Avocados in Cambodia
Avocados haven’t really caught on in Cambodia yet. I don’t think that will stay true for long, as the stuff that’s grown here is excellent and expensive Western food (usually of dubious quality) is catching on in Phnom Penh. These avocados made in Cambodia are huge, fresh, and for the most part, totally under the radar.
If you ask a Cambodian about an avocado, there’s a good chance they won’t know what it is. The comparatively high price of the crop, coupled with the lack of tradition associated with it, makes it a curiosity. The low-key exposure of the vegetable is somewhat understandable since it’s only grown in the sparsely populated Mondulkiri province, where there are a mere four people for every square kilometer. The region is cool by Cambodian standards and is one of the only places in the country that can support the crop. The region also boasts coffee bean production, and while the scale doesn’t compare to the massive production in neighboring Vietnam, the coffee has formed a respectable niche.
There are a few vegetable sellers in the Russian Market and in the other big markets that sell avocados, so while they aren’t rare, avocados aren’t entirely ubiquitous. Usually, there will be a small box next to large amounts of eggplants, peppers, and other popular crops. The going rate seems to be 10,000 riel ($2.50) a kilo, or about 75 cents for a decent-sized avocado. This is expensive compared to the 50 cent rate for a kilo of tomatoes, but itâ€™s a bargain compared to Western countries, both in price and quality. Lucky Supermarket and its supermarket ilk also sell locally-grown avocados, but the stuff they have on hand looks far from fresh and costs a dollar more per kilo. That description could be applied to just about any fruit or vegetable sold as the big grocery stores. If you want the good stuff for cheap, you need to go to the local markets.
I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?