Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Phnom Penh: Market Tour and Cooking Class

We took Scuba Steve's advice and scheduled a Khmer cooking class at Linna Culinary School, taught by the lovely Vong Linna, who teaches Khmer cooking to tourists, but also teaches professional courses in Western and other cuisines, as well as food safety to Cambodians.

We had a great time, thanks, Steve!

First, the market tour... Vong Linna was very excited about showing us everything at this bustling and crowded morning market.  It was one long lane of vendors, some with tables, some just selling goods off of a tarp on the ground.

These poor chickens have no idea what fate holds for them in the near future:

I imagine they will soon end up thusly:

Anyone for pork?

Dried fish and lots of it, much probably fished from Tonle Sap, where we had kayaked a few days prior.  Vong Linna told us that whatever fish was not sold fresh on the first day after it was caught was then sold dried:

This honey vendor, my favorite sight of the tour, was wandering the length of the market, selling her goods.  Her honeycomb looks like it was clipped right off of a tree branch, doesn't it?  No fancy bee hives for her.  Plus, the honeycomb comes complete with bees still in it!:

This sorta gives you a sense of how crowded the market was... sorta:

More fish and seafood:

Ok, onto the cooking part of the class.  Vong Linna showed us how to make fresh summer rolls, so we rolled and ate a few to tide us over until the rest of our meal was complete:

Then we headed down for the main event, beef lok lak and Khmer pumpkin soup!  Below are the ingredients for the Khmer pumpkin soup:

Tony and Emily, deep in concentration as they prepped their mise en place:

Me, rocking the mortar and pestle like a boss:

Tim, also showing 'em how it's done with the M&P:

The boys face off in the soup challenge:

Emily assists the chef de cuisine:

In goes the pumpkin:

Keep stirring!

Vong Linna shows me and Tony how to properly flip the beef lok lak:

Finishing off the sauce:

The final result!!! My favorite part was actually the dipping sauce for the beef lok lak... freshly ground Kampot peppercorn plus salt and lime juice... amazing and the perfect acidic complement to the rich lok lak sauce:

Tony and Emily giving their best blue steel with their lovely finished meal:

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