Singing Tree has opened Siem Reap’s first California-style juice bar opposite Khmer Kitchen in the newly dubbed Alley West area near Pub Street. Of course, you can already get juice blends and fruit shakes from the guys pushing stands around town, but Singing Tree is the only place where one can suck down the Green Goddess – a cucumber, cabbage, apple and ginger mix. The brightly decorated outdoor space hopes to complement the tropical fruits used in the blends.
All of the produce at the juice bar comes from local markets, and they also offer grilled paninis and noodles (vegetarian as usual). Like the original Singing Tree across the river, the juice bar features a pamphlet rack with information about local NGOs, environmental organisations and other goody-two-shoe causes.
There’s also an information panel about solar cookers. The original Singing Tree uses a solar cooker and they’d like to educate their customers about this emission-free, affordable way of cooking. “We like to promote awareness of solar energy,” says manager Maureen Chen.
The café wraps its takeaway sandwiches in locally sourced, biodegradable packaging: banana and lotus leafs. “We’re working on biodegradable cups for our to-go drinks but haven’t been able to source the materials yet,” says Chen. Acquiring corn-based biodegradable cups from the US isn’t the easiest task in Cambodia, she quips.
Chen, along with other shop and restaurant owners in the area, recently put their heads together to call their common street Alley West. They also teamed up to pave the alley two months ago. “It’s going to develop into a community. We all know each other and share advertising,” she says.
As with everywhere in Siem Reap this high season, business so far has been quiet. Chen noted that Khmer Kitchen across the alley, nearly empty around noon, is normally packed at lunch. Unfortunately, Singing Tree may not have picked the best year for an expansion, but hopefully the end of the festive season may see things pick up.