Tree grows ever greener under new proprietors

Tree grows ever greener under new proprietors

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Singing Tree Cafe managers Michael Batura and wife Fin Sovanny with new manager Maureen Chen.

Siem Reap’s haven of all things alternative, the funky Singing Tree Café, officially changed hands on Tuesday, with Maureen and Tom Chen of Raja Yoga taking over from husband-wife founding team Michael Batura and Fin Sovanny.

Batura said he and his wife had mixed emotions about handing over the cafe and community centre they have run since December 2005.

“We’re sad but happy at the same time,” he said. “We feel we’ve taken it as far as we can and we’re not really doing it justice. That we found like-minded people to keep it going and take it further is actually really exciting.”

Maureen Chen said she’ll continue the Singing Tree’s noble legacy, and add more community programmes and activities.
But the big change is to the café menu.

“We will be going completely vegetarian for the menu, so we’re removing the fish. It’s what we feel is environmentally appropriate. Also, alcohol won’t be on the menu any more,” announced Chen.

The proud new proprietors have already installed a meditation hut and plan to set up an environmental training centre for Khmers to increase awareness of environmental issues by doing things such as growing vegetables and using solar panels.

Batura and his wife will partner with Raja Yoga to open a vegetarian sandwich and juice bar next month, called Singing Tree Corner, in the West Alley near Pub Street.

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