The Old Art of Smoking Fish

Chak Khorn perpetuates the art of smoking fish in her village on the Tonle Sap Lake. Photo: ISA Rohany

Siem Reap--Kampong Khleang is one of these villages on the Tonle Sap Lake where people have probably lived since there were kings at Angkor and the Khmer empire dominated the region.  


Located about 50 kilometers from Siem Reap City, it sits on the bank of the Tonle Sap Lake with some villagers’ houses built on land and others over the lake. 


 Chak Khorn perpetuates the art of smoking fish in her village on the Tonle Sap Lake. Photo: ISA Rohany


Today, people in the village make a living out of farming, fishing and also tourism. Some of them are boat tour guides as Kampong Khleang attracts tourists interested in eco-tourism and wanting to relax while watching life at the lake.    


And then there is Chak Khorn who, for more than 10 years, has been smoking fish, working in a smoking facility she has set up next to her house. There she sits every day, looking after ember to make sure there is a constant and even flow of smoke to produce the expected result.  


Khorn smokes 500 to 600 kilograms of fresh fish per day, going through the drying process once in the morning and once in the evening. This amounts to 3,000 or so skewers of smoked fish.



She sells them for 14,000 riels (around $3.50) per kilogram, which translates into 24 skewers of smoked fish. 


The money is shared among herself, fishermen who provide her with fish and people selling at the market. 















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