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MY PHNOM PENH: SOK VISAL

Sok Visal
Sok Visal, 43, is the founder of the KlapYaHandz music label as well as film, television and advertising production company 391 Films.

MY PHNOM PENH: SOK VISAL

Sok Visal, 43, is the founder of the KlapYaHandz music label as well as film, television and advertising production company 391 Films. As Will Jackson discovered during a chat this week, he’s also a husband, father-of-three and a bit of a homebody

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CINEMA
I don’t go out that much these days, but when I do, it’s most regularly to the movies, usually at TK Avenue’s Legend Cinema. TK Avenue is a newer shopping area that’s pretty convenient for us, and we usually watch a movie there once a week. It’s only five minutes from our house, so we can walk there or catch a tuk-tuk. It’s pretty cool. It’s very clean, the soundsystem is good, the staff are friendly. We like it more than CityMall, but Major Cineplex at Aeon Mall is still the best. We only go there once in a while though, because it’s a bit far. It has an international feel, like going to Bangkok, when you go to the movies.

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DATE NIGHT VENUE
My wife doesn’t really like bars, so we normally just go eat on date nights, usually to Metro, which is one of my favourite restaurants – either the one in Tuol Kork or the other one on Riverside. I haven’t tried the new one on Street 214 yet. The food is good and the service is top-notch. I go eat and hang out there a lot. I’ve tried most of the food there – the linguini, the mini-burgers. I tried the brie and pate sandwich for the first time recently, and it was pretty nice. We used to go to barbecue a lot but that’s not so great for date nights.

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FAMILY VACATION
There’s not many places with green open spaces in Phnom Penh to take the family. When we go out together, we normally just go out to eat, or see a movie or go to the cinema. If we can get away, we like to go to the beach in the provinces. The past few years we’ve been hanging out at Rabbit Island a bit, it’s cheap, close by and pretty cool. We usually stay a few days. It’s not worth it just for the day. I love just going there to sleep and doing nothing. I think we’ve stayed in all the different bungalows on the island. There’s not much difference between them – some are more basic, others are more clean. As long as there’s a mattress, a mosquito net and a squat toilet out the back, that’s all you need.

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HOME-COOKED MEAL
I try to eat a lot at home, and I love Mama dry instant noodles, but we prepare it in a special way. I boil the noodle until it expands just a bit – Cambodians like it more hard – then take it out of the water, put in the flavour sachets and a bit of oil, then throw in minced meat, an egg, some soya sprouts, stir fry the whole thing and eat it. Sometime I put shrimps in as well. My wife now stops me from eating it too much ... but I still have cravings. Man, I dream of one day selling it on the street, because it’s so good.

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SINGER
There’s one artist who’s going big now, his name is Ago. He has this song Sday Snea Aphorp, which is a big hit among the Cambodian community in the US. It’s a remake of an old Sisamouth song. He’s a short little guy, but his voice is pretty big. He has this imposing voice; at the same time, it’s a beautiful voice. I think that’s what people like about him. People like the way we’ve given a fresh take to the old music, too. Before, he was mostly doing pop songs – remakes of foreign Vietnamese, Chinese or Thai songs. Now he’s getting more into hip hop. We’re trying to give him a new musical education and inspire him with new sounds.

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