This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 at 10:03 am and is filed under Khmer-Related, Travel, Culture, Economy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Boiled corn is a favorite snack food here in Cambodia, found at just about every street corner. Since there are so many vendors competing to make a living selling boiled corn, the profit margins are razor-thin. If one vendor tries to sell a cob of corn for just 100 riels (about 2.5 cents US) more than the going price, then people will just go to the next stall to get theirs.
So if you sell boiled corn for a living, you’re always looking for a way to increase your margins while staying competitive. The solution?
Yes, acid! Yet another brilliant idea that can only come from Cambodia!
I have been hearing that the vendors are adding a small amount of acid to the boil to make their corns cook faster. The acid supposedly renders the kernels tender faster, reducing the cooking time and hence the amount of coal used to boil the corn. It’s the savings from using less coal or wood, not the saved time, that add to the profits.
Although I haven’t tried acid-boiled corn myself, I’ve been told that you could feel a slight tingling and irritating sensation in your mouth and esophagus when you eat it. One could only imagine what the acid would do to your stomach linings and intestines.
Acid-boiled corn is just the latest brilliant invention that comes out of Cambodia, where the margins of profit and safety are usually thin, and one often compromised for the other. In the past you may have heard of people selling watered-down beer laced with cyanide, a deadly poison, to increase the beer’s potency (i.e., mask its reduced alcohol content) and spraying dried fish with chemicals that even the flies wouldn’t go near. Yet, somehow these foods are deemed fit for human consumption.
Brilliant, just brilliant!
You must be logged in to post a comment.