Exploring the Phsar Leu Market

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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Entrance to the new market
 

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.

Fresh fruit
Wide walkways separate the four sections. Rows and rows of indoor stalls and booths continue to offer everything under the sun from toys, jewelry, and clothing to foods, appliances, and hardware. It takes several visits to learn the layout of the place. Each visit offers new adventures, discoveries, and endless photo opportunities.

 

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.

Spice and sauces
Other slabs, darker, hung on hooks; beef or goat. It seemed that no part or organ had gone to waste - from tongue to tail. The sellers were mostly women dozing in hammocks while their young children sat nearby.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Entrance to the new market
Entrance to the new market
Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit
Spice and sauces
Spice and sauces
Grilled meat and fish
Grilled meat and fish
The market area
The market area
Lunch counter
Lunch counter
Duck
Duck
Fish filets
Fish filets
Fried bananas
Fried bananas
Market stall
Market stall
Tying sausages
Tying sausages
At the market
At the market
Buscuits
Buscuits
Chickens
Chickens
Fish dried or fresh
Fish dried or fresh
Fish
Fish