Breakfasts at Hotel de la Paix


Hotel breakfasts must be good, or I would never return to that particular hotel. And when you need a hearty breakfast before a day of trekking through temples, it better be utterly spectacular. In this regard, the Hotel de la Paix did not disappoint. Breakfasts were a solid 9.0/10.0. Each day you wandered down to face an UTTERLY SIMPLE, YET UTTERLY STUNNING buffet of fresh fruit on ice. I have eaten at dozens and dozens of hotel buffet breakfasts before and I have to say that hands down, this was the most beautiful array of vertically unchallenged fruit I have ever seen. Lined up neatly on simply trimmed banana leaves over simple rectangular blocks of ice were several types of tropical fruit cut in a way that they were presented “standing up” that were colorful, graphic and totally enticing. Between the blocks of ice were several types of mineral water (with or without gas), bottles of champagne for mimosas, different types of dairy such as milk and yoghurts. Beautiful. A nice way to wake up.


Set-up nearby was an equally beautiful array of baked goods, preserves, butter, cereals, etc. I don’t have a photo of this part of the buffet, but it was equally attractive. And the scale of this spread was modest, not some huge train station type arrangement, more like breakfast for say 120-150 guests throughout the morning. Everything was in smallish portions and frequently replenished. Very tasteful.


The most sought after tables were on swinging cushioned platforms with a superb view of the inner courtyard. We managed to secure one of these tables on our second morning there, but proceeded to get so seasick at breakfast that we returned to a normal table on the verandah on our third and final day…


The weather was pleasantly cool in the mornings and it was the perfect weather for outdoor dining, particularly with such well-manicured gardens and pools nearby.


I started my breakfast with a plate of gorgeous fruit, so incredibly good-looking, but more importantly, so consistently ripe and delicious. The fruit in Cambodia was wonderful. I dare say so much better on average than our own fruit in the Philippines. Only our mangoes would trump theirs by a substantial margin. Oh, and maybe our pineapples too. Because it was there, I also had a mimosa or glass of freshly squeezed orange juice with champagne every morning… Always nice to indulge while on holiday…


On our first day at the buffet, we were presented with a choice of dishes we could order up… and we decided on sausages and eggs, eggs benedict and some pancakes. We obviously missed the back side of the menu which had all of the wonderful Asian dishes on offer… duhh. I also didn’t have my camera with me to record the first day’s choices. On the second day, I had this absolutely delicious bowl of noodles in a light chicken broth. So light on the stomach, yet warm and comforting.


The waffles with peaches were also very nicely done that morning.


On the third day, I had this slam dunk wickedly good bowl of egg noodles with more of a dark hoisin/soyish sauce that was hearty and tasty and fantastic. If I had a bit of chutzpah, I would have asked for another bowl. It was memorable.


The kid discovered the lemon poppyseed muffins at the buffet and we all had several of those on separate mornings.


And two things caught my eye at the buffet, first a freshly squeezed guava juice (can’t figure out how they got the color like that, artificial?) that was refreshing and unusual…


…and BINGGO! a wonderful chico jam or preserve that was almost uncooked in texture and flavor but sweet and jam-like. I have been wondering how else to use chico when it is in season (we have thousands of kilos worth from several dozen trees on a family property) and I tried jams to poor results. Now I will try just mashing the fruit and mixing it with some simple syrup. On a heavy banana bread with walnuts and sweet butter, the chico jam was the final exclamation point to several wonderful breakfasts at the Hotel de la Paix. :) Now let’s head off to a temple or two or three or four…


45 Responses

  1. At 9:30 pm this is a bad time to get hungry looking at your fotos..great looking dragon fruit!! The noodle soup dish looks so gooood….That’s a different way to present the buffet fruits huh? Seen so many hotel buffets but that’s simple and “different” but looks inviting.
    The chico jam is intriguing. Chico always reminds me of my lola. I have a great banana-walnut-carrot bread recipe that my friends love. I’d like to learn how to do that chico jam. My bread recipe is really good. That’d be a good and unique partner huh? Will google chico jam. Gee is that chico in English also? Let me know MM if you get one pls. Chico has a certain texture that I like. Also great childhood memories.

  2. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and is a consideration when choosing a hotel. Yours looks and sounds like it was just the best! Continental choices with distinctly Asian selections. Bingo.

  3. I pay extra for hotel that serves great breakfast. Not only important, siempre iba na yung maganda ang gising mo to start the day right. This one is awesome.

  4. I love this post! We’ve been thinking of going to Siem Reap. I was choosing between dela Paix & FCC Angkor(which is cheaper) but I think I’ll go for Hotel dela Paix now because you chose it.

  5. Marisse and MM: mabuti pa kayo and you can indulge yourselves in chico…chico is a distant memory now for me but I can dream about it though! I can just taste the chico jam and so….here is what I would do: peel and cut your chico in quarters if big or halves if puny. Then add sugar. Since itis sweet as I remember from my childhood, I would just add half the amount of sugar….say if you have 10 cups, just add 3 cups sugar to start with. Sprinkle that over the chico and let it sit…the longer the better. Then you will see a lot of liquid exude from the mixture. Then let it come to a boil. Once it is soft., turn off the heat. Now, if you want texture. just use an immersion blender and just for a few seconds. I think that will work. What do yoou say, Sister?

    Homebuddy: for the home cook, sometimes it is hard to get the restaurant taste of the dish because we don’t have the proper equipment. But it will work if you have a gas stove. Electric stove doesn’t give it that high heat generated by gas stoves. However, MM with his Viking….whoa, he can replicate those quick stirfry dishes. BUT in my dream house, this is what I will have built…besides the Viking , I will have a SOLO gas stove, like 1 burner much like the one campers use for deep-frying. Anyway, back to the noodle. If you have a gas stove, put your kawali and crank up the heat. Have everything ready first since this takes maybe just a couple of minutes to do. Cut celery, kinchay, green onion ,a few slices of onion, garlic. In another small bowl, put maybe 3 to 4 tbsp. dark mushroom soy, another bowl with hoisin, another bowl with chinese barbecue sauce or something called…chow bean paste (I will go to Asian store later when the stores open to check on the spelling)..oh, your noodles, have it blanched in boiling watr and then drained. It is a dry noodle dish, right MM? So, crank your heat to high. When it is smoking, add 1/2 sandok of oil, and let it heat to smoking. When it is smoking, add your onion, stir a few seconds , add garlic, afew seconds and then add rest of the gulay, Stir , stir , stir for few seconds. Then add your noodles so it gets coated with the vegetable infused oil. Then season, Add the toyo, and rest of sesaoning, sauces. STIR

  6. Hay, naputol na naman! Anyway, keep on stirring, Homebuddy. Then it is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Lunch is ready in less than 5 minutes.

    Garnish with cilantro sprigs. This is making me hungry. I think this is what we will have together with the Barbecued Chicken Legs (brined already) while watching Super Bowl. So off to the market I go after Church!

    MM, that dragon fruit….Hindi ko mai-spelling iyong taste. It is nice to look at but taste-wise…I much prefer the sugar apple if I have to pay for the same price.

  7. Homebuddy…I forgot to tell..when I cook at home esp. on week-ends, I cook ala carte kasi the boys and the hubby are in and out of the house kaya I have the toyo and sauces in bowls and the gulay all prepped. Kaya when one of the boys or hubby want something to eat, I cook just for 1 plate.

    So, DO NOT ADD ALL THE TOYO in one gisa! I have spoons in each bowl and cook by “tancha”. Oh, mas masarap if you can get the garlic shoots and add it instead of green onions. Did it have garlic shoots in your dish, MM?

  8. My mistake, Homebuddy…the bottle says ” Chee hou sauce” and not “…chow sauce”…it works with linguini too and a touch of pesto did the trick for us!

  9. MM, Chico fruit confit is feasible to make and eat fresh out of the kitchen. As ‘jam or preserve’ (at least 35% fruit), it’s a technical challenge to make and would be a really innovative product to benefit many chico farmers who may have to throw away fruit after an unusually big harvest. Maybe, that is why there is no chico jam in the grocery (some entrepreneurs may have attempted to place in chilled section). Please experiment with small quantities before trying the “thousands of kilograms” from your farm.

    First, chico is a low acid fruit with pH at 5.0 – 5,3 range. It would be very chancy to avoid yeasts or moulds beyond 2 weeks even with the most hygienic preparation. Even max dosage of typical preservatives like sorbates, cheap and ideal for acid fruits, do not work well with some Y&M varieties that thrive at low-acid environments.

    Second, the natural flavor of chico is subtle (again as with other low-acid fruits like papaya, banana); the most memorable sensation is the graininess. The taste of lemon, the typical buffering acidulant to lower pH to a safer level, would probably overpower chico.

    There are some suggestions for the constraints above but, I think, they are out of the box and never been tried on chico.

    For the Y&M problem, there is a preservative that works for milk products (similar pH range as chico) called nisin. Nisin is nature-sourced and I would be surprised if Kraft and Magnolia do not use them. If you intend to make big volume, you will need preservative as insurance for safety.

    And for the acid, maybe a different concept is in order. I suspect that in the Chinese culinary arts, chico is a ‘cooling’ fruit. Thus, a ‘slow’ acidulant like lactic acid (sour milk?) and not a sharp one like the usual lemon (citric) will work better to match and not mask chico’s subtlety. (Malic acid, which is normally paired with apple products, is slightly faster than lactic but may work too.)

    Finally, to take the sorbate out – with nisin in – you may try apple pomace (the remains after extracting juice from the fruit); the fruit matter would not conflict with chico ‘grains’. I think a creamy chico-apple jam would be nice combo and natural, at that.

  10. Chico-apple, as flavor concept, may have a global market, too! A few years back, ‘exotic + familiar’ was all the rage exemplified by kiwi-strawberry. Now, k+s is mainstream.

  11. MM…checked my most used cookbook….dilapidated one but my most trustworthy one…can’t tell you which one kasi no more cover and the first few pages are gone….anyway, it said to BLANCH the chicos for couple of minutes to COAGULATE THE SAP and shrink the fruit a bit , then drain and…then proceed to add the sugar and boil till soft. Now , there are some jams that could be frozen eliminating the need for processing….much like the freezer jams. At least, it is PURE NATURAL GOODNESS of the chicos.I don’t have any chicos that i can buy to make chico jam experiments…rarely seen in grocery stores even Asian stores…

  12. Hi betty q. Maybe you can find displayed with Mexican fruits (but may go with another name – sapodilla). From the internet, the original home of the chico is the Yucatan peninsula in Southeast Mejico.

  13. Thanks so much bettyq, I know I could count on you for a recipe of that noodle dish in the photo. Will surely try it soon because my family loves chinese noodles very much!

  14. Bettyq, btw, would also appreciate a perfect pancit canton recipe.
    I know the Chinese do not know this dish hehehe, but you know what I mean. We’ve been to many Chinese Restaurants Cebu, Manila, hereabouts in the Philippines and Hongkong too but haven’t found the right one. Imagine going to a Chinese Restaurant in the U.S. and Europe and all I could think of was Pancit Canton, call me a freak, whatever but it is still the most illusive dish for me. Wherever I am, what I get doesn’t satisfy my mind and tastebuds. You just might be the resource for that perfect one. Thanks in advance! I will surely try that recipe you just sent because from MM’s photos it looks delicious!

  15. Homebuddy…IT IS GOOD!!! We had that yesterday for merienda and my mistake was buying only 1 pack of egg noddles. I thought it was plenty enough for 4 people….big mistake! It was for only 2 people. I had to make more using linguini.

    I know your craving for Pancit in the US. The best or closest noodle I can tell you when you are outside Pinas is the E-FU noddle. It tastes like Canton noodles but looks different-flat and looks like linguini. It is already fried and sold in round packages. But it really tastes like Canton noodles. So when you go to HK, ask for that noodle dish.
    For home cooked Pancit Canton: I urge you try this E-Fu noodle but if not, Pinas Canton will do:

    1 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined and seasoned with pinch of salt, splash of sherry or rice wine, 1/2 egg white and 1/2 T. cornstarch.
    1 cup raw chicken meat, cut into strips, and SEASONED EXACTLY the same way as the shrimp
    1/2 bunch green onion, cut into 1 inch lengths
    2 or 3 slices ginger root
    6 softened chinese mushrooms, cut into strips,
    1/2 carrot, julienned
    1 bamboo shoot, julienned
    6 shanghai bok choy sprout or baby bok choy, cut into halves

    seasoned chicken stock about 2 cups maybe(you can always add more later if not saucy enough)
    pinch of sugar
    3 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. water

    Again, smoking hot pan and add oil…wait till smoking. Add the shrimp first and stir until pink. Remove with slotted spoon. Then add the chicken and stir it too until it turns opaque. Remove and put in another small bowl. Now Add a bit of oil and reheat pan again and add the ginger and green onion and gisa until fragrant. Add the vegetables except the bok choy and stir fry a few seconds and add the stock and seasoning. let it come to a boil. Add the bok choy and stir fry a few seconds. Taste and Adjust seasoning. Thicken with a bit of cornstarch and pour the mixture over your E-noodles.
    salt/pepper to taste. You can add a drizzle of sesame oil if you wish.

    Does your wok or kawali has that black thing on the bottom…not the underside but inside the wok? Do not try to make it shiny. That is what gives that Chinese taste whne you are stir frying. Haven’t yoou noticed in Chinese restaurants, their wok is so black? Call me weird but that is what I look for in garage sales.

  16. here in Singapore stir fry noodle is as common as pansit bihon or palabok in Philippines. Betty q is right the secret to their stir fry noodle is the high heat during cooking yun bang tipong mas mataas yung apoy sa kawali. ingredients here are quite simple chili padi, belachan, shrimp, spring onions, bean sprouts and green leafy vegetables with some garlic and light soy sauce. For Singapore $3 to $4(P90 – P120) you have a decent meal in any coffee shop here.

  17. BettyQ: How do they make tempura shrimp straight not deformed like an O ring in Japanese resto? Thanks for your input.

  18. BettyQ: How to make tempura shrimp straight looking like the ones in Japanese resto? Thanks.

  19. Good morning, Maria Clara! …straight as an arrow prawns for tempura is achieved by making several slits ..not too deep though across the BELLY of the prawn….it works!

  20. BettyQ: Thanks much. I’m still at a loss here. The shrimps are butterflied – so on top of the back cutting they slit the belly too which I believe is the opposite side. So they slit the belly first then butterfly them or the other way around? Thanks for your help on this Bettyq.

  21. The prawns that they use is I think size 26/30 or 21/25. Anyway, they only devein the prawns, leaving the tail intact But they cut the tail end diagonally to release the water in it so it will not PITIK when slipped in the hot oil! It is not totally butterflied like open…just deveined then flip it over and the belly side…small slits in maybe 4 places depending on the size of the prawns…small size..maybe 2 or 3 slits would suffice.

    The belly is NOT BUTTERFLIED!…just cut across the prawn very, very shallow slits. If you cut it too deep, you might cut the prawn in pieces. Can you picture it now?

  22. The prawns that they use is I think size 26/30 or 21/25. Anyway, they only devein the prawns, leaving the tail intact But they cut the tail end diagonally to release the water in it so it will not PITIK when slipped in the hot oil! It is not totally butterflied like open…just deveined then flip it over and the belly side…small slits in maybe 4 places depending on the size of the prawns…small size..maybe 2 or 3 slits would suffice.

    The belly is NOT BUTTERFLIED!…just cut across the prawn very, very shallow slits. If you cut it too deep, you might cut the prawn in pieces. Can you picture it now?

  23. BettyQ: Got the goal and idea thanks much for enlightening me on this. You drew the blueprint well with all the details!!!!

  24. Thanks Maria Clara for asking that question re the tempura shrimp. I devein mine too but want it like the jap resto. Will try that too. Thanks!!

  25. Thanks bettyq, you are surely a good resource for recipes. I will try to make it soon and thanks for the tip on that black kawali, perhaps that’s what makes the difference. Will try to cook it as soon as all ingredients are available. Another thing,how do the restaurant cooked pancit make the shrimps and pork soft, do they coat it with cornstarch before stir frying?

  26. Black kawali is made from cast iron which is ideal for stir frying because it has better heat retention needed in unique process below (compared to aluminum – an excellent conductor – which dissipates heat faster).

    The kawali bottom shape is also very important. Ideally, it is rounded – again, see below for why – so you must have the right stove so the kawali will not tip over.

    ‘Stir fry’ is a smoke flavor so very high heat is required. Betty q is right that you must see the smoke before you mix the other ingredients. The rounded bottom allows the oil to pool; when you whisk it around the kawali as you begin the thin coat of oil above the bottom is the first to smoke. (Note: The high heat needed to boil oil exceeds Teflon boiling point so non-coated cast iron is safer, too.)

    You can vary the stir fry flavor by using different oils. The Chinese also use peanut or sesame oil; you may also fry with spices where you wish to impart smoky-ness or you can try smoky black vinegar for that jaw-clenching impact.

    A quick aside. No Western flavor house has captured good ‘stir fry’ so the best Chinese restaurants are still those which use woks and towering fires. To reduce the time for barbecue and ham-making, the Americans have captured smoke flavor. The Crace family in Kentucky first commercialized the process by burning choice cuts of Hickory, Mesquite, etc in special furnaces and capturing the smoke in oil. The flavor houses are working hard on this salivating on the potential of all those restaurants who can reduce cost – by cooking with lower heat – in making stir fry dishes. So far no luck.

    The typical Chinese cooks do not wash their beloved woks with detergent. Instead, after cooking and disposing of excess oil, they use a bamboo whisk with water to clean it over the fire. Bamboo, being softer than iron, does not scratch the wok bottom; I am sure the remaining carbonized food on the surface also contributes to the smoke flavor in future fries (and contributes to the flavor houses’s head scratching, too).

  27. Also, frying without the smoke produces sinangag; real good stir-fry has that first smoky note (aroma) as the chopstick approaches your mouth. Smoke also enhances meatiness (taste) that follows.

  28. Homebuddy, it is called Velveting…the process of cooking it and adding a touch of cornstarch but I have to get hubby aand kids ready first to go to school…will tell you later all about it…meanwhile just do your Pancit first!

  29. Bemarvin…are you related to Apicio?…You SOUND like Apicio!!!!…a wealth of information as well like Maria Clara!

    So, Homebuddy…let’s talk shrimp/prawn and chicken or pork used in Chinese cooking. They are generally coated with EGG WHITE and cornstarch before stir frying and done first before adding the other ingredients. If you are using prawns/shrimp, it is BEST to give them the salt (brine treatment) wash first to give it that crunch texture . Then drained and then coated with the above ingredients to protect them from the oil and prevent overcooking. Same goes for the chicken /pork ,..NO BRINE though.

    Say for instance you want to make a simple prawn stir fry with asparagus or peas with cashew nuts (nut allergy alert!)
    1 pound of peeled, deveined shrimp, if you are not tamad, then do the brining thingy, sprinkle 2 tbsp. salt over it and cold water and let it sit for a few mi nutes. Then drain and rinse and drain.

    Coating: a tiny pinch of salt (ONLY IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BRINE IT!!!!)
    1 eggwhite
    about 2 tsp. cornstarch
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    Add the above ingredients to the prawns and mix gently and let it sit for about 15 to 20 mi utes.

    Other ingredients.
    1/2 cup PEANUT OIL (not to be given those with nut allergies…use canola instead!), used for veleveting
    3 slices ginger
    1 tsp. minced garlic
    1 stalk greeen onion, chopped
    1 pound asparagus spears or you can sub it with beans or baby shaghai bok choy
    a few splashes of dry sherry or rice wine
    pinch of sugar
    2 tsp. cornstach dissolved in 2 tsp. water
    few splashes of sesame oil
    1/2 cup sesasoned chciken stock
    HIGH HEAT on your wok. When smoking add the oil, while oil is still WARM>…add the prwans and stir to separate the prawns. Right away turn off the heat and let it sit in the warm oil for only 2 MINUTES> DRAIN to a bowl. NOw, just wipe clean the kawali. DO NOT WASH! THe kawali is ready for stir frying. HIGH HEAT AGAIN UNTIL SMOKING. Add a few tbsp. of the drained oil. Let that get SMOKING HOT> Add the ginger, Stir for a few seconds only Add the vegetables, and stir for a few seconds again, add the sherry, garlic, and green onion (if you do this at the beginning, the garlic and onion will BURN right away because of the realy hot oil). Add the rest of the ingredients. Then return the prawns and give it a quick stir. In less than 5 minues, lunch is ready. Serve this on top of rice!

    For beef and chicken or pork, same eggwhite and cornstarch. Some Chinese cooks add a PINCH ONLY of baking soda. If you add more than necessary, it will smell AMMONIA-Y!!!!But when you are ready to add it to the oil. get the wok really really hot and add the oil. When you see smoke starting, add the pork or beef and stir to separate. for only a MINUTE or so. Drain and wipe the kawali and get it smoking again and add some of the drained oil and let the STIR FRYING begin!

  30. BettyQ: Stir frying then is a good use of eggwhites from leche flan and ensaimada. Perhaps clean and well-dried ice tray is a good vehicle to form the eggwhites and when frozen as hard as a rock pop them out and keep them in ziplock bag and just take two or pieces of iced eggwhites for stir frying. Now I know the secret of stir frying eggwhites and cornstarch. I said it before and I say it again thank you thank you Bettyq!

  31. To make the Shrimp tempura straight, aside from making the 2-3 belly slits as Betty Q said, turn the shrimp over again and press down on the shrimpon top of the slits until it sort of pops. This breaks the muscle that makes the shrimp curl up.

  32. Thanks so much bettyq, tried it (velveting as suggested) yes, it really makes the pork and shrimp soft and not overcooked. Hurrah, thanks to you again. Really appreciate it!

  33. BTW, BETYQ, The chocolate cake recipe you posted is fantastic! Very moist and chocolatey! thanks. I used dutch processed cocoa which makes it very very dark.

  34. Homebuddy: …I am glad you liked it…now, do the same for topping for Pancit Canton…next time, make the slit a bit deeper when you devein…not totally butterflied …so when you cook the prawns, it looks like a ball…use 26/30 prawns….finished product looks like the ones you eat at Chinese restaurants!

    Oh, the chocolate cake freezes very well!. …but before you do so, brush with simple syrup flavoured with Kahlua and wrap and freeze. Bake this a few days before you plan on using it!

  35. Maricel, thanks a million for your tempura shrimp invaluable add on tip. Greatly appreciate it.

  36. I enjoyed our stay as well at Hotel de la Paix, 3 years ago. What I like about their breakfast is that you get to choose ala carte for the main dish, and the rest, like fruits, juices, yoghurt, and breads, buffet style.
    But I have to say, “nahilo ako” sitting on that swing-type chairs in one of our dinners!



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