It is again the time of the year for Cambodia foodies to whet their appetites for American food, because the U.S. Food Week commenced at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia (ACAC) in Phnom Penh, on December 1.
The U.S. began promotional activities for U.S. food products in Cambodia in 2013. Coined the U.S. Foods Week, the work in 2018 will have leading restaurants and import partners participating, and they will promote U.S.-grown ingredients and products such as lentils, dried beans, beef, potatoes, and California raisins and wines.
At the opening ceremony, guests were treated to various food samples. All were prepared using U.S.-grown ingredients by the cooks at the ACAC. Offered were hummus moU.S.se with sea bream carpaccio and coriander oil, popcorn doughnuts, and beef with coffee rub and creamed cabbage, among others.
Speaking on Friday, November 30, at event’s opening, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Senior Attaché for Agricultural Affairs Gerald Smith said that Cambodia’s U.S. food imports have almost doubled since 2013 – from $10.3 million to $19.6 million in 2017.
This, he said, was mainly due to the increase in qualified chefs who have acquired the skills needed to cater to Cambodian consumers’ diverse demands.
“Cambodia is becoming a very important food market for the U.S. It is continuously improving, especially over the past five years, and I believe that tourism activities contributed to such growth. This is a good opportunity to underscore the versatility of U.S. food products.”
Mr Smith also expressed his gratitude to U.S. industry groups, like the US Dry Bean Council, the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, the Raisin Administrative Committee, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and Potatoes USA, for making the event a success.
Between December 1 and December 9, a total of 16 restaurants will promote various dishes using said imported ingredients. They are: Yi Sang Riverside, Uy Kuyteav, Yi Sang Sothearos, World Dining, Kan Ji, Sevensea, KWest, New York Steakhouse, Ocean Prime Steakhouse, Topaz, Blue Sky, SALT N’ PEPPER, TERRAZZA, Hub Street Cocktails, Botanico Wine and Beer Garden, and The Exchange Restaurant.
Over two weekends a panel of judges will visit the participating restaurants to sample their specially-concocted dishes and rate them on the creative use of U.S. food products.
In preparation for the event two technical training workshops, conducted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Culinary Institute of America as a service to the US Dry Bean Council, were conducted at the ACAC. The workshops, which targeted elevating the students’ culinary skills, saw the participation of nearly 50 chefs.
On December 4, the ACAC will draw a huge foodie crowd for this year’s Young Chefs Competition. Young cooks from all over Phnom Penh will showcase their skills in preparing dishes that feature U.S.-grown ingredients.
The winners of all U.S. Foods Week competitions will be announced at the closing ceremony on December 12.
The event was sponsored by various local bodies including the ACAC, the Cambodian Tourism Federation, the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, and U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.
On the supply chain side, the six main importers taking part in this year’s gastronomic celebration are LSH Cambodia Pte. Ltd., Aus Khmer Import Export Co. Ltd., Thai Huot Trading Co. Ltd., Lee’s Foodservice Ltd., Hung Hiep (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., and Les Celliers d’Asie