The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Visit to Zita's Bang Bang Bakery in Siem Reap

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Visit to Zita's Bang Bang Bakery in Siem Reap

Hi folks. Very long time no post. I felt I just had to emerge from obscurity to let you know about my recent visit to Zita's Bang Bang Bakery in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Zita's handle on TFL is BakingBadly, which I can tell you must be read as supremely ironic!).

Fortunately, our hotel (the Mekong Angkor Boutique Hotel - great value BTW) was just 10 minutes' walk away from Bang Bang Bakery according to Googlemaps . It seemed longer and we were relieved to locate the bakery, which looks gleaming new.

Bang Bang Bakery

Retreating inside out of the building heat and humidity, we asked for Zita. There's a good reason he wasn't front of house. As the sole baker he's always on the graveyard shift. He hadn't mentioned that to me when agreeing to my suggested meet-up time of 10.30am. I imagine he would far rather have been off premises and catching up with some zzzs in bed than meeting up with someone whose only connection with him was The Fresh Loaf. The camaraderie of bakers...

My partner and I both liked Zita a lot. He's centred and quietly spoken, LISTENS (something of a rarity these days, I find), and is considered and articulate in conversation. Lovely young bloke. Need I say, he's the one on the left?

Zita with Ross

We had a really enjoyable chat about baking and Cambodia. Zita's taken on some serious challenges in establishing a commercial artisan bakery in Siem Reap. Followers of his blog posts on The Fresh Loaf will be acquainted with some of these, so I will not detail them here. Suffice to say, I greatly admire him for his courage and persistence in pushing on through all the barriers.

Here's some pics of Bang Bang's produce - I'll zip up and let them do the talking. The cakes, by the way, are the work of Zita's talented partner (Jana, from memory - do I have that right, Zita?).

Zita with produce

Bang Bang Bakery cakes

Bang Bang Bakery assorted Produce

I sampled one of Zita's bagels back in the hotel and am pleased (but not surprised) to report that it lived up to expectations.

Thank you, Zita, for meeting up with us and showing us your bakery, and may you, Jana and your business prosper. You deserve to.

To any readers thinking of visiting Siem Reap, I say do it. It's a very tourist-friendly town, somehow without being too touristy. There are restaurants everywhere serving Khmer food and all sorts of cuisines. Mostly v good quality and very cheap (high-end is there if you want that). The beers are cold and at 50c each during all-day "Happy Hour" are hard to resist. But of course, the great attraction is Angkor Wat. The entire vast temple complex - and especially Angkor Wat itself - is truly a wonder of humanity. I've been to every country in SE Asia, and India, and have seen a lot of temples, but Angkor Wat is really something else. Then there are the Cambodian people themselves, whom we found delightful, and I'm not just referring to hospitality staff. They're not only charming, but have a ready sense of humour, and they don't mind paying out on tourists as well as each other. I observed to Zita that they seemed to me to be a nation of jokers, and he agreed.

And if you make it to Siem Reap and have a day off from hard-core temple clambering, do make the effort to pop into Bang Bang Bakery, sample the wares, and have a chat with Zita if he's there. I'm so glad we did.

CHEERS all!
Ross
PS: An update from Zita: he now has an assistant night baker, so hopefully that should lighten his load somewhat - and give him some nights off.


Comments

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I am happy to hear of his success! I had read his posts in the past and wondered how he was doing. His bakery and wares looks beautiful.

It is amazing how this website has brought many people together from all over the world. Thank you, Floyd!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I actually meant to add a comment to this effect in my write-up. Thanks for reminding me with your post, clazar123.

Thanks to Floyd and TFL, I've also met up with pro baker and fementer extraordinaire Derek, from Fremantle (who showed Zita around when he was visiting Perth last year - I couldn't make it unfortunately).

Cheers
Ross

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've followed Zita's growth and admired his passion and persistance. It's nice to have a visitor's view and your lovely photos.

 

David

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

To be honest, I think some of my pics could have done with a little tweaking in Photoshop or similar, but I'll take your kind comments, deserved or undeserved!

And yep, Zita is a terrific young guy with a great love of baking, and as you say, passion and persistence. Hopefully he will reap just reward for his efforts. He probably already is in terms of personal satisfaction.

Good to "talk" to ya again!
Cheers
Ross

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Since most of us can't get to visit Zita, it is great to read about your exciting visit.  For those of us who know Zita from the beginning of his baking journey it is amazing to see how far he has come and how many obstacles he had to overcome. 

I hope one day I can arrange a trip during one of my business trips and stop by.  For now will have to be jealous and live vicariously through you :).

Regards,
Ian

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Would be great if you could schedule a visit to Siem Reap around your business itinerary. I'd love to have such an opportunity.

Ross

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Nice to see and hear from you Ross and to see how well Zita is doing , it was a great shame that you and Zita weren't ale to get together here in Perth  for the visit I planned for The Wood Fired Baker (Andrew) in Maylands, I reckon that both you and Zita would have been blown away. Its so good to see young bakers doing well in their endeavours.

I'm expecting to visit a bakery in the North of England close to where i will be staying in Huddersfield its the Hand made bakery  here is a link  that might be interesting to some TFL folk. http://thehandmadebakery.coop/about-us/ 

Thanks Ross for your write up almost like catching up with Zita again.

kind regards Derek 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Would have responded before now, but hadn't logged in for a while and only just saw your post. Hope your travels are going great!

Cheers
Ross

yozzause's picture
yozzause

better keep your eye out i have to put my holiday adventure up soon