For the last two months, I have been living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and I am loving every bit of it. There is this strange feeling of being at home in Phnom Penh and this place just isn’t letting me miss home. Many times, I feel like I am living in India.
Lot of people may point out the Angor Wat temples as the Indian connection in Cambodia but I haven’t been to Angkor yet and my experiences have been limited to Phnom Penh so far. In this article, I have shared some of the similarities with India that I have experienced so far in my day to day life and I will keep adding as I encounter them in future.
I think the one of the most prominent similarities with India is the traffic and the driving style in Phnom Penh. I would say the Indian driving style is even more aggressive and so I always felt at home riding on the streets of Phnom Penh.
The Indian-made auto rickshaws are making an appearance on the Phnom Penh streets. Well the Khmers have gone a step further and upgraded it with WiFi. Sweet!!!
Bajaj Pulsar – One of the most common Indian bikes is becoming quite popular among the youth here
The Cambodian cuisine though mostly consists of pork, is quite unique and delicious. They do consume lot of rice just like Indians.
This is our usual lunch. The one on the top right is a Lotus stem/root soup. Quite tasty! The beverage in the glass is hot tea with ice :). The people in Cambodia are obsessed with ice. You will find ice in almost all beverages.
Cambodian Mangoes – they are usually green mangoes but they taste very good
Bahn Chiao – my favourite dish in Cambodia so far. This tastes similar like an Indian dosa but the Khmers add egg, prawns and coconut inside. And then we eat it with lettuce, basil, mint leaves, and cucumber. The leaves add a very different flavour to this dish. Check the video below on how to prepare and eat this amazing dish:
Like India, there are lot of amazing cuisines in Cambodia. I guess I will need a separate article to just talk about Khmer food. 🙂
Just like Southern India, coconut water is available almost everywhere throughout Cambodia and they also have chilled coconuts which are kept in ice. Interesting idea! Why didn’t we think of that?
The crappy Indian television series are very popular in Cambodia. They sound hilarious in dubbed Khmer. 🙂
I guess we ran out of streets in India to name after him and so we turned to Cambodia 🙂
Well here is the story behind it: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/sihanouk%E2%80%99s-indian-connection
Feels nice to see the Indian flag along the riverside.
Among all these similarities, there is one notable difference that is worth mentioning and that is cleanliness. Littering is not something that I have seen so far and the streets of Phnom Penh are much cleaner compared to India. It is high time we Indians accept this anomaly in our culture and act accordingly.
Hinduism existed in ancient Cambodia and the temples of Angkor Wat exemplifies that. Ganesha idols can be seen at many places around the city.
Experiences like these makes me wonder if Cambodia is a long lost cousin of India? My upcoming trip to Angkor temples might throw up more such wonderful and interesting similarities.