Goodbye Russian Market?

Via DAS. Market vendors at the Russian Market (Psar Toul Tom Poung) have just received the eviction call. Diana from Cambodian recycled bag vendor, Bloom writes:

I got a call from the Bloom manager in Phnom Penh this morning. Vendors at the Russian Market, where we have a stall, were told the government was going to shut down the market.

We have heard similar rumours for the last year or more, that the market would be closed for either (a) renovations or (b) relocation. In fact, the landlady at our former shop sold the shop, which was on the outside of the market, because she was told only shops inside the market would qualify for compensation. Shops on the outside are not considered part of the market, it seems.

There was a sign up at the Russian Market a few years ago with an image of a market eviscerated of any local character, suggesting that the wave of gentrification was about to swamp the market, but at that point in time it looked as likely as motodops being replaced by flying cars.

Deep fried balls

num something

It seems that I’ve arrived at Psar Thmei (Central Market) just in time to see it renovated. I imagine that the front, which is currently cleared of vendors, is being prepared to build either a twenty story apartment building or an illuminated fountain. These seem to be the two contributions of modern Cambodian culture to local architecture.

The good news is that the food at Central Market remains unchanged and untouched by development. The above balls fit into the grand genre of Cambodian sweets that consists of of bean paste coated in rice flour dough. The sesame coated balls hit the sweet/savoury bull’s eye; the sugar-crusted versions are as bad an idea as modern Cambodian market renovation. They are both crusty but retain rice flour chewiness.

Price: 4000 riel (US$1) per styrofoam clamshell