Cambodian cuisine at Grand Margherita Hotel
WHEN MY EDITOR mentioned that I was going for a food preview of Cambodian cuisine, I had a hard time imagining what the food would be like.
Would it be almost similar to Thai food since they are neighbouring countries? Would they have spicy dishes like the notorious Thai Tom Yam or have clean tasting ones like the Vietnamese spring rolls? Would any of the dishes have similarities to our savoury and tangy fish head curry or strong and meaty rendang?
How would one describe Cambodian food? Well, if this got you curious, Grand Margherita is having a buffet serving Cambodian food prepared by four Cambodian chefs for this year’s Macam-Macam Ada buffet at the Orchid Garden Coffee House during this Ramadan month from June 29th to July 27th, 2014.
Named the ‘Winning menu’, some of the dishes prepared during the food preview were actually those prepared by Cambodian chefs Long Bora, Chef Vuthy Toucha, Chef Sok Vichet and Chef Soo Bun Chorn for the Mekong River Culinary Challenge held May 21 – 25 this year.
Our food preview last Saturday, June 28 began with starters; the cucumber salad with crispy fish. The cucumber and chillies with the crispy fish is a great combination as the soft texture of the thinly sliced cucumber matches up nicely with the crunchiness of the fish.
Another dish from the ‘Winning Menu’ which will be served at the Macam-Macam Ada Buffet is the Mekong Lobster with Mango sauce. Creamy and heavenly, the mango sauce is a great complement to the lobster flesh because you can still taste the lobster without the sauce overpowering it as the sauce is creamy yet light at the same time.
Moving down the ‘Winning Menu’, we got to taste the green vegetable soup with Mekong Treasury Dumpling. The soup has a tempting aromatic smell of lemongrass and you can certainly taste a hint of pumpkin, along with spinach and other vegetables in the soup. The dumplings are made of fish and prawn.
The main dishes amazed with their flavourful tang. Among them were roasted chicken leg scented with fresh herbs and spices, called ‘kroeung’ in Cambodia which is actually a complex mixture of spices with distinctive taste, braised eel with tamarind chilli sauce, amok fish with aromatic spices and Mekong rice.
Chef Long Bora also pointed out during the preview tasting that he specially brought tamarind for the braised eel from Cambodia because the taste of the ones we have here is different from theirs.
Probably the most famous Cambodian dish, I later learned, is the Amok Fish with aromatic spices. Amok fish is actually curried fish coated in thick coconut milk with ‘kroeung’ which can be either steamed or baked in banana leaves.
As for dessert, the Symphony of Mekong Sweet will surely not disappoint sweet tooths out there when they sample some ‘num plai ai’, a glutinous rice flour dessert with palm sugar caramel.
Among other dishes that diners may expect at the Ramadhan buffet is Bai chha or Cambodian fried rice and Bok L’hong or green papaya salad, pounded with mortar and pestle.
According to Chef Long Bora, other dishes from six different countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and China circling the Mekong region will also be served during the buffet.
The buffet will serve more than 200 dishes which will also include Middle Eastern, local, and Penang food as well.
The buffet will be priced at RM93+ per adult and RM46.50+ per child and is open from 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm.
For reservation or enquiries, call 082-532111 at extension 1109/1158.