When French met Cambodian “Nompang” was born

The French bread aka baguette in Cambodia is a tasty reminder of French colonization in Cambodia (1863-1953) and is seen everywhere across Cambodia. The Khmer name for bread “pang” derives from the French word “pain” meaning bread.

In the streets of Phnom Penh, street vendors are lined up with French baguettes and similarly they can be seen in rows at any city market. This inexpensive and crusty delight is baked fresh every day and you may be surprised how its taste may beat other fancier baked breads.

Celebrity Chef Rick Stein took a tour at one of Cambodia’s baguette factory to show how it is made and describe its unique taste.

While butter, ham and cheese are known as the quintessential filling for a baguette in France, the baguette in Cambodia is a mix of influences where pork and spiced papaya are the preferred filling to this delicious snack. It also compliments other more substantial dishes such as a

Few contemporary variations

  • Nompang sak chrouk (Pork & Pate baguette): Slices of pork meatloaf with pickled carrots & papaya, cucumber, coriander with a pate & mayo spread. Sometimes hoisin and chilli.
  • Nompang sak koh (Grilled Beef baguette):  A skewer of grilled lemongrass beef  with pickled carrots & papaya, cucumbers, coriander and chilli.
  • Nompang trey khaw (Fish baguette): Sardines simmered in a tomato sauce with pickled carrots & papaya, cucumber, coriander with a pate and mayo spread.

“My personal favorite filling growing up as kid was the caramelised pig’s ear! Crunchy crunchy!” – Cat

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