This new year, indulge in all-things Khmer as homegrown cultural-culinary concept SPRMRKT announces the return of its annual cultural showcase with SPRMRKT Cambodia – a three-month cultural and culinary extravaganza that brings the best of Cambodian cuisine, produce and art to our sunny shores. At its heart is also a meaningful social initiative in support of various social enterprises and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in Cambodia. Taking place from 7 January to 31 March 2019 across the brand’s STPI and Cluny Court locations, SPRMRKT Cambodia offers a diverse array of authentic Khmer experiences, bound to evoke new ways of imagining the Kingdom of Wonders in all its storied glory.
With a culinary calendar packed with mouthwatering highlights including a riverside street food-styled event, cooking demonstrations, an all-female kitchen team at the helm, and elevated Cambodian selections that enrich both palate and soul – over a span of three months, SPRMRKT Cambodia is primed to offer guests a unique, all-encompassing season of Khmer gastronomy at its finest.
A specially curated selection of authentic Cambodian produce will also line the shelves in a socially-conscious retail experience that champions award-winning homegrown brands, ethical producers and social enterprises committed to the sustainable development of Cambodia. Art aficionados can look forward to a humanistic take on Cambodian art through two haunting artist exhibitions across both outlets that transcend the country’s chequered past while shaping contemporary discourses.
CULTURE WITH A CONSICENCE
SPRMRKT Cambodia is the second installment of the brand’s annual cultural showcase of contemporary South East Asia in cool and experiential ways. Its debut edition SPRMRKT Vietnam (Jan-Mar 2018) saw all aspects of present-day Vietnam culture represented and celebrated in spades across SPRMRKT’s signature cultural-culinary triptych of dining, retail and art.
With the upcoming showcase, SPRMRKT will venture beyond just championing the freshest aspects of Cambodian culture and cuisine. More than that, content and events planned around SPRMRKT Cambodia will now have a socially conscious objective, and each play a part in supporting Cambodian social enterprises and NGOs – empowering and giving back to those we celebrate.
Relish the heart and soul of authentic Khmer dining as SPRMRKT Cambodia welcomes four of the Kingdom’s most remarkable restaurants and their chefs—hailing from the streets of Siem Reap—all equally dedicated to evolving Cambodian cuisine to a global standard.
Take to the streets of Siem Reap in January with chef Mork Mengly of Pou Restaurant & Bar, who is giving Cambodia’s street food culture the makeover it deserves. Pay it forward by dining with non-profit culinary training facility EGBOK and Spoons this Valentine’s Day – all while giving back to the underprivileged young adults under their care. Come March, celebrate International Women’s Day with Embassy and their all-female kitchen team led by “the Kimsan Twins” – two local legends intent on reviving Khmer gastronomy and the role of women in the culinary world.
Bringing to a close the three-month culinary homage to Cambodia is a final kitchen takeover with acclaimed chef Joannes Riviere’s Cuisine Wat Damnak – to date the only Cambodian restaurant to earn a spot on the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list, where it was named Best Restaurant in Cambodia.
As an added treat, diners who make bookings for any of the culinary events will stand a chance to win fantastic prizes, including a two-night stay at a four-star luxury boutique hotel in Siem Reap.
Bring a part of Cambodia’s flavorful heritage home with SPRMRKT Cambodia’s retail offerings, which will be available at both SPRMRKT locations throughout the three-month showcase. Drop in for a socially conscious retail experience that champions award-winning homegrown brands, ethical producers and social enterprises committed to the sustainable development of Cambodia.
Uniquely Cambodian produce available includes IBIS Rice, the output of an ethically driven conservation enterprise aimed at protecting a vulnerable farming ecosystem. Containing premium organic jasmine rice, IBIS Rice comes in 3 forms – white, brown and semi-milled. Produced organically, Sovannak Palm Sugar prides itself as practicing a sustainable method of cultivation by family-run farmers in the Cambodian countryside. One hundred percent Khmer, Sovannak Palm Sugar has wide-ranging applications including use in beverages, desserts, or curries, caramels and fruits.
To spice up the kitchen at home, Hong Spices, a social enterprise and Singaporean gourmet spice label, offers three kinds of Kampot peppers – black, white and red. Of note, pepper grown in the Kampot region in Cambodia was recently awarded the status of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This award signifies a recognition that Cambodia lays claim to one of the finest pepper cultivation regions in the world. Not to be outdone, La Plantation offers a mind-boggling 11 types of seasoning as well as the highly recommended 2018 Gold award of Monde Selection salted fresh pepper. La Plantation prides itself as the first fully organic Ecocert certified Kampot pepper and spices farm in Kampot, Cambodia.
For the coffee lovers, Three Corner Coffee Roaster makes a perfect brew of Cambodian Robusta coffee sourced from plantations in the Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces. Hailing from the Annamite Mountains, the predominantly red soil of the region produces beans that are rich and flavourful. Sourced sustainably, from the roastery to the cup, Three Corner Coffee Roaster prides itself as a uniquely Cambodian heritage product. Taste the flavourful beans and take in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from Three Corner Coffee Roaster at both SPRMRKT outlets daily. SAMAI, Cambodia’s first and only premium rum distillery, pays tributes to the Cambodian terrior with flavour profiles such as the aromatic and delicious Kampot Pepper Rum.
Diners attending SPRMRKT Cambodia’s culinary events will also get a chance to experience some of the featured foodstuffs, which has been masterfully incorporated into the recipes of the visiting chefs. Keeping in theme, robust Cambodian condiments such as Hong Spices Kampot peppers and Sovannak Palm Sugar sachets are now a SPRMRKT mainstay, and available to go with your meal any time of the day.
A SPRMRKT extravaganza is not complete without edifying your mind and soul. Keeping in line with the spotlight on Cambodia, SPRMRKT at STPI and Cluny Court will each host an art exhibition from 7 January to 31 March that seeks to depict a snapshot of Cambodian life and heritage while championing a cause.
SPRMRKT at Cluny Court welcomes Los Angeles based Cambodian artist Albert Samreth and his exhibition The Archive and The Everyday. Based on the narrative surrounding Amir Aczel’s life, Samreth delves into the concept of nothingness, exploring how zero is in many ways both the center and the edge of modernism. To this end, Samreth takes images from the 1950s and 1960s Cambodian films made before Khmer Rouge, and hopes to recreate a fictional history that is optimistic and beautiful, as opposed to the one most think of today.
SPRMRKT at STPI will host multidisciplinary Cambodian artist Khvay Samnang and his artworks Untitled and Enjoy My Sand. Carrying confused tourists and bemused locals on his back under the hot sun along one of Singapore’s pristine beaches while donning large horns made with human hair, and entering the lakes in Phnom Penh during their in-filling and pouring a bucket of sand over himself, Samnang seeks to highlight how the erosion of the natural environment is in essence a microcosm of global over-consumption, where though the issue may seem localised, but the implications are far-reaching.
Both Samreth and Khvay’s impactful artworks paint the perfect backdrop for SPRMRKT Cambodia, and are sure to spark conversation and reflection.