Thursday, January 23, 2014

Norea Cham Village

Norea Street
One of the people we had lunch with in Battambang was Masy, Tami’s good friend. Tami is her honorary big sister and they are very close. At the end of the lunch, Masy invited us to her house in the Norea Village in the Sangkae district. It’s on the outskirts of Battambang. Norea village is a Khum (a commune).

Tami, Masy's Mom and Masy at their new home
Norea Village is a riverside community populated by the Cham People and is focused on fishing and dried fish for restaurants. Masy and her family are Cham which are generally Muslim in Cambodia. They are remnants of the Kingdom of Champa (7th to 18th centuries CE).

Getting the fish ready for drying
Ancestors of the Cham probably migrated from the island of Borneo. Records of the Champa kingdom go as far back as 2nd century CE. At its height in the 9th century, the kingdom controlled the lands between what is now modern Huế, Vietnam to the Mekong Delta in south Vietnam. Its prosperity came from maritime trade in Sandalwood and slaves. Cham culture probably included piracy. There’s a famous Bas Relief at Angkor Wat (Bayon) showing a sea battle between the Khmer Empire and the Champa.

Commune truck hand made from parts of many trucks
The Cham community suffered a major blow during the Khmer Rouge in the 70's. During the mass killings by the government, a disproportionate number of Cham were killed compared with ethnic Khmer.

Drying Fish
Modern Cham of Cambodia eat much as their fellow countrymen. Rice is eaten at almost every meal. Fish is almost as important and is eaten fresh, dried, and salted. Norea is focused on Fish, fishing and drying fish.
Village Street
A traditional meal is a bowl of steamed rice eaten with a sauce containing bits of fish, fowl, or meat, eggs, vegetables, and spices such as onions, chilies, garlic, mint, ginger, or lemon grass. Pork and alcohol, consumed by many Cambodians, are forbidden to Muslim Cham. The big meal of the day is lunch around midday, followed by supper at twilight.
Cham men Fishing
Cham men usually eat together, women and children later. Each has a bowl of rice, and all take bites of food from several dishes sitting in the middle of the group. Cham may eat sitting in a squatting position, with their feet flat on the ground and their knees bent sharply. In Cambodia, most use spoons.

If you’d like to check out more pages of the blog . . . Click here

No comments:

Post a Comment