The U.S. Embassy organised ‘Restaurant Week 2023’ in Phnom Penh to promote U.S. agricultural products to the Cambodian business and culinary communities. The event will run from November 13 to 19, 2023.
The launch event was presided over by the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, Patrick Murphy, and brought together 15 participating restaurants that use U.S. food ingredients, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S. food importers, a culinary school, restaurant and hotel associations, food social media influencers, chefs, and many local food enthusiasts.
The fifteen participating restaurants included Botanico Wine & Beer Garden, Cerevisia Craft Brewery, CUTS – Rosewood Phnom Penh, Fatboy Subs & Sandwiches, Hard Rock Cafe, Itacate, Khéma, Magal No.1 Korean BBQ House, Metropole Underground, Mike’s Burger House – Camko City, New York Steakhouse, Omori BBQ Japan, TELL Restaurant, The Cut Steakhouse, and TOPAZ. During Restaurant Week, these restaurants will offer fixed-price American menus and other promotions for both lunch and dinner.
“Restaurant Week is one of the many marketing activities the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts globally to introduce consumers to high-quality, nutritious, and safe U.S. food,” remarked Ambassador Murphy.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy, the agricultural trade relationship between the U.S. and Cambodia continues to grow, with beef exports to the Kingdom increasing significantly in recent years.
“We’ve seen beef exports from the United States to Cambodia increase by 130 per cent between 2021 and 2022, and this expansion is continuing this year,” said Murphy.
The Ambassador also noted that Cambodia’s recovery from the pandemic has been slower than anticipated amid global economic challenges and conflicts that have impacted food security and supply chains.
“However, the trading routes from the United States to Cambodia remain wide open, especially for agricultural products. Restaurant Week is an opportunity to help the local food industry continue to recover and flourish,” added Murphy, describing the week-long event as an example of cultural diplomacy.
American Agricultural And Food Products In Cambodia
The Ambassador expressed hope that both countries can continue to expand and balance their trade relationship, with agricultural products being no exception. He highlighted that American food products like fruits, wines, spirits, cheeses, grains, seafood, condiments, and hops in craft beer are already available in Cambodia, adding that there are now many restaurants and chains that offer a range of affordable and high-standard American products.
TOPAZ, a French fine dining establishment in the heart of Phnom Penh, is offering American products such as scallops, Colorado lamb, and wine on their menu during Restaurant Week 2023.
Eden Gnean, the General Manager of Norodom Topaz Restaurant, noted that she has seen an increase in the number of American wines available in the Cambodian market, and further praised their quality and value.
She added that she is looking to diversify the wines offered at her restaurant so that the selection offered can be widened from just French wines to American wines as well.
Daniel Simon, the Managing Director of Rosewood Hotel Phnom Penh, remarked that the significant economic growth observed in Cambodia over the last few years, including the huge growth in the middle class population, has led to a “drive for new things, and the new thing is food.”
He spoke further about how food can bring people together and forge bonds, and also expressed his appreciation for the high quality and large variety of American food products available.
Simon noted the wide availability of U.S. products in other Asian countries like Japan, Taipei, and Vietnam and encouraged American suppliers to expand further in the region and bring more U.S. products to Cambodia.
Potential For U.S. Investment In Cambodia’s Agriculture and Food Sector
Murphy stated that there are many “good ingredients” that come together to make a favourable environment for American investment in Cambodia, such as the country’s increasing population, the potential for repatriating profits, the allowance of foreign ownership, the competitive labour market, and the Cambodian government’s welcoming stance towards foreign investors.
He also stressed the importance of needing to improve the investment climate in Cambodia even further by implementing a strong rule of law, strong protection for investments, strict adherence to international standards, and the need for local stakeholders to uphold these standards.
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