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Psar Chas

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Old-School Retail Therapy
Old Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodian spices and curry mixes
Old-School Retail Therapy
Old Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodian spices and curry mixes
Old-School Retail Therapy
While cute souvenir shops and even haute couture boutiques exemplify the changing face of the retail scene in Siem Reap, the city’s famous Old Market remains a heady hub of traditional trade and commerce. Located right in the heart of town, Psar Chas is amply stocked with lots of things that you might want to buy—as well as plenty of things you probably do not. That said, perusing the labyrinthine aisles full of silverware, silks, handicrafts, spices, stone carvings, and other assorted ephemera is worth a couple hours of anyone’s time. Stay calm and haggle politely with a smile on your face, and you're sure to find a bargain or two.
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Old Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Everywhere I go, I check out the market. The Old Market in Siem Reap is not to be missed.

Situated along the Siem Reap River at the south side of the Old French Quarter near Pub Street, the Old Market (locally known as Phsar Chas) is a covered, open air market tightly packed with vendors.

As you enter on one side of the market, there are vendors selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs: silver and spices, t-shirts and trinkets, carvings and jewelry, Khmer silk and perfumes. As you delve deeper, you'll find vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meat and fresh seafood--as in breathing, writhing fish, eels and sea snakes. At the heart of the market, of course, is a busy food court where vendors serve locals and travelers soups and dishes. And on the outskirts is the houseware and hardware section.

The market closes at sunset...the pulse then shifts to Pub Street!

Map: http://www.canbypublications.com/maps/somrmapmain.htm
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Cambodian spices and curry mixes
You'll spot Cambodian spices and curry mixes packaged prettily for tourists, like the Khmer Curry spice mixes above at the stalls lining the Western edge of Old Market (side closest to Pub Street). Spices are also sold in handmade packaging at gift shops like Senteurs d'Angkor, which specializes in all things fragrant, from spices and Kampot pepper to soaps and incense. The spice mixes above won't be useful for serious cooks, who will want to buy individually packaged spices in larger quantities. For those, head to the stalls in the centre of Old Market or to Psar Leu, another local market on National Highway 6 (one of my favourites) or Angkor Market (Siem Reap's best supermarket).

These, however, are perfect for those of you who have done a cooking class and would like to try making what you learnt at home, but probably can't see yourself cooking Cambodian food on a regular basis. A pre-mixed spice pack means the dish probably won't taste exactly as it did in your cooking class or favorite Siem Reap restaurant, however, it will save you carrying home a range of bulky spices and if all you want is an edible reminder of your travels, they'll do the trick.

Try to buy vacuum packed spices, so they last longer; like anything, fresh is best when it comes to spices. It might also be the only way you'll be able to get them through Customs in your home country. Some countries won't allow them in at all, so check before packing and risking a fine, or declare them if uncertain.
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Pub-Street Area #10, St. 2 Thou, Mondol 1, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
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