The Khmer Gastronomy Festival was held on December 5 at the National Cultural Center in Phnom Penh. The festival was organized by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA).
A total of 41 Cambodian cooks including 5 male competitors, all of them professional chefs from 13 cities and provinces across the country attended the competition.
“It is the 9th time that the ministry has organized this cooking event to show the people in Cambodia, how the best of our national cuisine is made “, said Him Chhaem, Minister of MoCFA. He said, “The main purpose of the cooking competition is to promote our culinary heritage, with special attention paid to regional foods from each province and city in the Kingdom of Cambodia.” He added,” Another objective of the event is to document and conserve all Khmer traditional cultural foods for enjoyment by the next generation.”
He said that according to MoCFA documents, Cambodia can boast of hundreds of traditional dishes all of them a delight to the palate and each one a direct connection to the dinner tables of the nation’s ancestors. However, during the tumultuous years of the second half of the twentieth century, some styles of Khmer food had been completely lost, as were the chefs who knew how to cook it.
He said, “I hope that through this event, we can help our Cambodian cooks to get a better understanding of the subtle combination of herbs and spices that constitute the soul of Cambodian cuisine. I also hope that we see some of the rarer examples of out nation’s food being sold in restaurants for both national and international tourists in Cambodia.”