Here in Chicago Asian Network, we take pride in really bridging the gap between the different Asian American communities. We like to release bits and pieces about certain Asian American communities so that our audience could get to know them. We hope that in our endeavor, we’ve educated our audience to appreciate the different identities of our community. With that reason, for this feature we’d like to highlight some establishments of our Cambodian brothers and sisters so that we may take a glimpse into their culture and lifestyle. If you’ve been curious about them or you have friends who want to get to know Cambodian culture and heritage, here are some places around Chicago that is worth visiting:

  1. Khmai Fine Dining
Photo Courtesy of Khmai Fine Dining Instagram

If you couldn’t travel to Cambodia just yet in order to visit ruined temples such as Angkor Wat or do a shopping spree around Siem Reap, might we suggest dining in Khmai Fine Dining. The restaurant offers authentic Cambodian cuisine so its taste will surely make you feel as if you’ve gone to Cambodia and back. This is a must-visit food place before you fly out to Cambodia to better acquaint yourself with some of their most beloved flavors. By the way, the menu of Khmai changes so don’t get too attached and form a favorite; we’re sure that once you try one of their dishes, you’ll want to visit again for another round. They’re currently only taking reservations so make sure you call them ahead of time in order to book the date that you want.

  1. Watt Khmer Metta
Photo Courtesy of Watt Khmer Metta Facebook

When you visit Cambodia, the majority of the population is actually practicing Buddhism. There are about 4000 plus monastic temples in the country. Buddhism plays a huge part in their everyday life. In order to be better acquainted with the ways of Buddhism, visit the Watt Khmer Metta temple in Chicago. They have a lot of resources, and they even offer programs and classes that would even better educate you on the perspectives of Buddhism.

  1. National Cambodian Heritage Museum
Photo Courtesy of On the Grid Website

When learning about culture and heritage, there is no better place than a museum. The National Cambodian Heritage Museum aims to “Build Bridges for Progress”. The exhibits pay tribute to the 4000 years long history of Cambodia and its heritage. It also serves as a home for Cambodian culture that was nearly wiped out during the Vietnam War and that of the country’s own “civil unrest”. You’ll know about all the hardships Cambodia has faced through the years through the various installations filled with “vivid images, descriptive accounts, unique artifacts, and interactive media displays”. 

  1. “The Bald Sisters” at The Steppenwolf Theater
(Left to right) Francesca Fernandez McKenzie and Jennifer Lim in Steppenwolf Theatre Company's World premiere of Bald Sisters by Vichet Chum, directed by Jesca Prudencio, running now through January 21, 2023. Photo by Michael Brosilow

Though Steppenwolf Theater isn’t exactly a Cambodian establishment, at the moment it showcases a Cambodian American themed play entitled “The Bald Sisters”. A play by Vichet Chum, that circles around the “poignant examination of the ties that bind multigenerational immigrant families together through history, spirituality, and humor”. The story follows two sisters who are at odds with one another since birth and needed to settle the affairs of their mother all while having to reconcile their family’s Cambodian roots to American society. The play has been extended until January 21! Now is your chance to watch it! You can use the code “CAN” upon checkout to buy 2 tickets for 1!

With these various establishments one could have a better understanding of Cambodian culture.

Jan 18, 2023

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