Spice Routes and Cultural Influences: The India-Cambodia Culinary Dialogue

by Angkor Database

Publication: ADB Resources Document CULI/HIS 26

Published: December 20th, 2021

Pages: 17

Language : English

Tags: food diplomacy, culinary, Cambodian cuisine, historiography, maritime routes, spices, Indian influences

"From India to Cambodia", the tasting dinner held at Kravanh (1) restaurant in Phnom Penh on Dec. 20 2021, was a refined and tasteful way to mark the Diwali celebrations in Cambodia, and to revisit questions that continue to stimulate historiography researchers: what was the extent of the "Indianization" of Angkorian Cambodia? how the Khmer civilization did process Indian cultural influences to develop its idiosyncratic religious, artistic and social references? how deeply a relatively landlocked kingdom was impacted by the historic trends in global commerce, intercontinental and regional maritime trade?

For this event gracefully hosted by HE Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to Cambodia, and attended by Cambodian officials such as HH Norodom Chansita, HRH Sisowath Tesso, HE Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister Women’s Affairs, HE Chhit Sokhon, Minister of Cults and Religions, renowned Cambodian chefs and delighted guests (1), Angkor Database has collated several reference documents related to this stimulating exchange of ideas and historic perspectives.

(1) The main dish of the dinner, steamed fish in banana leaf with Khmer paste (ត្រីចំហុយក្នុងស្លឹកចេក), was presented by Chef Kakada from Kravanh (2) and sided with typical Central and South Indian dishes, shaami kabab and bhindi bhaji. Among the personalities and organizations supporting the event were famed Indian chef Ranveer Brar and the Cambodian Anicca Foundation for Arts' Sake.

(2) The venue has also designed a 'Royal Menu' inspired by the recipes from The Culinary Art of Cambodia by HRH Samdech Rasmi Sobbhana, a book we had the honor to publish in a complete English-Khmer version in May 2021.

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Dr. Devyani Khobragade (top photo) and Chef Sao Sopheak (bottom photo) addressing the dinner guests.

NB: This collection includes our English translation of the luminous remarks on Cambodian cuisine and Indian influences by Prof. Ang Choulean, from his book La cuisine rurale d'Angkor.

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