RAFFLES Grand Hotel d'Angkor continues its newfound crusade to liven up Siem Reap’s “dining experience” by hosting a series of themed food festivals, catering especially for residents.
Its first festival, dedicated to the pungent durian, was a much savoured gourmet treat, and on Monday night the hotel launched the second in the series – the Cambodian Crab Festival, which runs through to Sunday night.
For $25 per person diners are treated to a bewildering array of foods flavoured with crab, and a range of cooked crab featuring, of course, the famous Singapore Chilli Mud Crab.
The food festivals are the brainchild of the recently arrived general manager Robert Haupt, and he and his team once again ensured an innovative night.
Diners’ tables were covered with sheets of specially imported newspaper – pages of the Straits Times from Singapore served as utilitarian tablecloths.
Each table was equipped with a wooden platter that had a crab motif inscribed on it and a holder for the wooden mallet provided for the sole purpose of bashing dead crabs.
The highlight of the night, crab-cuisine-wise, was the steamed crab in a bucket.
The live crustaceans contained in wicker baskets were dutifully steamed, and then served in silver buckets.
Guests donned specially made aprons emblazoned with more crab motifs, wielded mallets with gusto and pried the delicate flesh from shards of shattered shell.
The banging of mallets was punctuated by the regular thud of live crabs – obviously gaining insight into what was in store for them – escaping from their wicker baskets, plopping to the floor and trying in vain to make a run for it.