Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fresh crab, without all the work, in Tuol Kork



Fresh crab, without all the work, in Tuol Kork

Kim Sotheary manages Cha Kdam Kampot, or ‘Kampot Crab Fried Rice’, a new food cart in the capital with a very limited menu.
Kim Sotheary manages Cha Kdam Kampot, or ‘Kampot Crab Fried Rice’, a new food cart in the capital with a very limited menu. Hong Menea

Fresh crab, without all the work, in Tuol Kork

Along a row of food carts inside the sparkling compound of CUPS Coffee on Street 337 in Tuol Kork, an extension of a Kampot favourite has recently set up shop in the capital.

Bai Cha Kdam Kampot, or “Kampot Crab Fried Rice”, is run by Kim Sotheary, 23, whose uncle founded a popular eating house in Kampot in 2010. Her restaurant has different ownership, and chefs, but the family recipes have migrated from the coast. Here it is all fried rice and crab, all the time, but the fresh seafood and house-made Koh Kong sauce make it worth seeking out.

When Lak Sichay opened his shop in Kampot more than seven years ago, the dish was hard to find, but since then it has become popular among Phnom Penh diners. That popularity inspired Sotheary to open a food cart two months ago in the capital so that customers can eat it without having to make the trip to Kampot.

The dish is served along with a plate of chopped fresh cucumber, a small bowl of pork bone soup, some carrot, radish and a sprinkle of fried garlic and spring onions. But it’s the Koh Kong sauce – with the perfect balance between sweet, savoury and spicy – alongside the fresh crab that is the essence of the dish’s flavour.

“The key to our fried rice is simplicity. We focus on the flavour of the sauce, which is always complimented by our customers,” Sotheary said. “The ingredients are not different from others. It consists of lime juice, sugar, salt, chili, garlic and fish sauce. However, what makes it different is the right measurement of those ingredients.”

The crab fried rice in Phnom Penh costs 12,000 riel, or $3, a slight increase on the $2.50 in Kampot, to account for the transportation cost.

“We do not use the crab in Phnom Penh because most of them are from the crab farm, while in Kampot we can get the ones freshly caught from the sea,” Sotheary said.

The demand here at this spacious and airy food court is evident, especially for takeout orders, and Sotheary already has her eye on a brick-and-mortar shop so she can expand operations. “In the near future I want to open a new branch in Phnom Penh with a bigger space because I want to include more foods into the menu,” she said.

Bai Cha Kdam Kampot Phnom Penh is located inside CUPS Coffee on Street 337 in Tuol Kork. It is open every day from 8am-8pm. 015/092 26 82 82.

Its Kampot branch is located at the Cambodia-Korea Friendship roundabout. It is open every day from 6am-10am. 085 68 78 68/ 098 37 26 26.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement