Mouhot’s Cambodia: Tasting Notes

There are always stories behind stories. When we write an article for publication, there are characters we edit out, anecdotes we omit, details we cut for brevity or clarity. Much is left in the notebook for another day, another place… or never at all and nowhere to be seen. Only a smidgen of all we […]

Happy Anniversary, King Sihamoni

This week, the Cambodian people celebrate King Sihamoni’s 10th year on the throne. Ten years! I can’t believe so much time has passed. Here, I share a story I wrote (included in This Way More Better) about Sihamoni’s coronation. It’s not really about food. It’s about the character of a country.  ***** It’s the tail […]

A Look at Land Rights on World Food Day

Danu tribal family farmers heading to their fields in Shan State, Myanmar It’s World Food Day, an annual celebration marking the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which was founded  in 1945. This year, the day honors family farmers with the theme of “feeding the world, caring for the earth.” The United Nations named […]

Hungry Farmers Are Losing Land

Meet Chhek Sambo. She lives in a village not too far from Siem Reap, a burgeoning town of tourists who flock to the ancient Angkor temples. It’s a hip place to be, routinely noted as such on lists of the world’s top tourist cities. You can get a $2 hour-long foot massage, drink $2 happy […]

20 Years of Democracy in Cambodia

1998. A man hangs an English-language banner from poles at the Democracy Square protest in Phnom Penh. Thousands of people gathered in front of the National Assembly Building for weeks to protest the outcome of the 1998 national election. The banners were for international observers and news crews, as most Cambodians could not read English. […]

The Cambodian Worker’s Diet

Srey Pot Mom and Ben Sarith eat a dinner of steamed rice and beef soup with gourd. The slat table on which they sit serves as dining table, kitchen counter, living room sofa, and bed. Their room, like all of their neighbors’, is just big enough for a person to squeeze between that slat bed […]

Happy New Year!

Sailing Club, Kep, Cambodian coast, 2012.   Happy New Year to all! May 2013 bring much peace, good health and happiness (and maybe, if you’re lucky, a couple of those tropical drinks on a breezy coast for a happy-hour view of a monsoon storm rolling in). I’ll be back in a few days… with Rambling […]

Watching, Hearing the Rice

A long time ago, during one of my initial stays in Southeast Asia, I first heard a certain saying about farmers throughout the region: some of them plant the rice, others watch it grow, and some simply listen to it grow. It’s meant to be a commentary on stereotypes, ethnic relations and workmanship. I won’t […]

It’s Not Pork

Our friend Rith takes us home to his village, where his auntie cooks soup in a dimly lit kitchen, black from years of use. Little rays of sunlight beam through tiny pinholes in the ceiling. Her thick tamarind cutting board sits on a slat bed, where she chops scallions, basil, culantro and lime. Her pot […]

Eating Around: A Visual Food Tour of Phnom Penh

This, my friends, is the market where we used to shop for groceries when we first lived in Phnom Penh oh so many years ago. But I barely recognize the Boeung Keng Kong market today. I remember wooden stalls, mud puddles and mystery stenches. The vendors were generous, and I loved the magnificent arrays of […]