The country of Cambodia represents different things to different people, depending on one’s age.
If you’re old enough to remember the Vietnam War, then before anything else, Cambodia will forever be etched in your mind as a land of conflict. If you listened to Britney Spears in high school, Cambodia is an exotic travel destination. But if you’ve been there and also love weed, Cambodia makes you think of one thing — Happy Pizza.
It’s a little-known fact that a multitude of pizza parlours and some other restaurants, mainly in the country’s capital of Phnom Penh, use marijuana as an ingredient in their specialty dishes. Cannabis is in fact, illegal in this Asian paradise, but research on the topic shows that police turn a blind eye, especially when they walk away with a fistful of currency.
In a 2014 article in Vice Magazine, the journalist recounts his travels in Phnom Penh when he visited Happy Pizza, unaware that they top their namesake dish with weed. He ordered a vegetarian pizza with “extra happy.” He then spent the night roaming the streets of Cambodia, higher than he’d ever been.
As there are several of these literal pizza-joints around, some have much more obvious names like Happy Herb Pizza and Happy Special Pizza for example. Many of them come with great reviews of the food and fabulous reviews of the incredible high that comes an hour after you pay the bill. Some of the more humorous posts have titles that include “Don’t make any plans for the rest of your day” and “Do not eat the whole pizza!”
But Italy’s greatest edible export is not the only cannabis treat on Cambodian menus. Many of these establishments offer a coconut milkshake, and for an extra dollar, you can make it “happy.” This brilliant move by the local culinary community is seemingly the Cambodian equivalent of super-sizing your order, and it will be the best dollar ever spent.
For the moment, cannabis reform in Cambodia much like the country itself after the war remains frozen in time. You can find it almost everywhere but legalization is nowhere. But, if you are fortunate enough to visit this jewel of history and culture, venture into a local happy pizza restaurant and Cambodia. It will be the best trip you may soon forget.
(Cover image courtesy of The Drurys)