December 19, 2014
Over the years I've had plenty of memorable holiday meals. Many of them involve turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and gravy. I remember one dinner from my youth, where there was a table of pies. How can you choose between a dozen different pies? So I had a piece of each one. I was so full I couldn't sit up, so I just lay there on the living room rug in a sugar-and-shortening-induced coma, like a beached whale.
But there is one holiday meal that tops them all.
Of course, it was on a bike trip. It had to be. Cyclists know that pedaling a bike increases the enjoyment factor of food by at least 72 percent. Stale granola bars that most people would throw away are gleefully gobbled by touring cyclists on the side of the road.
We were in Cambodia, and had just met Tibor, a fellow traveling cyclist from Hungary. All three of us had decided to search out an amazing meal to have on Christmas day. We ended up at a crab shack restaurant in the coastal town of Kep. No turkey with stuffing on this menu! We ordered a large platter of prawns and their specialty, crab with green pepper corn sauce. I'd never heard of green pepper corns.
It just so happens that this part of Cambodia is considered to produce the finest peppercorns in the world. These fresh green peppercorns were right off the plant. The taste was bright and spicy, but more floral than dried black peppercorns. Combine this amazing ingredient with fresh crab and you have the antithesis of a stale granola bar. Wash it down with cold beer, while gazing out at the ocean, in the company of fellow bike travelers, and you have all the elements of the best meal of a lifetime.
I wish you great rides with great friends and great food this holiday season!
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.