My favorite restaurant in Siem Reap is the Hawaii Pizza House. Despite the name, the menu offers much more than pizza and pasta. They also serve excellent Khmer food (the beef Lork Lak is my favorite) and a variety of tasty salads and sandwiches. But what I probably like best is the laid back, unpretentious atmosphere of the place, and the always friendly family members who run it. Duich, along with his brothers and older sister, all speak English and know how to please those sometimes picky “barang” tourists.
Hawaii is now — by my count — in their sixth different location since I first visited Siem Reap over a decade ago. Rent increases (i.e. greedy landlords) keep forcing the family to find more affordable buildings, but they always manage to maintain the quality of their food and service. Currently, they are located on the same “side street” of Wat Bo Road, where they have been the past five years or so. Only now they are on the opposite side of the road, next door to Two Dragons Guesthouse, and diagonally across the street from the Peace of Angkor Photo Tours office. Stop in and say howdy to Den or Dave.
Another touch I like at Hawaii is their pool table. When I’m with the Tri brothers or other Cambodia friends, invariably a game of pool will commence while we are waiting for our food to arrive. On this trip, each of the four Tri brothers handily trounced me at various games of pool. I was tempted to ask them if they’ve been hanging out in snooker halls instead of going to school every day. Hell, maybe they are doing both. In any case, these guys have become very, very good at playing the game. I never even came close to beating them. One of the brothers, Hach, was playing so well that he almost ran the table during one game.
By contrast, my friend So Peng Thai’s fifteen-month-old daughter has just started “playing” the game. Only she hasn’t realized yet that you are supposed to use a cue when aiming for the balls! Her mother had to monitor her play one night to make sure she didn’t throw the balls onto the floor below.