In Khmer culture, there are a lot of traditions and rules from one generation to another generation to celebrate the wedding party. In the past, people celebrate it in 3 days and 3 nights. However, nowadays people might think that it would be wasteful to spend too much time and money on it, so they cut it a little shorter, for only 2 days now, but they still have to follow the important rules in the believe of bringing them luck and happiness. Here is how people celebrate their wedding party nowadays. On the first day of the celebration, we start at two o’clock in the afternoon to begin ‘Krong Pea Li’, this ceremony is made to pray and call for the spirit of both families to bless the new couple. The groom, parents of both families and guest are all joining in with the blessing from a monastery, except the bride. After, there is another ceremony ‘Sot Mun’ – this one is includes both groom and bride as they are both Buddhists. Three or five monks are invited. People have to be silent, with their heads bowed and their hands in prayer while the monks bless the couple and the guests. Another ceremony starts right after that, ‘Jeav Khan Sla’ which is the traditional ceremony for the newly weds. It is about not forgetting the good acts and love that their parents have given their children from the time they were born to now, when they are getting married and to remind them of how hard it is for parents raise the children. During this ceremony, the bride and groom sit behind their parents and hold an umbrella for them in the meaning of re-paying all the things they owe to their parents. At the end of the first day, after all the ceremonies are done, they enjoy their meals together and go back to their own house. In the early morning of the second day, the bride and bridesmaids (often 3 maids) have to wake up at about 3 o’clock, do their make up and dress in traditional clothes and jewelry. The groom and groom-maids usually arrive at 6 o’clock since they just have to wear the traditional clothes and the ceremony will start at 7. ‘Hae Jom Nun’ is the ceremony that the groom, parents and relatives attend with a lot of fruits and desserts in the silver and gold trays brought to the bride house. The bride’s parents would come out and invite the groom’s family to their house in order to see the bride. Exchanging the ring is also done at this time. ‘Pi Thi Kat Sok’ the hair cutting starts after that, in the meaning of cleansing the past of the couple and get them ready to start their new life together. The bride and groom have to sit in the middle and are followed by their maids. One man and woman singers will dance and teasing the couples as they are doing the role of representing the gods who pretending to cut the hairs and spraying the perfume to cleanse their past. The family and guests then take turns cutting and spraying to bring the luck to the couple’s new life. Then we celebrate two ceremonies at the same time ‘Sompeas Ptem’ and ‘Bongvil Popil’. The bride will come out from behind the curtain and kneel down with the groom who has already waiting for her in the middle of the guests who sit in circle. The couple has to hold the sword in their clasped hands. Three lit candles are passed around three times and the guest will use their hands to wave above it to make the smoke fly to the new couple to act as a symbol of luck will be always stay around the couple. The guests and family then come up and tie red strings around the bride and groom wrists as the money or jewelry are given as gifts at this time. At last, the flower that we called ‘Pka Sla’ is thrown to the couple to represent that the couple has successfully been married. In the evening, guests are all invited to the wedding hall, with usually the bride and groom and their parents all standing at the entrance to welcome the guests. Gifts of money are given to the bride and groom as to give them a good start their great new life together. Small souvenir gifts are handed back to the guests as in exchanging of gifts. The guests are served multiple meals (usually 8 kinds of food) and photographers taking pictures of them. At around 8 pm, the couple has to walk through the red rug that is put from the entrance to the stage with all the guests standing along the rug and throwing flowers to them. The couple gives thanks to everyone while on stage, then the bride throws her flowers to the guests who are single and then they cut the wedding cake. Afterward, the bride and groom have to dance and are followed by all the guests in the traditional songs and modern music all night long. In conclusion, traditional Khmer wedding is a very joyful ceremony for the bride, groom, family and guests, all gathering and feel the happiness together.
Sometimes If we are let out early from class for lunch and don’t know where to go we go to a food court. People should try the Sorya Mall food court – it’s the place I’d like to recommend. The price is suitable 8,000 to 16,000 riel (2-4$) and there are a lot of tables and chairs to choose to sit, though sometimes it can get crowded. There are all kinds of foods that are waiting for people to grab it. There is Thai food, Vietnamese food, Chinese food, Korean food, and food from Italy. How to get the food is by first deciding what you want after taking a look around and then take your money to the counter – across from the food stalls – and change it with one of the cards. For example I would change my money 20,000 riel (5 dollars) to get a card that has 5 dollars on it. Then you can take the card and purchase all kind of food and soft drinks up at the food counters. By using a card it makes it easy for people not to use the same hand to grab money and food at the same time. After you are done eating, left over money on the card can be retrieved by returning the card to the counter. But don’t forget about desserts. The desserts are also what should not be missed – like sweet taro and banana are famous desserts here in Cambodia, among many others. If you haven’t tasted them you should go now.
I recommend to the people in the city to try the food up there in Sorya Mall, its good, fast, and easy to get.
Grilled bananas are bananas you take from a farm and grill using wood charcoal. It tastes a little salty, as all the sweetness is gone – it is a dried out banana. They mostly sell them at huts or at the markets, but some people sell the grilled bananas by bike or moto carts. At a cart, the grilled bananas cost 1000 riel (about 25 cents usd) for five bananas. The grilled bananas will not affect your health if you eat a lot of them. They are easy to buy every where in Phnom Penh. The other things you see on the grill are potatoes. They cost 500 riel each. The potatoes are smashed and then packed back together in a circle and grilled, they taste slightly sweet, but not traditional sweet. In short Cambodians like grilled banana so much, but especially me – I eat them before and during class everyday
AMOK is known as the most traditional dish of Cambodia. It is also known as “Steamed Curry Fish” or “AMOK Trei”. It is very famous for local people and for foreigners who want to taste Cambodian traditional cuisine. If you visit Cambodian restaurants, you may ask for a recommendation from the waitress or waiter. Almost ninety percent of them will recommend you to order AMOK since it is one of the most famous dishes in Cambodia. The ways that Cambodian people cook AMOK are not always the same. They have different ways to cook it in term of how they wrap the banana leaves with it. Normally, we use fish to cook Amok, however, we can use other meats like chicken, beef, and seafood (shrimp). Another secret ingredient is the aromatic mixture of Khmer Yellow Kroeung. Most people want to know why AMOK became so famous for foreigners. The reason is that AMOK is represented as Cambodian main dish. First, AMOK uses banana leaves instead of using plate; and banana is the Cambodian fruit. Cambodian people use a lot of banana leaves in many other food like for dessert (Khmer Sticky Rice-use banana leaves to wrap). Moreover, they even use the banana tree to make soup as well like Khmer sour soup “Morju Derm Jeck”. On the other hand, we have another ways to wrap AMOK. We can use coconut, snail shell, and plate instead of using banana leaves. Secondly, AMOK’s main ingredient is Cambodian freshwater fish. Cambodia has a large lake in the middle of the country and because of this enormous lake, Cambodian people have a ton of fish to eat and sell in both rainy and dry season. Moreover, Cambodian fish is tasty. In AMOK, we use Snakehead fish “Trei Ros”. When people see this fish, they know that it is from Cambodia. Lastly, AMOK uses the fresh and tasty ingredients. Those ingredients represent as Cambodian cuisine as well. In short, AMOK is the famous national dish of Cambodia because of its rich spicy combination of freshwater fish and fresh ingredients, it makes this dish become the soul of Khmer cuisine. Normally, Cambodian people usually cook Amok when they have a family party. The reason is that it has a lot of fun when we cook it; and to cook this dish, it demands the help from all family members. Apart from this, AMOK is also the main dish during Cambodian festivals like Water Festival, which celebrates to thank to Mekong River for providing Cambodian people with fertilized land and abundant fish.
Firstly, we need to prepare those fresh ingredients including meat “Snakehead fish”, coconut milk, dried red chilies, Kaffir lime skin, lemongrass, garlic, egg, roasted crushed peanuts, shrimp paste, banana leaves, shallots, galangal, Krachai, turmeric, cilantro, Noni leaves, and red pepper. Secondly, it takes time to cook. We need to clean the fish first by using lemon and salt because they help to reduce the fishy smell and make the fish look fresh and clean. Cut the banana leaves into circles and make them look like a boat or box by folding the sides in and securing them with toothpicks. Mix dried red chilies, Kaffir lime skin, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, galangal, Krachai, turmeric together and put a little amount of shrimp paste into it; this is called Yellow Kroeung. Next cut red pepper into a flower shape, which we use to decorate the top of the AMOK. Then put the coconut milk and powder into a hotpot and mix them together. After, put the fish, Yellow Kroeung, egg, roasted crushed peanuts into the pot. Add a little bit of fish sauce, salt, sugar palm, chicken powder and then mix them together for fifteen minutes. Next, put Noni leaves on the bottom of banana leaves that has a shape like a boat. Put the AMOK into it and steam it. When the AMOK is cooked, we put the coconut milk on top of it, and put some cilantro and red pepper on top. Lastly, prepare the rice and we are ready to eat.