One of the highlights of my last visit to Phnom Penh was the cooking class I did, booked through Frizz, a restaurant on Street 240. I had a blast at my last class, but was keen to see what else was out there. Although the food I’d made last time was delicious, the cooking class was up on a hot roof, covered in tarp, and it was hot.
So when I heard about La Table Khmere, I was intrigued, but the air-conditioned kitchen was what really sold it to me.
La Table Khmere has two classes a day, a morning one commencing at 9am, and an afternoon one at 3pm. The morning one includes a trip to the market, and is a dollar more than the afternoon class. For me, the choice is a no-brainer, and so we set off for Street 278 bright and early to hit BKK market.
BKK market, like all markets in Phnom Penh is a shock for the senses – the smells, colours and sensations in particular. The highlight of this trip for me was picking up some shrimp paste and seeing coconut being dessicated by a machine.
Back in the air-conditioned cool of the kitchen, we were set to work – chopping, grinding, boiling and squeezing until we had our three courses.
The first course was a green mango salad – made with shredded mango, dried shrimp, carrots, chillies, shallots, basil leaves, peanuts and chicken knorr powder. The mangoes give the dish a tart sourness, which goes well with the creaminess of the peanuts and sweetness of the carrots.
The main, like last time, was fish amok – the national dish of Cambodia. A coconut milk-based curry made with chillies, keffir lime leaves and galangal, my fish amok was delicious. The curry differs from what we in the West might be used to – made with an egg, it is steamed and becomes almost like a souffle.
The third and final course was a dessert known as Chek Ktis, a sweet coconut jelly. I loved the flavour of this dessert, particularly the sweetened coconut milk, but wasn’t a fan of the gelatinous texture.
The cooking class at La Table Khmere was really enjoyable, in a lovely setting with charming instructors. It’s definitely more of a slick operation than the one at Frizz, though I did prefer some of the dishes at Frizz, especially the dessert. The Frizz class was definitely the ‘rougher, backpacker’ option – if you can handle the heat, and the longer hours then it’s definitely worth considering. But if you are up for a more leisurely class, in a nicer setting and at a lower cost, then La Table Khmere is the class for you.
The morning class was $20, and La Table Khmere can be located at 11E, Street 278, Phnom Penh.(4 / 5)