Num Dtree-ap Sticky Rice Cakes

Conor Wall

Price: 500 riel each.

Two kinds of sticky rice cakes exist on Cambodia’s streets. Like ying and yang, both white (num dtree-ap saw) and black (num dtree-ap kmao) share the same seller’s tray. The ingredients are the same for both, with the exception of the rice type. The black sticky rice cakes are made from brown rice, while the white variety is made from white rice. The rice has been mixed with palm sugar, coconut scrapings, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt. It is then cooked for approximately 30 minutes until a sticky consistency is achieved. The mixture is delicately poured out on a baking tray and left to dry for 10 minutes. Once hard, the cake is cut into its distinctive square shape.

Once cut into small squares, the sticky cakes are served in a small plastic bag with complementary wooden skewers. Coconut shavings can also be sprinkled on top.

White sticky rice cake: The texture of the inside of the cake is of hard rice held together by a soft sticky filling. The flavour is quite sweet and similar to that of a rice pudding. The optional coconut adds a nice kick, but too much can be overpowering. As with many Khmer desserts, the amazing sense of natural ingredients and tastes is striking. Definitely has to be tried. (5/5)

Black sticky rice cake: The texture is identical to that of its paler cousin. The taste, although similar, is not as sweet. Overall it is a little bland. (3/5)

Where to get it:
Available from a variety of friendly sellers walking the city streets with beautiful baskets expertly balanced atop beautiful heads.

Other Info: Usually available all day.