Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian ambassador in South Korea bridges cultural divide through food

Cambodian ambassador in South Korea bridges cultural divide through food

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
At his residence in the South Korean capital Seoul, Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche and his wife Nhem Davy cook Cambodian classics samlor kokor (soup with a variety of vegetables) and roast chicken with banana flowers, presenting the food to a group of visiting Korean journalists. Niem Chheng

Cambodian ambassador in South Korea bridges cultural divide through food

It is a busy Monday as usual for the Ambassador of Cambodia to the Republic of Korea Long Dimanche and his wife Nhem Davy, as they handle the Kingdom’s diplomatic relations in South Korea while also ensuring the smooth-running of consular services to the some 60,000 Cambodians residing in the country.

But despite their packed schedules, the couple recognises the importance of sharing Cambodian culture, and have made time to present the Kingdom’s food to their Korean hosts.

At his residence in the South Korean capital Seoul, the ambassador and his wife cook Cambodian classics samlor kokor (soup with a variety of vegetables) and roast chicken with banana flowers, presenting the food to a group of visiting Korean journalists.

Pumpkin porridge, an sam chek (a steamed banana rice snack), num bott (a steamed bean-filled rice snack) and num kom (another bean-filled rice snack) are then presented as desserts.

Davy said she selected this particular food as they are traditionally eaten daily back in the Kingdom, and can easily be reproduced in South Korea using the extensive produce on offer in Seoul’s markets.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Davy (right) said she selected the food as it is traditionally eaten daily back in the Kingdom, and can easily be reproduced in South Korea with the extensive produce on offer in Seoul’s markets. Niem Chheng

“The roast chicken mixed with banana flowers is a popular dish in Cambodia and it is delicious too. Banana flowers are also very popular when used as an appetiser in Khmer noodles num banhchok.

“These are the easiest things to find in Cambodia, so I wanted to show what Cambodians prefer to eat daily.

“We also have many vegetables to put in the samlor koko, including papaya, eggplant, pumpkin and green banana.

“However, we don’t have moringa leaves and piper lolot in South Korea, which are important ingredients. Fortunately, we have planted bitter melon and we can use its leaves,” she said.

Davy said Koreans are fond of eating beef, so at a previous cultural exchange event she made beef lok lak. Fish amok, perhaps Cambodia’s most well-known dish among Western tourists, also featured at the event.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Davy (right) said she selected the food as it is traditionally eaten daily back in the Kingdom, and can easily be reproduced in South Korea with the extensive produce on offer in Seoul’s markets.

Presenting Cambodian culture to South Koreans was a way to share knowledge and would result in mutual respect and understanding, she said.

“The staff and I at the embassy are proud and delighted to have presented Khmer food and products to Koreans during public and private events. We have already promoted our culture of food through the Korean media and the Asean-Korean Centre.

“Keeping our identity through food, desserts, clothing and manners is what we should do,” she stressed.

Dimanche said the embassy was continually taking opportunities to host exhibitions and fairs to showcase Cambodian culture, with the Korean authorities regularly organising multicultural fairs to encourage cultural exchange among the country’s foreign communities.

“We also organise cultural parades by mobilising the Cambodian community here, as well as host other activities like chhai yam [a drum and dance performance], lbok kator [a traditional Khmer martial art also known as bokator] and traditional dances.

“Since I have been here, I have also organised Maha Sangkran [Khmer New Year] every year to show our ancient culture. This is to celebrate with the Cambodian community and at the same time present our culture to others too,” he said.

South Korea is a popular option among Cambodian expatriate workers wishing to earn more money and send home remittances.

They have flocked to South Korea since the two countries reached a memorandum of understanding on human resource development in 2017, with an estimated 60,000 currently in the country.

Each year there is considerable competition to gain a place among the 4,000 Cambodian workers that South Korea requests to fill a variety of jobs annually.

They earn some $1,200 to $1,300 a month in the agricultural sector and $1,700 to $1,800 in the industrial sector.

About $300 million is sent to relatives back in the Kingdom annually.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the