A gem of a human took me under his wing in Siem Reap and taught me how to make this Beef Lok Lak.
This Khmer dish is a staple among Cambodian households. I’ve discovered that recipes vary greatly from household to household, and cookbook to cookbook. This was the way I was taught by memory.
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Travel along with me during sunrise and exploring Angkor Wat!
If you ever find yourself in Cambodia, sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must! It’s such a magical place. It’s like watching this gorgeous painting being created in real-time, with a majestic backdrop.
There’s something so incredibly captivating about Siem Reap in the early morning. It always surprised me how busy and buzzing the Markets and small noodle shops were at 04:30-05:00 in the morning.
Local people tend to start their day before sunrise; I’ve been told because the temperature’s more comfortable for work and running your errands before it gets too hot.
Cambodia is the only country that turned me into a morning person!
WHERE’S THE BEST PLACE TO WATCH SUNRISE AT ANGKOR WAT?
Well, that depends on what you’re optimizing for.
Are you looking to take that classic snap of the sun rising over the main temple? You know, that iconic image you’ve seen splashed all over the pages of Condé Nast and while scrolling on insta? Or, are you looking to beat the crowds so you can have a more relaxed experience touring the temples?
I’ve done sunrise at Angkor Wat both ways during my travels and they each have their benefits, but one definitely reigns supreme for me (by a long shot).
Although the views were nice and grandiose at the main temple, I much preferred watching sunrise at the South Gate while being with only a handful of likeminded people. It was so cool and special to discover the faces of the 54 stone figures lining the bridge as the sun came up. It was a much more intimate and chill experience.
A massive bonus to starting at the Tonle Om South Gate is that you’re doing the temple circuit backwards. Meaning, you’re avoiding the crowds!
While everyone is gathering en masse at the main temple, you’re already on your way and likely won’t encounter crowds until you’re almost done and the heat is creeping up on unbearable.
The photo above is from our 2nd visit to Angkor Wat, when we started at the South Gate. I mean, just Iook at my capture of Bayon Temple; we were all alone! After battling intense crowds the year before, we couldn’t believe what a different experience it was!
If you’re heading to Siem Reap and are looking for a reliable and trustworthy tuk tuk driver, I’ve got you covered. Please reach out to me and I’ll send you Rah’s contact. He’s the best!
Beef Lok Lak (Shaking Beef)
- 1 wok or wide skillet
- 1 wok spatula
- 1 medium bowl
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- 2 tbsp soy sauce I prefer to use a dark soy sauce; I like Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark for its deep color and mild sweetness
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce Lee Kum Kee label with lady and boy in a row boat is my favorite
- 1 tsp sugar I prefer to use palm
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 4 tbsp oil for pan-frying must be high smoke point
- 1 ½ lb beef tenderloin top sirloin, or rump steak – cut into small cubes or thinly sliced; keep in mind cooking times will vary depending on method
- green leafy lettuce a few medium sized leaves per plate
- 4 tomatoes 2 sliced medium thick and 2 diced; keep separate
- 1 white onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 shallot peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tbsp Kampot fresh green peppercorns you can order them online; totally worth it!!
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl to create a marinade, then mix in the cubed or sliced beef. Leave to marinade for at least 15 minutes but ideally for a few hours up to 24 hours.
- Prepare the dinner plates by layering a corner of each one with lettuce leaves, tomatoes, and raw onion.
- Heat the oil in a wok or wide skillet over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic and sauté until slightly golden; take care not to burn the garlic.
- Raise the heat, add the marinated beef and the green peppercorns and stir-fry until medium-rare, stirring constantly to keep the beef from sticking.
- Add the diced tomatoes, then quickly stir-fry to mix it in. Allow to boil and reduce to a thick sauce. If the heat is too high, add a little stock to help prevent burning.
- Spoon the meat onto the salad bed. Serve with hot steamed Jasmine rice and the Lime Pepper Dipping Sauce on the side. Sometimes I add a fried sunny-side-up egg on top, as seen in this photo.