reap and the temples. If you are going to Siem Reap, it is most likely because of the temples. So, forget the center and Pub Street, and try to focus on enjoying the beauty of the architecture and understanding the vision of the Hindu kings who built those temples because this is what Angkor really is about and what really matters.

The Sleeping Beauty: Vientiane (part 1)

(A more detailed story about Siem Reap and visiting the temples will follow at the latest from from Paris, if not before. The connection was so bad in Siem Reap that I could not do any writing and uploading).

After five full days it felt like it was time to move forward from Siem Reap. We had seen the main temples and even hired a car for a day to visit the sites further away. We appreciated the temples and the transformation they had made from Hinduism to Buddhism. We also loved havingLao Airlines meal a morning coffee in the center of Siem Reap at Le Grand Cafe, but in the evening the center became a Western Drinking Factory and this is not why we came to Asia… We had looked into Siem Reap – Vientiane airplane tickets from Paris and the price seemed stable: around 200USD per person one way. On Saturday afternoon we visited one of the Siem Reap travel agencies (www.europe-asiatours.com) and found out that we could buy a one-way ticket for 157USD including taxes and all fees (payment only in cash). Unfortunately the flight was full for the next day, Sunday, so we returned to the hotel to do some googling hoping to find something for Sunday. On http://www.lastminute.com we found a bit more expensive tickets for the next day, and the decision was quickly made: it is time to leave Cambodia for Laos.

During the flight from Siem Reap to Pakse we met a lovely couple from Finland (if PDD hotelirjo & Teuvo from Jyväskylä are reading this, all our best greetings to you and thanks for those nice discussions!). In Pakse, where everyone had to go through the visa and passport control, we were supposDD Hoteled to wait for two hours for the connecting flight, but as soon as we arrived we asked if there is a possibility to get onto the next flight, leaving in just 30 minutes. After some waiting around they said yes, and without any extra payment we checked onto Pakse – Vientiane flight. Our first contact to Lao people was very sweet. They seemed shy and reserved, but a smile was never very far away. We also found out that they like sweets: during the flight we were served two different types of cakes, one of them in the picture with some green filling… (not bad!).

Upon arrival in Vientiane we shared a taxi with Pirjo and Teuvo (7USD a car to the center). Our stop, Vayakorn House, was full but eventually we found something near by and closer to the Mekong River, Douang Deuane Hotel (25USD). Later on the day we read some reviews on http://www.tripadvisor.com and agreed with them: our fifth-floor view from the hotel roomroom was very clean, the bed was comfortable, and we even had a small balcony looking over temple roofs on the right and the Mekong River on the left. The quality of the bathroom was slightly inferior to the room, but it was still clean.

After checking in at the hotel it was time for a late lunch. Our dear friend who had been to Vientiane last year had recommended Tintin-inspired Chokdee Cafe (http://www.chokdeecafe.com), which turned out to be around the corner from our hotel. Chokdee CafeChokdee CafeI do have to admit that I can be quite reluctant about the touristy bars and restaurants, but I immediately fell in love with this restaurant that has a huge selection of Belgium beers (and even mussels on the weekend!!) and Western as well as Lao dishes. Chokdee Cafe is not your usual touristy bar, it is an expat hang out place where you are sure to meet very interesting people. During our first visit we talked to a European man learning Lao language and explaining the pronunciation difficulties to us, while we overheard a discussion on how to invest in Laos. All thispapaya salad and minced duck salad happened while a nice Dutchman (in the picture) was singing old French and English songs, and some songs composed by himself about living an expat life and going to Embassy parties… During our second visit we met an Englishman who had just bought an apartment in Thailand and his new Scottish friend, met on a Luang Prabang-Vientiane bus.

The food at Chokdee Cafe was delicious, too. Papaya salad was a bit too spicy and it is rare we cannot finish a dish… However, my favorite was the Laap Phet: the minced duck breast mixed with mint leaves and chili. DELICIOUS!!! (As I am writing this, it is the best Laap I have had in Laos so far!).

by the Mekong

We could have stayed an entire evening at Chokdee Cafe but once our mouths were burning from the chillies and stomachs full from excellent BeerLao we headed back to the streets. Walking by the Mekong is walking on a border: Thailand is just on the other side of the river and this is why you get messages “welcome to Thailangymd” on your cellular phone. (However, if you curious about crossing the border by the river on your own, do not try. A local guide told us that the Thai soldiers/customs officers are quite corrupted and will fine you very heftily should they catch you…). We also realized that the Lao people are very sportive: there were many skate boarding and jogging along the river, and we even saw an outdoor gym by the river.

Eventually the sun set, but we continued walking. The temples looked very different ftemplerom the ones we had seen in the center of Siem Reap and against the templedark sky they for sure held special magical power.

The Lao people dine early and many places close at 9pm. In addition there is this sort of unofficial curfew at 11pm, so the dining hours have nothing to do with the Mediterranean way of life… The restaurant (Makphet) where we had wanted to go was closed  but we found a food court on Th Chao Anou Street. street food

My husband had some pork sausage (I don’t eat pork) and he said it was a bit sweet but good and interesting. Together we shared grilled squid and a grilled fish (see the photo) that they call “panin” (at least this is what it sounded like to me). They stick a lemongrass inside the fish but if you do not know what it is, you may mistake it for a bipanin fishg spider or something! Panin was clearly a river fish, but the meat was consistent and tasted good.

I think the next time I visit our summer house in Finland I will catch local lake fish and serve it stuffed with lemongrass!! A great barbeque idea.