Went to a great restaurant tonight. Friends is one of a small group around the region that trains former street children to cook and serve in the restaurants. It has a much larger goal as well and provides a multitude of programs in technical training and education.

We had all kinds of amazing dishes that use local ingredients in new ways. This one was beef with lemon grass and black ants (a mix of little ones and juicier big ones with wings).


The desserts are particularly good.

This one was pineapple with palm sugar caramel and chilli ice cream.


Then passion fruit tart with white chocolate ice cream.


From their website here is a little information about Cambodia and street children:

“In Phnom Penh there are, on a daily basis, 1,000-1,500 street children who have completely cut ties with their families and have made the streets their home. According to the figures accepted by UNICEF, there are between 10,000-20,000 street children working on the streets, who have kept ties with their families and return home either regularly or irregularly. Mith Samlanh estimates that there are between 500 and 1,500 children belonging to street living families. This figure fluctuates, depending on the situation in the provinces.

Cambodia has a young demographic structure with 44.3% of the population under 18 years of age. A combination of severe decimation of the population during nearly three decades of war and civil conflict, a post-war boom and the low average life expectancy of 57 years, are reasons behind the unbalanced population demography.

According to official statistics, 35% of the population in Cambodia lives below the poverty line (1800 Riel / USD 0.45 per person, per day). Approximately 80% of the population lives in rural areas4 where the highest poverty and the lowest school attendance is found”