Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Like Local In Siem Reap

by Nicolette Kapp
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Written by: Nicolette Kapp

Just after six on a Saturday morning, I find myself standing alone in Wat Bo Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia. The wind is howling hot air with a cool temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. Familiar faces pass as the hustle and bustle of the small tourist town prepares for the day. This is it… This is what I’ve always wanted… To tell the stories of others.

I’m going to Phnom Krom Village, about 10km outside the City Centre, to meet and spend time with a local family. My driver, Leag Leab, shared untold stories of his childhood, reminiscing on what he would call ‘the good old days.’ Driving alongside the Siem Reap River, Leag, laughing and smiling, also shared many past difficulties that shaped Cambodia and why the world knows it as the Kingdom of Wonder.

The Phnom Krom Village is a small community compared to the vast size of the Phnom Krom Mountain it’s situated under. As I walked towards the home, kids were running around. Then, my eye caught a woman sitting outside with a large sharp knife chopping through raw chickens. Meet Nei Mom.

I eagerly awaited the opportunity to join Nei’s Mom and her family alongside the LikeLocal team. I had heard so many inspiring tales of their vibrant culture and adventurous way of life. Nei’s Mom is part of a big family of 13 – two sons, three daughters, and a brood of grandchildren. The men are known as the fishers in the family, and all the women help clean and prepare the fish for the markets.

The men of the house will leave for Tonle Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia, around 3 am to start fishing. When you get to Tonle Sap at that time, you will see men running around carrying nets and buckets while others unloaded boat after boat of fresh fish from their catches. It felt like a race against time as everyone seemed determined to get their catch ready for the market that same day.

Back at home, Nei Mom’s husband prepared an incredible array of traditional dishes using the same ingredients from the market – which tasted even better than they looked! For breakfast, she served up sngor chrok trey alongside trey prahet chean kreoung – simply delicious! That will be fish and rice with fish soup.

Nei’s Mom and her husband invited me into their kitchen to show me step-by-step how they prepare these meals and what spices they use. Guests like me can sit around and watch them clean the fresh fish for the market and cook meals. 

We sat outside under a tree around a table where we shared this incredible meal. For about two hours, Nei Mom and the LikeLocal Cambodia team hosted me to experience food like a local. 

About the Author: Nicolette Kapp, a talented freelance ghostwriter, excels at simplifying complex topics and catering to various writing tones, from professional to casual. Her engaging and approachable style ensures timely delivery while maintaining complete confidentiality. Trust her with your writing needs, be it articles or blog posts, for quality content.

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