It was a happy weekend for food lovers last Saturday and Sunday as the 2nd Slaprea Food Festival opened at the 2040 Container Market at the heart of Phnom Penh.
More than 160 food vendors set up their stalls and offered around 16,000 people delectable choices of traditional Khmer and cross-regional goods. This year’s food festival surpasses last year’s crowd, which saw just about 12,000 people visiting food stalls and taking bites of the overflowing food and drinks. The Slaprea Food Festival 2018 is now the biggest food festival in the country.
But more than uplifting tourism and food industry, the food festival was also highlighting the importance of garbage management and environmental awareness of local and foreign tourists alike.
So Visothy, Undersecretary of State – Ministry of Tourism, said that people should be fully aware on the importance of controlling trash and pollution, and keeping all streets and corners of the country, not just the 2040 Container Market, as clean and as tidy as possible.
“This event helps promote Khmer food to people and raise the income of people in the tourism industry. However, this has also become a chance for people, especially the young, to volunteer for events like this, events that benefit the society,” said Mr Visothy.
According to Galeno Chua, CEO of The Idea, the organisers were encouraged to wear orange t-shirts as symbols of happiness and warm welcome to visitors.
Mr Chua added that they put up trash bins in different areas of the festival venue so people would be encouraged to throw their wastes in the proper bins. He emphasised that the food festival mainly aimed to push people to help conserve the environment even in the simplest ways – like throwing garbage in the trash can.
Wing, Cellcard, NagaWorld, Pensonic, Guardian Pharmacy and The Art Bar were the main sponsors of the festivity. The Slaprea Food Festival also include eating competitions, talks by food experts and concerts. Everyone was given a good time to enjoy and eat their favourite delicacies.
The organisers also asked all food vendors to help reduce the use of plastic, and practice proper hygiene when serving food to the customers.
Seang Sreypich, one of the event organisers, said: “The main point of the event is to focus on the reduction of plastic usage. Public education on the conservation of the environment is really needed. And we’re starting with this food festival. As we know, 60 percent of the diseases in Cambodia can be prevented by cleaning our hands before cooking and eating and practicing good hygiene.”