LM Lima Angkor Food produces some of the most popular traditional Khmer biscuits in Siem Reap province. For several years the cookies have been stocked in supermarkets across the Kingdom, even being purchase as souvenirs by tourists.
Lim Viriya’s family set up the company after realising that their real estate business was not right for them. The family trained with local food-supply experts where they learnt how to make various types of food and drinks.
10 years on, the business is changing how the cookies are produced and packaged to attract more local customers – especially children.
Virya, who co-founded the company with her sister, has added hand-made macarons to the menu. “It’s my son who inspired me to create this kind of cake,” she says.
She recalls that her son would always ask her to buy macarons in the supermarket, but they were very expensive. However, she did do the pleas for him and also get a chance to taste different varieties.
“Macarons to me are very sweet. No wonder my children like them, because children like to eat sweet food”, Virya says.
Demand for local products is high during the pandemic and Virya thinks that if she produces macarons at a reasonable price she can attract more local customers.
She has created a variety of flavours for her macarons that vary from region to region, after researching recipes and completing training with a baker in a five-star hotel.
“The raw materials for making this cake are expensive and it takes a long time to make. As for the taste, it always changes according to the climate of the region where it is produced due to the natural reaction between the ingredients and the climate, so they may not be completely the same as those made in their country of origin. It also has a very short shelf life compared with other types of cookies and cakes. ”
Macarons are known for their attractive colours and popularity among children and teenagers. The colours in LM Lima Angkor Food’s macarons are naturally refined from flowers, vegetables, and fruits to make them healthier than artificial colouring.
Currently, the company’s macarons are being produced for the domestic market starting at $3 per box.
However, there has been some negative feedback, and Virya has been asked many questions about why she is making macarons.
“Many people ask me: why don’t you make Khmer cakes? Why do you only make foreign cakes? They say when I do this it means I am not helping to promote Khmer cakes, and it could cause a decline in traditional baking”, she says.
“In fact, food production and consumption cannot be detrimental to national traditions. Everyone can create new food using both traditional, and modern creativity to meet the needs of consumers,” she adds. “Our company clearly states on the package that this cake is made in Cambodia, and we also clearly state the names of all the cakes to avoid the misunderstanding that we want to steal the cakes from the country of its origin.”
LM Lima Angkor Food is slowly trying to create more job opportunities in Siem Reap during the pandemic. They currently employ at least 60 people who make a variety of Khmer biscuits for sale in supermarkets across the Kingdom, such as Aeon malls, Lucky supermarkets, Bayon supermarkets, and some mini marts.
The macarons can also be found on the Phnom Penh mobile app – Khmum eShop. The company is looking for distributors across the country to become their partners.