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DNAK founder: We fly the Cambodian flag on the world food stage

The layout of Digby’s Grocer & Cafe. MOEUN NHEAN
The layout of Digby’s Grocer & Cafe. MOEUN NHEAN

DNAK founder: We fly the Cambodian flag on the world food stage

A couple who have just crossed the continent has come back from the United States to live, share experiences and create jobs to help their compatriots in Phnom Penh as their main mission. And their next target is to bring products made in Cambodia to local and global markets.

The first task of David Chiv and his wife Amy Chiv was to build a grey, three-story building, DNAK Square, located at the intersection of Street 63 and Street 306. The building’s striking design sets it apart from its neighbours.

The ground floor of DNAK Square is home to a coffee shop, Digby’s Grocer & Café. The shop offers all kinds of meats, vegetables and other groceries. It is joined by Digby’s Butchery, a proper Western butcher, a rather new concept for Cambodia. As for the top floors, they are preparing to run a Flava Restaurant & Tapas Bar which has space for more than 300 customers.

Some of the food from Digby’s Cafe.
Some of the food from Digby’s Cafe. MOEUN NHEAN

“Every possible achievement here comes from the love in our hearts and their efforts to achieve the first goal, which is to create jobs to give Cambodian youths a better chance, delicious food to eat, and a high income that they have never dreamt of,”
David said. “For more than 50 of the people working here, it is their first job. I do not want to give them only work, but I also have to provide training to them first.

“I have created work from my heart, so I have to give them one task all of them will fulfill their responsibilities and as a result, we will achieve together and it will receive the support of our customers.

“My staff are my partners and the customers are our boss,” David added.

“Our products all are produced out of love and pureness. I take great care in quality, sanitation and particularly making sure that our products are healthy,” David made a point of adding.

Three months after the pilot launch of DNAK Square, which houses Digby’s Grocer & Café and Digby’s Butchery, David had overcome many hurdles and he, together with his wife, is looking to the second step – that is, the launch of Flava restaurant in early 2014.

Amy Chiv, the Singaporean wife of David, pointed out shelves of roughly 100 kinds of meat and groceries that are all produced in Cambodia with Cambodian materials.

“They are high quality products,” Amy said. “They are produced from the raw materials brought in from an organic farm in Kirirom called Discovery Farm and the farm of Okhna Mong Rithy. They are of higher quality than those imported because they have no chemical additives from the farm to the shelves.

“All products can be preserved for three months in the freezer, and they must be eaten within three days after being taken out of the freezer. Otherwise, they lose their quality. For example, our special sausage made from pork is 99 per cent meat and 1 per cent spice. This recipe is created by DNAK, nowhere else has a sausage like this.”

Some of the food from Digby’s Cafe.
Some of the food from Digby’s Cafe. MOEUN NHEAN

“Our next goal is to export these meats to food fairs in Singapore in early 2014,” she said. “ We will bring the Cambodian flag to international food fairs for the first time.”

With confidence in their products, the owners of DNAK are looking to export the products to sell in Cambodia’s nearby neighbours such as China and India. They believe that these products will surely boost Cambodia’s reputation.

Currently customers in Phnom Penh know DNAK, and they like and are proud that Cambodia can produce such high quality sausages. Restaurants and hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have also started to order these meats gradually.

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