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Magnificent Siem Reap 7: Chrissy crackers

Oh the weather outside may be delightful, and the thought of snow just frightful, but we all need a little festive spirit this time of year, even in Cambodia. So whether it’s your first or fiftieth Christmas away from home, we have a rundown of the traditional crimbos on offer around Temple Town. Paper hats at the ready.

The Festivities:
Christmas Dinner at the River View Cafe
The Feast:
Four courses of eclectic festive favourites.

The Fine Points:
Having developed something of a cult status amongst expats, the River View is set to be a full house as it dishes out dinner on both Christmas Eve (8pm) and Day (2pm). For just $15, ($12 for kids) you’ll receive lashings of steamed New Zealand mussels in salsa, fresh cream of mushroom soup, smoked ham with raspberry sauce and brandy glazed mangoes with ice-cream for dessert.


The Festivities:
Scandinavian-style Christmas at Soria Moria
The Feast:
Nordic goodies, mulled wine on tap and a cameo from St Nick.

The Fine Points:
There’s no denying those Scandinavians know how to do Christmas, what with all the fir trees, woolly jumpers and snow and all. So if you’re looking for the true warm and fuzzies this yuletide, Soria Moria will be doused in Christmas spirit. For $28 (half price for kids over four) you’ll be treated to a hearty Christmas Eve feast, along with carols and games from the Sangkheum Centre children and a visit from Norway’s own Mr Claus. The price includes a charitable donation just to add to the good will vibes of the season.


The Festivities:
Christmas Eve Gala Dinner at Sokha Angkor
The Feast:
Every food imaginable in a decadent poolside setting.

The Fine Points:
For a truly gluttonous experience, look no further than poolside at the Sokha this December 24. For $100, the word “feast” is an understatement, with a buffet of salads, seafood, cheeses, smoked meats, sushi, tempura, soups, along with a host of hearty entrees, a turkey carving station and a choice of no less than ten desserts. If you manage to lift your head from your plate, there will also be a cultural performance and string quartet to serenade diners. Hands up who won’t be hungry until New Years’.


The Festivities:
Christmas Dinner at Molly Malones
The Feast:
Just-like-home traditional turkey with trimmings.

The Fine Points:
I can verify the Irish know how to do Christmas, from our penchant for a few festive tipples to knowing our way around the perfect potato. But accurate stereotypes aside, Molly’s has been a firm yuletide favourite amongst Reapers for a while now, and this year will be no different. Their mid-day Christmas feast menu includes soup or prawn cocktail, turkey (with roasters, mash and cauliflower cheese) or steak with crème brulee or ice cream for dessert. Who said you need your mother’s cooking at Christmas?


The Festivities:
Elegant Poolside Gala Dinner at Heritage Suites
The Feast:
A not-so-traditional luxe Christmas with an array of entertainment.

The Fine Points:
For those who like the finer side of the festive season, Heritage Suites hotel has it sorted. Christmas Eve proceedings kick off with cocktails and canapés, then on to dinner with a lobster cocktail, cod in champagne sauce,  and foie gras-topped veal tenderloin. All that will be washed down with a white chocolate log and lashings of wine. Oh,  and not forgetting the live musicians, Apsara dancers, Battambang jugglers and fire-breathers. All this is $60, but Reaper residents get a Merry Christmas discount.


The Festivities:
Christmas Eve Gala Dinner at Le Meridien
The Feast:
A buffet feast in the great outdoors

The Fine Points:
Le Meridien’s epic palm garden is no stranger to hosting signature events, so as Mr Claus loads up the sleigh, diners will be treated to an elegant evening against a stunning backdrop of beautifully lit (not-so Christmassy) trees. For $90 the hotel will lay on a magnificent buffet dinner under the stars. Once you eat yourself silly – after all, it is Christmas – you can sit back and give your festivities a Cambo twist with some Apsara dancing.


The Festivities:
Christmas Day at Pizzeria Tomato
The Feast:
Unseasonable Italian classics

The Fine Points:
Should you not get enough chances to visit a pizzeria on the 364 other days of the year, the kind folks at Pizzeria Tomato are keeping their doors open on December 25. From their new home in Nokor Soksan Plaza , they’ll be dishing out a $25 set menu of bruschetta, real Italian lasagne, green pepper pork filet and special Italian Christmas cake. While we could think of more atmospheric venues to feel a Christmas glow, when in Rome, or eh, Cambodia, why bother being traditional?

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