Exploring the Phsar Leu Market
Sihanoukville Travel Blog› entry 36 of 94 › view all entries
Sometime last January the main market in Sihanoukville - Phsar Leu - had mysteriously burned to the ground. When I had passed back through in March, construction was well under way on a new one. Much larger, it is nearly completed now. Welders continue finishing touches to the roof and electricians add power to more of its booths. But without the uneven footing of a dirt floor, gray boards bridging puddles of brown water, or shafts of sunlight stabbing through its tattered tin, rusting roof, the place seems to lack the old world charm that it once held.
Each of its four new massive buildings, under one blue roof, still bustle with activity but are spread out more now. The place is much bigger than it used to be.
The sights, sounds, and smells of the old market lingered as I shopped for a swimsuit. In my haste to leave my country, I forgot to pack the bathers that I already owned. I settled on a black one with Yinjian in white letters printed on gray stripes down either side. The lady wanted $4 for the garment but graciously settled for three.
I followed my nose to the fish and meat sections. Cuts of meat that I had never seen before displayed in small piles next to the head of a pig, all washed clean.
The fish area seemed more active. A variety of fresh and saltwater fish squirmed in large pans of water by some venders and fresh shellfish with others. Some venders sold larger quantities while others just a few. One elder lady displayed two shark-like fish whose fins had all been removed - apparently choice meat. Another carefully cut nice filets with a butcher knife from similar fish. One girl held up a massive live crab as I wandered past and her neighbor pointed to her heaping pot of giant shrimp. With all the other countless market stalls of fruit, vegetables, sauces, and spices, I wished that I was not only set up for cooking, but knew how.