Fifty people competed to devour a two-ton traditional sticky rice cake at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap province Monday, swinging the second “Angkor Sankranta” New Year festival into action.
After a day in which the cake was on display to tourists, at 4 p.m. five teams set out to eat as much as they could of the $7,500 nun ansorm, which was filled with mung beans and hunks of browned pork.
The cake, the largest of its type ever made, had taken a week to construct, but each team was given only eight minutes to eat it, according Chan Sophea, the hotelier who commissioned the cake and set up the competition.
Mr. Sophea said that the three most ravenous groups had each consumed 2.7 kilograms, 1.5 kilograms and one kilogram of the rice cake, which was cut into three-kg pieces for the competition. For their efforts, the groups won $100, $80 and $50 respectively, he said.
“At the moment, we have lot of sticky rice we’ve shared with the people,” Mr. Sophea explained shortly after the naming of the winners.
He said that there was still a large amount of the cake left over, and that it would be preserved for tourists to see over the event’s three days.
“With the leftover ansorm, we’re now not letting them eat it. We ate half, and now we’re leaving the rest for photographs,” Mr. Sophea said.
“After day three, we will share it with everyone.”
Mr. Sophea conceded that there was some chance the cake could spoil under the heat of the sun, but said a team was working to preserve it.
The “Angkor Sankranta” event was put on by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), which is associated with the CPP, and led by Hun Many, a CPP lawmaker and the youngest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“Tomorrow we have big plans for activities, traditional games and dances, and stone artwork to show to tourists,” said Som Ratana, the event’s spokesman and the director of the Royal University of Phnom Penh’s Department of Media and Communications.
“Besides the artwork, we have bokator [a Khmer martial art], chess, a trade fair and a food fair,” he said.
Mr. Ratana added that he expected a turnout higher than the 180,000 tourists and students that enjoyed the three days of the festival last year. He said he was unsure of the cost of the event, but that the UYFC was easily covering expenses with its extensive network of student volunteers.