Cambodia ~Kingdom of Wonder Chasing Dreams Travel Rambles Travel Tips

Explore Battambang: Creating & Tasting Khmer’s Cuisine in Nary’s Kitchen

Contrary to beliefs, I am not just a glutton. I can cook too. Amidst my travels, ‘cooking’ is one of the most useful skills that I have acquired. Since I do not have the luxury of cooking at home, I jump at all opportunities to ‘have fun’ in others’ kitchen – sometimes for free, sometimes at a minimal cost.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons7
Fish amok – traditional Khmer dish which uses spices, coconut milk and meat

In my recent trip to Battambang, the multi-lingual Nary generously imparted his cooking skills and recipes in HIS kitchen. Our cooking tour took place over an ordinary afternoon, where I’d soon find out the not-so-ordinary outcome of ordinary ingredients.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons6

Cooking tours in developing Asian countries are quite common, and these usually kickstart with a visit to the local market. This is possibly my favorite part of the tour, as the guide would share his knowledge on the local practices, cultures and fresh produce.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons5

The vibrancy of Battambang’s town market can be heard from afar, as the physically challenged sing to earn a living. Their melodic voices floated in the air, carrying lightheartedness that matched the idle chatters of the stall vendors. Flies flitted around large slabs of meat, while fishes and tortoises (some still alive) swam in shallow pots of water. The variety of vegetables and fruits was impressive and I snapped away happily, taken by the combination of vibrant colours and odd shapes. Here, we bought fresh ingredients such as coconut milk and lemongrass.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons3

Back at Nary’s Kitchen, everyone was given a pink apron and chef’s hat. Instructions were clear and under the watchful eyes of Nary (who’s really a chef with standards), we were able to create delicious Khmer dishes with ease. In total, we learned to cook the traditional fish amok, fried spring roll, stir fried beef lok lak and a simple dessert of banana in coconut milk.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons1
My creation!

The two ingredients that constantly turned up were sugar and bouillon (chicken essence). The Khmers like sweetness – not just in life but also in every meal. Yes, even your plate of savoury morning glory will have a tinge of sweetness. Although I am not a fan of bouillon, I have to admit that it presents great convenience to make a dish flavourful. Just remember to drink plenty of water after each meal.

naryskitchen_travelbeckons

In case you were wondering, you get to enjoy your food once you have finished cooking it – either lunch or dinner, depending on whether you have booked a morning or afternoon tour. You will also get to bring home a comprehensive recipe book so that you have no excuse to forget what you’ve learnt at Nary’s.

The above information has been compiled based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out: http://www.narykitchen.com/ 

0 comments on “Explore Battambang: Creating & Tasting Khmer’s Cuisine in Nary’s Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: