Chrang Chamres- Barang food is incomplete without cheese while Miso is considered as an indispensable condiment in Japanese cooking. Prahok (ប្រហុក), salted and fermented fish paste, is equally important in Cambodian cousin. It has very strong and distinct smell that makes it not a favorite for most of Barangs.
Every year between ខែអស្សុជ (around October or November) and ខែមាឃ (around February), people from Kampong Speu, Takeo and as far as from Prey Veng come to Chrang Chamres, about 8 km from Phnom Penh along National Road No. 5, to prepare Prahok that will be their main source of proteins and main ingredient of their daily food. According to an old boatman at Chrang Chamres, around 8th day (៨កើត) until 15th (១៥កើត) of new moon of each month during the period, fish comes down from Tonle Sap Great lake. That is the time for Phohok making. However, year by year fish catches become less and less. Price was Riel 1,200 for small fish last year, but it is Riel 2,000 this year.
Unfortunately on the day I visited the place, there was extremely less catch fish, giving people came down from provinces no choice but to return home disappointedly bare hand. I was not able to witness the process of Prahok preparation, but I was able to manage to get to the fishing station. That was a good experience, but I have to go there again next season at the right time if I want to learn more about how it is made.
With Riel 2,000, the boat would take you to and from fishing station.
It takes two boats to draw fish catch in net.
Trying to divide the catch fish and put them by their species.
PS: Today is the 15th of new moon or full moon and I can see a very beautiful full moon from here, Siem Reap town.