Rice noodles are a favourite in many Asian countries. A pho for breakfast or rice noodles as a base for lunch or dinner are common. To serve this high demand, most noodles are produced in factories. However, it is still possible to buy them fresh and hand-made. In Battambang, a few families living in the rice noodle district have been passing on this know-how for many generations.
The main ingredient, rice, is soaked in water for three to four hours. Once the grains are soft, they are ground to rice flour. The moisture of the rice flour paste is extracted by squeezing the paste thanks to weights. The resulting thick chunk of paste is then boiled and steered in order to obtain a dough. The dough is pressed through a filter with small holes to shape the noodles. Falling into a boiling pot of water, the freshly pressed noodles undergo their second boil. Then, the noodles are immersed in cold water to cool them down and prevent them from sticking to each other. A few more cold bathes are required before they are divided into portions ready to be sold.
The rice noodle district is best visited in the morning, as all the family members are performing their respective tasks to make sure the fresh noodles can be sold early. In most cases, about 100 kilograms of noodles are made by late morning. They can be kept for only 24 hours, and connoisseurs enjoy them as fresh as possible. Factory noodles can be kept longer, and are therefore becoming more and more popular. But once you have tasted fresh noodles, there is no coming back!
Claire & Marcella
- 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.
- 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!