- The people of Indian-origin who live in Cambodia haven’t forgotten their homeland or its delicious recipes
- The pure vegetarian restaurant named Curry Walla began in June 2006
- There is a total of 5 Indian chefs, 54 Cambodians and 2 Philippines between the four restaurants
The interactions between India and Cambodia date back to 400 AD. Not only in its external forms does it picture India but even the ideals of ethics and morality are shaped by Indian philosophy. There have been migrations to Cambodia, resulting in the exchange of customs and adaptation of many forms, including that of food. The people of Indian-origin who live in Cambodia haven’t forgotten their homeland or its delicious recipes.
Amarjeet Singh the young co- owner of Curry Walla which is situated in Siam Reap, famous for the Angkor Wat – a 12th-century Hindu-Buddhist temple complex, said to be the largest religious monument in the world, talks to Shyamola Khanna of The Indian Diaspora Website.
This pure vegetarian restaurant which serves the flavored kadhi chawal in the temple town is something of a surprise. Curry Walla began in June 2006. It was started by Amarjeet and his cousin Inderjeet in partnership with a long term Cambodian resident Ranjit Singh and Vijay from Singapore. March 2008 saw the opening of Curry Walla 2 which was recently renamed Namaste. Adjacent to Curry Walla is a Cambodian restaurant by a Khmer Chef. Namaste Spa 1 & 2, and ChopstiX which serves Chinese food was started in 2013. Shyamola Khanna says that it is very popular in the city because she says that every time she went in for a meal, it was always full.
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An Indian Diaspora article states that Amarjeet is part owner with his cousin Inderjeet and Ranjit who has been living in Angkor Wat since 1996. Inderjeet came in 2001 and Amarjeet came in 2006.
“Now I have been here almost 9 years and 7 months. We are doing pretty well. It is a small and peaceful city and the Cambodian people are warm and friendly. We are quite happy with the city life here,” says Amarjeet to The Indian Diaspora Website.
Amarjeet got married with a Cambodian girl named Sem Srey Pheak around 2 years ago with the blessings of both the Cambodian and the Punjabi families. Although language is a barrier, both families are very comfortable with each other, he says.
Amarjeet says, “I can’t see my mother learning the local language!”
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Talking about his ties with Punjab and his life over there, he says “Of course I do miss Punjab every day, for the seasons, the various festivals, friends, and relatives. At present half of my family is living here, some are in Punjab and some in the US. So we are looking forward to a suitable time when we can have a family gathering sometime in the future.”
With a total of 5 Indian chefs, 54 Cambodians and 2 Philippines between the four restaurants, Amarjeet supervisors the restaurants and makes an effort to be present in all the four places. His partners and elder sister and brother-in-law also play a part in its running, mentioned theindiandiaspora.com article.
Apart from restaurants, there are various other establishments that strengthen the “Indian ties” with Cambodia. Raj, a third generation Punjabi from Delhi runs the Asian Crafts Centre in Angkor Wat. The centre is a sprawling showroom with all kinds of artifacts from India. The Indian Diaspora article says that his grandfather was the first one who ventured out to Cambodia and set up the business. Raj, who has a degree in gemology, says that he would like to go back to work with gems in India.
– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter : @ajkrish14
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