Fabric: Alencon lace
Known as the Queen of Lace, alencon lace originated in France and was not only a favourite fabric of Cambodia’s former queen, but is also the preferred item for Cambodian ladies who want to look their best. Despite the fact that it is uncomfortable to wear in hot weather, this pricey fabric is a must-have in your wardrobe because it signifies poise and grace within a woman. Even though it costs more than a hundred dollars for a blouse, you cannot attend an important traditional or cultural event without wearing alencon frills.
Cuisine: Hot pot
Hot pot is not Cambodia’s national cuisine, but it is the favourite feast for gatherings of family and friends. Because it consists of a wide variety of vegetables and meats, it enables a lot of people to pick whatever they like and drop it in the boiling flavoured soup. The secret to a happy hot pot is that people help each other prepare the meal and they can eat along with chatting and laughing out loud. When it is time to drink, they will drop the chopsticks and raise their glasses saying, ‘Cheers!’
Accessories: Frangipani flower
As you can see on the walls of the Kingdom’s ancient temples, frangipani flowers have been used as a hair accessory for Cambodia’s famous Apsara dancers for centuries. Yet, it is still cool to wear one above your ear when you are on holiday at a cultural destination or a beach. Besides its sweet aroma, a frangipani blossom fits well with a loose long dress or two-piece swimming suit with a sarong. And don’t forget to take a photo of your self with this accessory. Down the road, you will be able to look back at how fresh you used to look.
Cambodia has been importing heaps of used clothing for decades, and thanks to these second-hand things, poor and average people are able to afford their own outfits and even come up with their own styles. The cheap clothing comes with an unpleasant smell, but if you are patient enough to endure the crowd in the second-hand market, you will find something nice and still have money in your pocket. Just look for a cool design and brand-name clothes that fit your body’s dimensions. After doing the laundry, you will gasp in surprise when you see an old wrinkled cloth turn into a beautiful blouse.
Entertainment: Traditional drama
A city girl who likes traditional drama (Lakoan) may sound funny to you, but I’m not joking around. I never thought I would enjoy these traditional scenes until I got to see the live performance at the old stadium seven years ago. It is totally different from what you see on TV. The sound of the drums, the rhyming songs, the colourful lights, the performers and the folklore that I heard during my childhood triggered my interest in this traditional drama. That is why live performances are always better than sitting at home watching TV. If you have a chance to see Lakoan in person, don’t pass it up.