Whetting investor appetite at embassy luncheon

The luncheon also saw the signing of memorandums of understanding. Pictured here are (from left) GenYouth chief executive officer Eldrick Koh, Malaysia Retail Chain Association president Shirley Tay, Cheuy, Malaysian Franchise Association chairman Datuk Dr Radzali Hassan and SME Association of Malaysia president Ding Hong Sing.

PALM sugar from Kampong Speu. Pepper from Kampot. The world’s best rice as awarded by international judges from 2012 to 2014.

These were some of the exports the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Kuala Lumpur promoted at a luncheon it hosted at Pavilion Hotel recently.

Guests were feted to dishes made from the recipes featured in Taste of Angkor, a cookbook launched by the kingdom’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry in October last year.

“Today is a special day for us and everyone else.

“For the first time in Malaysia, we are hosting an event for guests to discover and taste the real flavours of Cambodian food in Malaysia,” said Cambodia’s ambassador to Malaysia Cheuy Vichet in his welcome speech.

The event was held in conjunction with its 68th independence day celebrations and its takeover of the Asean chairmanship for 2022 — its third time since becoming a full-fledged member of the 10-country bloc in 1999.

The event also saw the signing of memorandums of understanding (MOU) with Malaysian Retail Chain Association, Malaysian Franchise Association, Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia and GenYouth, which provides platforms for industry exposure to youths.

Cheuy (right) and Koh looking at some of the raw products from Cambodia at the luncheon hosted by the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: YAP CHEE HONG/The StarCheuy (right) and Koh looking at some of the raw products from Cambodia at the luncheon hosted by the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

The signing essentially paves the way for collaborations and opportunities that will mutually benefit its participants.

One of them is to facilitate business matching between members of the associations and entrepreneurs in Cambodia.

But the main objective is to promote Cambodian cuisine.

“I have been here for two years and have yet to come across a proper Cambodian restaurant.

“We are looking forward to cooperating with restaurant owners who are interested in working with the embassy to add Cambodian dishes to their menus.

“We will offer consultation and facilitation within the scope of the MOUs,” added Cheuy.

In preparation for the luncheon, a spokesperson from GenYouth revealed that the embassy’s resident chef had worked with the hotel’s kitchen team to come up with the menu.

The ambassador did the food tasting to ensure authenticity of flavours were preserved.

In a three-course menu, guests were feted to Cambodian favourites such as na tang (rice crackers with peanut and chicken dipping sauce); sach kor sloek ka plu (beef rolls in betel leaves); slab moan bok (stuffed chicken wings); chha kroeung sach kor (beef stir-fried in lemongrass) and sang kya l’pov (pumpkin custard tart).

These were eaten with Cambodian Jasmine rice. Cheuy revealed that his country exported some 50,000 tonnes of it annually.

Two other main ingredients used in the dishes were pepper and palm sugar — they are two of the country’s popular products that have received Geographic Indication Certification from the European Union.

“The wheels of popularising Cambodian cuisine has been put in motion.

“The hotel’s top management is in the midst of discussing the possibility of featuring a few dishes in their weekend buffets with the embassy chef,” he said.

Apart from winning over stomachs, Cheuy added that further encouragement was being given to attract more foreign direct investments by exempting fully vaccinated travellers who tested negative in 15 minutes Rapid tests on arrival without quarantine, but requires a negative certificate of PCR tests valid for 72 hours before arrival.

He encouraged Malaysian entrepreneurs and investors to explore and expand into Cambodia, particularly in agriculture, food processing, manufacturing, infrastructure and tourism.

“If the local market can accept Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, they should have no problem with Cambodian dishes,” said Dragon-i Group adviser Datuk Henry Yip.

Yip added that palm sugar would be a good ingredient to incorporate into local cendol, as well as the possibility of introducing Cambodian dishes in the company’s industrial catering menu.

Eciatto Group executive director Nicole Low said a fusion approach could be employed by cafes.

“For example, the chicken dipping sauce in na tang can be combined with pasta or put into a croissant,” she said.

Uncle Lim’s Cafe co-owner Goh Kah Lyn said as most of the ingredients used were similar to those used in Asian cooking, they could be easily incorporated into a menu and packaged as a promotion to diners.

For details, call 03-4257 1150 (Mala Boneary) at the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia at or email boneary@gmail.com.

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