On the road between Kampong Thom and Siem Reap you will find elaborate contraptions by the roadside designed to make the Khmer delicacy “Ambok” or toasted flattened rice.
These mechanical wooden machines driven by motorbike engine methodically pound the rice into flat flakes. The rice is toasted in a pan to the side with a mechanical stirrer, then placed in the mortar-like wooden bowl to be struck repeatedly by the large wooden mallet before being transferred to a shaken sieve where any dust is separated.
The flattened rice is enjoyed as a snack or cooking ingredient. Ambok Kampong Thom was nationally recognised in 2019.
You will spot many ambok producers along National Road 6 around Sankor commune in the west of Kampong Svay district of Kampong Thom.