Traditional crafts of Cambodia (7/7): rice wine, Battambang

In this last article of our traditional crafts of Cambodia series, we will introduce you to the most favoured alcoholic drink in Asia: rice wine. As the name implies, the alcoholic beverage is made of Asia’s main cereal: rice.

One of the other key ingredients of the rice wine made in Battambang is the homemade yeast in which pepper, cardamom, coriander grains, garlic, galangal, ginger and star-anis are added to add flavour. A little bit of rice wine is added to the yeast before it is left to dry in the sun.

To speed up the fermentation process of the rice to only one day, the dried yeast is crunched and spread over the grounded rice grains evenly.

A fire fueled by rice skins from the grounded rice is used to distill the wine in big kettles. The wine of the first distillation contains a rough 60 percent of alcohol while the wine of the second distillation contains between 18 to 25 percent, the target percentage.

Every distiller makes rice wine in its own way, and every rice wine is specific. Double check the source of your wine though before you indulge yourself as some home brewed wines contain a toxic level of methanol or added chemicals to boost its taste.

Marcella

Curious to read about the other traditional crafts of Cambodia? Check them out by clicking here.

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.
  • 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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