Palm tree national in Cambodia

painting by: heng monyphal
National Tree: The Sugar Palm

A tree which gives out a juice to get you pissed – I waxed lyrical about this in another article last year and I can’t be arsed to do it again. Great tree, great laxative, and useful for about a gazillion other things. Not so endangered, but beats the much sought after rosewood tree (good enough to get shot at by Thai commandoes for) and favourite precursor choice for 90s ravers, with a passion for arbophilia and techno, the sassafras.

Rumdoul National Flower in Cambodia

painting by Heng monyphal
National Flower: Rumdoul Mitrella mesnyi (wrong) Sphaerocoryne affinis (correct)

His Royal Highness The King is also said to be a floral aficionado, and gave the common rumduol the honour of a royal decree and rank of national bloom. This fragrant member of the soursop fruit family is highly regarded in these parts for its aroma, strongest in the early morning and evening, and grown all over the place to try to mask the smell of cow dung and smoldering plastic. Districts are named after it, scented candles are made from it and beautiful Cambodian ladies are compared to it, like a summer’s day.

Next time I have a cup of tea and a fairy cake with himself, I’m going to make a few more suggestions to beef up the list, however I’m still undecided on some of the catagories.

History of Khmer Ox cart

painting by: Heng monyphal
The presence of ox carts was highlighted in India in the Vedic era, between 1700 and 700 BC, by handwritten manuscripts such as ideological, religious and technical texts, or war rules. In India, there are two ox carts – cow carts for transport and horse cart for warfare. Both carts have been carved on stone since 125 CE.

“According to the Indian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, according to the inventory of the cart, the shape of the chariot changed in every age, using only the same two-wheeled bicycle. Under the influence of Indian culture, the Indians in the Funan Empire borrowed Indian vehicles from the first century of Christian Era. Popular with the Khmers, most of them farmers, the use of ox carts or buffaloes has been initiated since the 1st century CE and has continued to date.

“Under the prehistory of Angkor, as in Angkor, Cambodian oxcartry plays the most important role in Khmer society,” he underlined. This ox cart is not only in transportation and social affairs but also in the religious sphere. Through the 12th century Angkorian sculpture of the Christian era, we see clearly that the chariot that Suryavarman II stayed on was a symbol of the sun or the sun, symbolizing his dynasty. On the other hand, military rhetoric, such as in the scandal, in Mahayana, or in Buddhism, is also seen as a charisma.

Angkor in Cambodia

Painting by: Heng monyphal.
Angkor means ‘City or Capital’; it is a world heritage site that is under UNESCO since 1992. This site is located to the North of Siem Reap town which is just about a few kilometers. Angkor is the largest heritage site in the world and it covers an area of 400 square kilometers. Ancient population called ‘Khmer’ lived here in this site. This site was discovered by the French naturalist Henri Mouhot in 1860. There are more than 300 temples in this site and all of them need care because of the destructions caused by nature and people.

The French moved in 1908, Mr. Jean Commaille initiated the Angkor Conservation in Siem Reap and with this started the restoration of the ruins in this site. The first guide to Angkor was written by Mr. Jean Commaille. The French tried to restore and conduct researches on the mysterious Angkor . Some of the objectives of the research included History, temples, geography, architecture, people, map of Angkor site and map of Cambodia .

The Ecole Française d’Extrème Orient (EFEO) was established in Siem Reap in 1898 after the establishment of the French protectorate in 1863. They sent many French archeologists and historians to work research on Angkor history, language, and archeology. Maurice Glaize (1937 -1946) was an architect who wrote a book call “Les Monuments du group d’Angkor” published in 1943.There are many other famous French archeologists and architects who worked on the Angkor site: Henri Marchal, Georges Trouvé, Henri Parmentier, and Bernard Philippe Groslier. EFEO moved away from Cambodia in 1972.

It was thought that the Angkor temples were destroyed during the Cambodian war during the American bombing and during Khmer Rouge. However fortunately the temples were not destroyed and the communists did not destroy the temples during the Khmer Rouge, but they forced people to work and tortured them to death. Even today the Angkor temples stand majestically and even some traces of ballute still remain there.

Bayon in Cambodia

Bayon A unique Khmer architecture in this temple mountain situated at the heart of Angkor Thom, is circular. The pyramid has three levels. The first is surrounded by a gallery containing a series of bas reliefs relating to the life of Jayavarman VII: Battles of the beginning of his reign, daily life of Khmer people. The second floor also includes a gallery in basreliefs relate them to themes that Hindus can be surprised in a Buddhist temple.

After a journey in these galleries and narrow passages, to rise up to the third floor, the terrace offers the best performance of a monumental multiplicita smiling faces of the four directions, looking in all directions and the scruptant visitor. At this level, participates in the open space feeling of peace and eternity that the visitor will be entering this area of the Gods.
painting by Heng monyphal

Women sale Khmer noodles(Nom Banchok)

​​ artist
Heng monyphal
prom vichet
Many people enjoy eating Khmer noodles as much as they like taking an evening stroll. In that case, sitting down for dinner in Phnom Penh may feel as comfortable as slipping on a pair of walking shoes. Noodles are best when served fresh, but their rich history gets better with time.
Khmer Nom Banchok noodles are at least several centuries old. History buffs believe that a man named Thon Chey had served the Chinese king Khmer noodles when he was in China and was imprisoned for insulting the king’s looks. Thon Chey was later released to return to Cambodia bringing along with him thousands of Chinese immigrants.
“The Chinese immigrated to Cambodia in the Third Century,” according to Pon Chay, a senior Khmer lecturer, so that goes to show how long the Khmer noodles have been around.
The noodles have grown in popularity both with locals and foreigners alike. “It is a really delicious Khmer food,” said B Stave, a Philippine national, with a noodle in his mouth. “I like it and I always come here when I have free time.”
The appeal of Khmer noodles not only cross physical borders, but socioeconomic ones as well. Rich and poor farmers, students, or government officers all can afford to slurp up the same meal. “The price varies from one place to another, but one dish usually costs between 1500 and 2500 riel,” said Toch, a 32 year-old noodle seller in front of Bottum Vatey pagoda. She said noodles are popular since they are easily prepared for small or large parties. “My children always ask me to make them when they come home to visit,” she said.Traditional noodles can be eaten with Samlor Khmer (Khmer soup), Samlor Kary (Curry), or plain with fish sauce. Kim Sansopack, a student, likes variety in his diet. “I like my noodles with Samlor Khmer because I can go along with it without feeling bored like with other Samlor, and especially because it has a very good smell.”
Vann Tha, who has been making noodles for as long as she can remember, explained how to make Nom Banchok noodles. “At first we have to clean rice and put it in hot water to make it soft and grind it with a small amount of salt,” she said. “Then place the mix in a soft cotton cloth to filter out the water. Fold the cloth with the mix in it and press it under a heavy object to get rid of excess water.” The mix should be dry but sticky. She then pounds the dough until it becomes very soft and sticky, at which point she presses it into a dispenser made with holes at one end. The dough is squeezed through the holes, from which it falls in strips into boiling water. To ensure that the noodles do not stick together, an assistant stirs and lifts them from the boiling water into a pail of cold water, where they become less starchy. The noodles then are placed on a tray and folded neatly into what consumers see sold in stalls on the street. “It is really quite a tedious process,” Vann Tha sighed.Making Samlor Khmer is a little easier. For newcomers to the business, noodle maker Chann explained how to prepare the Khmer soup. “Boil a pan of water with lemongrass and a pinch of salt,” she said. “Then put fish into the water for about 10 minutes, removing it to separate the meat from the bone.” Her secret to success is a handful of chopped citronella, a pinch of saffron, one gram of peanut or garlic, and some slices of Kchaye (a type of plant). She places the spices in a mortar and grinds them into a paste, which will be combined with the fish. Prahok (Khmer cheese), sugar, and salt are then prepared. Hungry bellies are growling by now. “Put the Khmer cheese, spices, and everything you’ve prepared in the water and let it all boil for about 7-8 minutes. It’s that simple,” she said. Distant observers may disagree.
According to these experts, the preparation and serving of noodles has changed little over the years. Rich and poor across the region can attest that Nom Banchok Samlor has proven the test of time.