Traditional crafts of Cambodia (1/7): Bamboo sticky rice, Battambang

Sticky rice is paramount to any meal in Lao cuisine, and can be found as well in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Cambodia. There, it is prepared as a dessert like mango sticky rice, or a sweet snack known as bamboo sticky rice.

The preparation of this delicious and self-contained snack takes quite a bit of time: the sticky rice is steamed overnight to get its glue-like texture. Then, mixed with 10% soy beans and 10% fresh coconut milk, the rice is stuffed into a hollow bamboo which is put on the fire for one to two hours for the beans to become soft and the coconut cream to vaporize and be absorbed by the rice. To keep the moisture content, a banana leaf is used as a lid.

Once cold, the bamboo can be peeled like a banana, and the sticky-rice eaten from it (for once in South East Asia, without any plastics involved!). When it gets tougher to extract the rice, a broken off bamboo peel becomes the perfect spoon to scoop the last bit out.

Claire & Marcella

Travel tips:

  • To make the most of your visit, we strongly recommend you to take a local guide (see below) as most craft-people do not speak English and are actually working hard to make a living, so they should not be disturbed. The local guide knows the usage and will tip appropriately.
  • To live this experience and follow us on the trail of traditional crafts in Battambang, we highly recommend a tour with the knowledgeable Mr. Ola, who proudly takes you around in his tuk-tuk for a full day of discovering the real Cambodia behind the scenes! Message him on Facebook or e-mail him.
  • Bamboo sticky rice can be found easily at pretty much any bus station in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia and is the perfect snack on a long bus ride!
  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!

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