Finally, a suitable group came together with the common ambition to try out a dog restaurant in Phnom Penh. We had already begun working eachother up to the event at lunch, when at a different restaurant there was a beef dish with 'insect sauce' complete with ants and wasps. This dish was actually quite tasty despite the unusual crunch.
The same evening the dog restaurant street was hopping with excitement (a culturally male only event). We were easily offered a table and as many bottles of 25 cent local red rice wine as we wanted. This was nice because the wine was tasty and became a familiar comfort to fall back on when presented with a variety of new dishes and tastes. The barbecued dog on a stick ended up being our favourite – we ordered a second plate. The curried dog was a little tough and dog scalp meat a little dry.
As common in many local restaurants, 'appetizer' vendors circled in and out of the area offering various local snacks. Being in the adventurous mood, we couldn't pass up the fried frogs on a stick and one bag each of fried beetles and crickets. These were surprisingly flavourful.
It was about this time that the ingredients to our fall back comfort item, the red rice wine, was revealed to us. I was told that it is common to add a fruit or herb to color the normally clear drink. This being dog central, they used the ingredients on hand.