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It's Oz fest

T HE Australians are about to show Phnom Penh the best they have to offer in terms of culture - and by that they definitely don't mean a meat pie and a tin of XXXX. HE Australians are about to show Phnom Penh the best they have to offer in terms of culture - and by that they definitely don't mean a meat pie and a tin of XXXX.

Two Cambodian concerns with managers hailing from Down Under - Australian Valley Wines and Le Shop - are joining forces with Hotel Sofitel Cambodiana to lay on a nine-day Oz-stravaganza.

"Phnom Penh has never seen anything like this before," said Andrew Maxwell, general manager of Australian Valley Wines and one of the organizers.

Topping the bill of the Australian Food and Wine Festival '94 is Peter Bishop, a leading Antipodean musician who has played with the likes of Bryan Ferry and Robert Palmer. He'll be performing every night in the Cambodiana's Cyclo Bar while the hotel's Le Mekong and L'Amboise Restaurants will be featuring Aussie-style menus.

But no, you probably will be hard put to find a single meat pie or hot dog. The tucker will be top class and its preparation overseen by one of Australia's leading chefs, Scott Webster, who has catered for tennis stars at Wimbledon and athletes at the Olympics. For those with adventurous palates there will be dishes prepared from crocodile, kangaroo and emu meat as well as more conventional seafood, beef and vegetarian fare.

The festival opens up tomorrow, Oct 8, with an invitation-only cocktail party thrown by Australian Ambassador Tony Kevin.

Other highlights are a Hash House Harriers pool party on Oct 9, a business lunch on Oct 12, an Aussie play reading on Oct 13 and a charity Aussie Bush Dinner Dance on Oct 15. The festival winds up the following day with what else - a poolside barbie.

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