With Cambodian cuisine tantalising the tastebuds of visitors from across the globe, learning how to cook a handful dishes is a great skill to take back home. Here are some of the best cooking classes to sign up for during a trip to Phnom Penh.
As one of the capital’s longest-running cooking classes, Frizz Restaurant is a popular option with visitors. Offering half- and full-day courses, budding chefs start their culinary adventure with a trip to a local market to buy ingredients. This includes a quick tour, with an explanation of some of the weird and wonderful foods for sale. Guests are then whisked away to a sheltered rooftop kitchen to learn how to cook a variety of dishes, including spring rolls and fish amok.
The classes take place in an air-conditioned room to the back of this urban-contemporary Khmer restaurant on the bustling tourist stretch of Street 178. With a maximum of 13 cooks in each 3-1/2-hour class, students learn to cook a starter, main and dessert, with morning sessions taking in a visit to the market. It also includes an informative history, and lowdown on, the uses for each of the ingredients discussed throughout La Table Khmere’s class.
Led by Chef Nara, who has more than four years’ experience cooking up Khmer food as a teacher, Feel Good Cooking School delivers classes in how to cook three authentic local dishes. Charismatic teacher Nara takes students on a journey through Cambodian cuisine, making this a delightful way to spend a few hours. The school is a social enterprise run by Feel Good Cafe, which focuses on training, employing and empowering Cambodian youth to run their own sustainable, responsible businesses.
Growing up in rural Kampong Cham as the youngest of seven children, Veasna Kay was destined for a life following in the footsteps of his rice farming forefathers. However, he loved to spend time in the kitchen, helping his mother prepare food for the family, spawning his lifelong passion for cooking. After moving to Phnom Penh in his teens, Veasna worked in kitchen across the capital. Now, he is running his own venture, Veasna in the Kitchen, offering private and small group cooking classes and dining experiences.
Khmer Souen and Australian Frances run a series of local tours throughout the capital, with cooking classes included. Intimate groups – a maximum of four – take a tour of the market to buy ingredients before learning to rustle up three dishes, dessert and the perfect bowl of rice in the kitchen. Soft drinks and beer are included, with recipes available to take home.