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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Khmer Culinary Harmony: Shinta Mani’s Gastronomic Symphony!

The gastronomic journey at Shinta Mani Hotels tantalises guests taste buds with a symphony of Khmer flavours, led by two talented and creative young Chefs who are creating a culinary buzz in Cambodia. Chef Chanrith Van heads the trendy and popular Kroya by Chef Chanrith at Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas in Siem Reap and South African Chef Bernard Hartzenberg helms all things culinary at Shinta Mani Wild – A Bensley Collection, located in the South Cardamon National Forest.

Both Chefs fully embrace the Shinta Mani Hotel Group’s policies of farm to table cuisine and plant forward menus that are sustainable and eco-friendly with zero waste.

Kroya by Chef Chanrith
Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas Siem Reap
Kroya means “food” in Khmer language. This unique restaurant bears Chef Chanrith’s name and is inspired by local heritage both in its cuisine and design, complete with popular outdoor swing seats which add a fun element to dining and the ceiling of the restaurant on which the floor plan of the famous Bayon Temple has been intricately hand painted. The restaurant is popular with local diners and expats as well as the hotel’s guests.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Kroya at Chef Chanrith menus area created using local products and the freshest ingredients, blended with native herbs and spices to create innovative dishes bursting with palette pleasing flavours. Chef Chanrith showcases traditional food from the local villages and provinces using authentic recipes and elevates them to an international market. A passionate advocate and ambassador for local food, he is proud of his heritage and hopes to put Cambodian food firmly on the culinary world map. He insists on using the freshest ingredients which are sourced from local markets and farms with some of the products like pomelo, cashew nuts and seafood being native to specific provinces like Kampong Thom, Battambang province and the Koh Han seaside province.

Chef has created a tantalizing modern fine dining concept, featuring contemporary interpretations of the Khmer recipes from his youth. Presented with flair and prepared with current techniques, his cuisine takes diners on a culinary exploration of his vision for the future of Khmer cuisine.

The breakfast menu offers a combination of both a la carte and buffet items with healthy vegan options and local delicacies. The lunch menu offers a wide range of classic and authentic Cambodian a la carte items. For dinner there are 4 menus to choose from, featuring modern Khmer cuisine; two 4-course and two 6-course menus with one of each option being completely plant forward, including vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean options.

Signature Dishes and Favourites
Kroya by Chef Chanrith has become famous for their version of Beef Lok Lak. The beef tenderloin is butter-aged for 26 days and served with a sous vide egg and a delicious Kampot province lime and pepper sauce. The 26-day butter-aging makes the locally sourced beef tender and succulent, showing its rich flavour.

Other signature and best-selling dishes include:
• The Pouk Village Krek Soup using red ants harvested from the forest at Shinta Mani Wild. The ants make their nests in the leaves of the mango trees and add the distinctive sour note to Soup, similar to lime, tamarind or vinegar.
• Smoked Fluffy Egg with a Kampot province pepper sauce, caramelised pork jus, garlic, pickles and a laksa leaf.
• Tonle Sap lake Sanday Butter Catfish Soup which is scented with lemongrass paste, sandan, watercress and shaved banana.
• Banteay Srei Village Jackfruit Curry Dip with crispy rice crackers, cucumber jade and fresh vegetables crudités.

Shinta Mani Wild – A Bensley Collection
In our unique location, Chef Bernard’s best ingredients are literally at his feet in the middle of the jungle which is his natural Cambodian larder. Guests often join Chef on his daily sustainable foraging rounds and select items to include in delicious dishes back at the camp.

A large organic farm and free-range chicken run to supply eggs has been created, including specially designated vegetable and herb gardens, a cocktail and spa garden, a hydroponic section and a plant nursery. This supports the camp’s commitment to sustainability by sourcing as much of their produce as possible from near-by farmers, only importing what they need and cannot find locally.

There are currently three dinner rotating menus at WILD, with an exciting fourth one coming soon.

Khmer Tasting Menu
Where guests enjoy local food in an elevated fine dining experience, combined with the opportunity to learn about the dishes in Khmer language; a fun activity while reading through the menu.

25Km Radius Menu
Chef Bernard and his team take advantage of their forest larder surroundings, pushing themselves to be creative within the “farm to table concept”. Everything on the menu is sourced within 25km radius from Headquarters Restaurant. Chef is also working on bringing it closer to home, within a 15km radius.

Examples of foraged or farmed items from the property on the 25 km Menu are:
• Red ants –served on the side for the tentatively adventurous. Also used in a local soup
• Wild potato/Candle potato – used for the wild salad in in a dessert of sago and wild potato porridge
• Betel leaf – used as a garnish
• Sour Leaf – from our farm and foraging activity, used in soups, salads and garnishes
• Galangal – from our farm , used for soup and in the slow roasted pork marinade
• Mint – from our farm , used in Ceviche
• Edible Flowers – a range of varieties either foraged or from the farm
• Pandan Leaf –used in dessert
• Banana Blossom –used in the wild salad
• Watercress –used for garnish
• Pineapple –used in sorbet
• Chili’s – from our farm, used for our steamed prawns

Chefs Tasting Menu
Consisting of delicious gastronomy and fine dining dishes, with exquisite presentations focusing on the beauty of the product. While menu items change regularly, some highlights include:

River Prawn Oka – Coconut broth, avocado, water lily, cocktail tomatoes, coriander oil, lemongrass and turmeric caviar
Cured duck breast – Carrot and cardamom reduction, confit daikon, cauliflower and apple foam, beetroot tuile, beetroot soil
Sous vide snake head fish – Sous Vide Snake head fish wrapped in nori seaweed served with wild flower salad, cucumber and pandan broth

Food by Fire (Introducing September 2023)
A feast for the senses on all levels and visually dramatic, this ancient cooking technique originated in South Africa (where Chef Bernard is from) and is now popular around the world. In addition to a way of cooking food it represents a way of life and is deeply imbedded in community as well a celebration of nature’s elements where guests will get to see what WILD has to offer. Chef will use different techniques of cooking with fire, including smoking, charring, flambé and others.

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