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Progressing Cambodian Cuisine At Anantara Angkor

February 1, 2017 Resort News No Comments Email Email

Anantara Angkor Resort, Siem Reap’s premier all-suite boutique resort, is taking on the mission to put Cambodian cuisine on the world’s dining stage. Pioneering this vision is Executive Chef Kien Wagner, who has immersed himself in Khmer food and culture for the last five years. His travels and endeavours have taken him from the bustle of Phnom Penh to the remote villages outside of Battambang and Kampot in search of lost recipes. Finally, he has found the adventure and rich history of Siem Reap – the former Angkor Empire – to call home.

When recruited by Anantara Angkor, his first trips were to the local markets and farms where he encountered a spray of bold colours: fire engine-red chilies; royal purple sweet potatoes; emerald-green herbs. He took these ingredients and imagery back with him to the resort where he teamed with General Manager Anthony Borantin to create Chi Restaurant and Bar. Chic, timeless and à la mode, Chi redefines indigenous dining to forge an original culinary concept. The unique presentation of modern Cambodian cuisine celebrates the country’s heritage and intriguing cultural influences. Guests discover an authentic transformation of traditional local flavours – immersing in a richly emotive experience.

‘Chi’ derives its name from the Khmer word for ‘herb’ and indigenous herbs and spices are very much the hero here – flourishing in the resort’s garden, plucked fresh each day and woven into a thoughtful menu that fuses local sensibility with contemporary artistry.

Savour the freshness of cilantro, the zest of lemongrass and the exotic citrus aroma of kaffir limes. Pique your palate with the spicy depths of turmeric and star anise, the peppery taste of galangal and the milder ginger flavour of fingerroot. Relish dishes that perfectly fuse the nutty edge of taro, the intensity of sweet basil and the tart sweetness of tamarind.

Combining market fresh seasonal produce, organic ingredients, tender aged meats and original spice blends, Executive Chef Kien Wagner crafts distinctive signature dishes. Faithfulness to flavour has a creative edge, as showcased by the radial symmetry of the charcoal eggplant or the linear simplicity of broccoli rabe.

“We want to showcase the deeply rich flavours of Khmer cuisine. What the rest of the world does not yet know is how flavourful the food here is, says Chef Kien. “The fundamentals of great cuisine exist, but the message competes with the strong food cultures that already exist in Asia. So we teamed with local suppliers to ensure authenticity and chose the most mutable recipes to create something new, but inherently comfortable. Sometimes you just need a little boost to get the conversation started.”

Original Asian dining is lifted by two built-in wine cellars housing an impressive collection of 70 labels, including a broad selection of wines by the glass. Extending the beverage pleasures, the Chi Bar pours out tasteful luxuries. A live jazz singer lends soul to the convivial mood.

Chi Restaurant and Bar serves breakfast and dinner daily, and is open to the general public.

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