One of the main attractions that pull travellers to South East Asia is not necessarily the tropical bounty, but in actual fact the incredible palate of food there is to offer. Cambodia is no different. Khmer delicacies and flavors range from sweet to sour, bitter to salty in the flash of one bite, and if travellers are looking for an “East meets West” experience, Slaprea is the event to attend.
The food festival takes place annually in the country’s capital city of Phnom Penh and is a two day bravura of tasty treats, entertainment and shenanigans.
Slaprea started in 2017 and has evolved from all Khmer to a fully international food fest, where visitors can revel in the flavors of the world. With over 150 stalls of vast variety, not one taste bud will be left untouched.
Guests not only get to spend their evenings feasting on the many delights on hand, but can also partake in a throng of activities and contests, or can sit,relax and take in the entertainment on stage.
The atmosphere is that of a close community, filled with people of all ages, food and music. The entertainment ranges from live traditional Khmer shows, go-karts, a kiddy-playground, eating contests, DJs and live music. There is something for every age, and hours can easily seem like minutes.
With a strong eco message, Slaprea intends on also spreading the word about waste management and encouraging people to abandon the single-use plastic and switch to alternative sources.
Slaprea is organised by a solution-based company called The Idea who are focused on reducing the impact of waste in Cambodia through major events and campaigns, by raising awareness and education on recycling, up-cycling and waste management, in addition to organising trash-pick ups, supporting arts and culture, as well as healthcare.
They also have a pool of volunteers, from Volunteer Nation, helping out at the festival and ensuring that guests eliminate their waste in the correct recycling bins. Every year they focus on reducing the use of plastic, and at the 2019 event, they were 90% single-use plastic free. The Idea supplies vendors with paper and bamboo packaging to encourage the business owners to proceed with less plastic in their everyday lives.
The name Slaprea, in written Khmer, roughly translates to the idea of a spoon with wings, which seems fitting, as travellers will want to taste every dish from every stand, and savor every sip of locally brewed beers, artisan cocktails, and other refreshing beverages.
Slaprea takes place in the Olympic Stadium annually during the dry season (also known as Cambodian summer) in the evenings from 17:00 - 21:00. The booths mostly consist of food and beverages, but there is also a selection of merchandise stalls.
The festival offers travellers an opportunity to be a part of a Cambodian community setting, all while appreciating a palette of new cuisines, engaging in fun activities and being entertained and amused by the many musical and theatrical delights, all while minimizing environmental impact.