Christmas cards with a Khmer twist

I bought these cards at a Women's International Group (WIG) Christmas Fair a few years ago. On the back of the cards is a copyright for Global Art and Anita Dean who, from a quick google search, is the founder of Global Art, Phnom Penh. I wish they printed the name of the artist too. Anyway, I hope I'm not breaking any copyright rules by scanning and posting these beautiful cards. If anyone knows who the artist is, please leave a comment!   … [Read more...]

at the end of the work week – blue crabs for lunch in Kep’s Psar Kdam

It's always nice when work takes you down to the coast. This is our team's last trip to assess public health facilities. That we were in Kep was much appreciated! Kep is a small seaside province which has been designated a resort area so it is rapidly developing - see some photos of Kep on our Flickr. The crab market (Psar Kdam) is an especially big attraction. There are all manner of seafood on the grill for sale here. Ten squid on a stick cost 20000Riel (US$5). Whole chicken on the grill is around 30000Riel too. Big fish are around 8000-12000Riel each. Blue crabs are the signature catch for Kep, so we splurged on these for lunch on our last day. For small crabs we were able to haggle 18000Riel/kg (~US$2/lb). For 35000Riel/kg the crabs … [Read more...]

Popsicles from Malaysia

I love these popsicles once in a while. They're one of the few interesting ice cream brands I've seen in Cambodia. By interesting I mean the flavors are local, not the typical imported vanilla chocolate strawberry. They carry red bean, sweet yellow corn, durian, taro (this is the least tasty flavor unfortunately), and black glutinous rice. I've only ever seen them in the bigger TELA gas station mini-marts or at the Paragon grocery store (behind the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh). … [Read more...]

Cervical and Breast Cancer in Phnom Penh

I've been asked recently by a few Khmer colleagues about where to go for cervical or breast cancer in Phnom Penh. There is increasing expertise in the private sector, but it's hard to refer people to those facilities when the reviews of the care is mixed. Below are two health and medical networks that have specialist teams on site who can do screening, diagnostics, counseling and treatment for cervical and breast cancers. They seem to have good reviews from the barang physicians I work with. Check on their website and/or call for more information or for an appointment. HOPE Worldwide – https://www.hopeww.org There are three facilities depending on income level. There is also some grant funding to cover expenses if cost is an … [Read more...]

Tropical fruit: A special coconut variety

These coconuts cost 32,000riel (US$8) each at the markets in Battambang town - compared to 2000riel (US$0.50) for a regular coconut. The meat is thick, tender and incredibly sweet. They aren't in season right now and the seller at the market wouldn't tell us when that would be (meaning they won't be so rare thus so expensive). They're a variety called locally as Dong Ktii and they're only available in Battambang and Kampot so far as my Khmer colleagues know. Anyone know what kind of coconut these are, and if they're related or similar to the macapuno variety in the Philippines? … [Read more...]

Tropical fruit: Rambutan

I'm not a big fan of Rambutan (saw-maw in Khmer), mostly because the woody bark of the seed comes off with the meat (I guess it's added fiber - see the picture below). But it's incredible how much of this fruit our son can devour in one sitting. So I came home with 5kgs of it from a friend's local farm and wouldn't you know, some kid passed around Hand Foot Mouth at his petri dish pre-school and he broke out in rashes sores and blisters. Rambutans are too acidic for his mouth sores so he can only stare at them :-( … [Read more...]

Things that keep a little boy happy through a night-time power cut

Elections are over. Could it be that's why the rolling power cuts across the city have started back up? :-( … [Read more...]

A Chinese-Khmer tradition slowly fading

I've been in Cambodia for over seven years now and have never heard of this annual tradition that takes place around the full moon, signaling the end of Chinese New Year. The Chinese I know who live in Phnom Penh don't have a clue of it, and Khmers don't want to claim it as their tradition. The most prominent community still practicing it around Phnom Penh is in Takmao (the biggest celebrations). Festival activities include a wide range of spirit mediums, channeling the gamut of intentions towards their human communities. These mediums will draw blood and use it to facilitate a prediction, guide decisions and confer protections. Given I have little interest in seeing it, I have very scant knowledge of the event. So here's a Cambodia … [Read more...]