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Street food unjustly maligned

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A vendor dishes up a bowl of noodles in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Dear Editor,

In her column in the Post on December 21, Princess Soma Norodom asserted that “Cambodia isn’t a place where street food is safe.”

This generalisation is, surely, an unwarranted slur. I have eaten Cambodian street food for years, and have yet to be struck down with food poisoning.

By its very nature, street-food preparation methods are transparent and the customers are usually Khmer, who are very discriminating when it comes to the quality of cooked food.

I have, however, been ill as a result of eating in a Western restaurant in Phnom Penh where the food was prepared in a kitchen that was out of sight.

Nonetheless, it would be quite wrong to make a sweeping statement that Western restaurants in Cambodia are not safe.

Indeed, to do so would be unacceptable, as the livelihoods of many people depend on the confidence people, particularly visitors, have in them. The same goes for street stalls.

Incidentally, given the constant positive references to experiences the princess has had in the world’s greatest republic, I’m surprised she doesn’t drop her title when writing her column.

Surely, the abandonment of status resulting from inherited rank was one of the principles behind the drafting of the constitution of the US, a nation to which she is so obviously attached.

Michael Hansen
Phnom Penh

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