Let Them Eat Ansam Cake, Says Governor Kep Chuktema

As a 54-second television advertisement promoting this month’s Cambodian cake and dessert festival came to an end at an event-planning meeting yesterday, Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema could not help but ask: “Where is the Ansam [sticky rice] cake?”

But his suggestions for how the ad­vertisement should run did not stop there. “We should have added… Cambodian noodles, and at the end we should show the palm sugar pro­ducers and the palm tree climbers,” he said, adding that the advertisement would have to be changed be­fore it aired.

It is obvious that Cambodian des­serts stir the passions within even the most prominent politicians, but of­ficials said yesterday that the goal of the three-day festival starting Sept 24 was to promote Cambodian cuisine ahead of the 2011 Asean Tour­ism Forum, the regional travel conference to be held in Phnom Penh from Jan 15 to 21.

Mr Chuktema said yesterday Ci­ty Hall had agreed to spend about $20,000 on the promotion and running of the festival on Koh Pich is­land, which will include the presentation of cakes and desserts from around Cambodia.

“This is the first time [cakes and desserts] have been shown, and I be­lieve many people will be in­ter­ested,” he said. During yesterday’s meeting, he told municipal of­f­icials to invite guests from Phnom Penh hotels and tourist groups to bolster the number of festival visitors.

Deputy governor Nuon Sameth said yesterday that 34 vendors had signed up to sell 24 different cakes and desserts at the festival, but ad­mitted that two further suggestions from Mr Chuktema would have to be added to the list.

“So [now] we have 26 different cake and desserts to show,” he said, adding that cake and dessert mak­ers from 12 provinces would be in­volved in the festival.

Last week, Tourism Minister Thong Khon briefed tourism in­dustry members on a government plan to promote Cambodia with TV spots, print advertisements and a heightened Internet presence in the lead up to the Asean Tourism Forum.


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