What to expect when you visit Dine With The Locals
We are often asked what distinguishes our offer from the many cooking courses and food tours that are available in Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh. Dine With The Locals focuses on people. We want to bring travellers and locals together, would like to help each other to get to know and exchange ideas. Cooking and eating together is an excellent opportunity to learn about local culture and customs.
What do you get?
You can choose between many families in Cambodia (and even Vietnam) on our platform. All families have been personally selected and visited by us. Each family has put together its own menu and offers you more than just standing together at the stove. We have Apasara dancers, painters, modern art, cultural ambassadors and organic farmers. You can learn how to make small fish toys from the leaves of coconut palms and how to make a perfect table decoration from a banana leaf.
Who are the families?
Our mission is to provide Cambodian families, especially women, with additional income. But we don’t look at how poor a family is. More importantly, can they offer you a great experience and have fun getting to know people. We have families who live on very little money and some who belong to the lower middle class. Mostly it is women who are our hosts. We want to support them because they often have no opportunity to earn money (or cannot earn enough).
How does it work?
After booking, you will receive a ticket from us with a description of where the family lives. We want to protect families and therefore do not put this information online. It’s best to take a tuk tuk to get to the house. Depending on the family, you will get a small tour, mostly through the garden and can see the house. Ask as many questions as you like, our hosts are proud to explain the customs of Cambodian (or Vietnamese) culture. Then it goes into the kitchen. The family has already done some shopping, unlike traditional cooking classes, you don’t have to go to the market. You won’t have to listen to a teacher either, but cook with the hosts. For example, they show you how to make the famous Kreung paste in a mortar, which can be found in many Cambodian dishes.
Eating together with locals
In order to live up to our name, we naturally eat together. In Asia, all dishes are usually served at the same time and you first have a portion of rice on your plate. Ask your hosts if you are unsure about how to eat a dish or whether to take your hands. In some families, you sit on the floor or on a small pedestal. You usually take off your shoes and sit cross-legged (or whatever is comfortable for you). You can also get a small stool if you want.
How clean is it with the hosts?
We are often asked whether it is clean in the families’ houses. The answer is very clear: yes. You visit simple housings, but families place great value on cleanliness. Incidentally, this also applies to the food. All ingredients are bought fresh (that’s why we have to know a day in advance when you want to come), washed several times (which will also be your job at these cooking classes in Cambodia) and cooked long enough. The water you are offered to drink has been filtered and prepared, the tea has been brewed with boiling water.