The Khmerican Way

Food, film and surprises await in Little Cambodia.

khmerican on Flickr

MIRACLE MILE: Nestled within the east side of Long Beach is a mile-long corridor called Cambodia Town. Officially established back in 2007 and proudly boasting its own city sign, the area runs along Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero avenues and hosts over 20,000 visitors annually. While it has been most recently recognized for its distinctive cuisine, the area is also blossoming with cultural events and a rich historical background.

Known for its rice noodles, unique proteins, mild curries, and fresh garnishes, Cambodian food offers a variation on Asian-style cooking that fills your tummy and won't set your mouth on fire. Television personality Andrew Zimmern visited Cambodia Town restaurants for the opening of this season's Bizarre Foods America, and Los Angeles Magazine touts the area as the next food destination to gain hipster cred. From most accounts the food is reasonably priced, too, making it a destination that is both savory and sensible.

THEN A MOVIE: This year, Sept. 14-15, the Little Phnom Penh will host the first Cambodia Town Film Festival, featuring documentaries, independent film shorts, and subtitled classics as well as musical entries from a variety of artists. Films were chosen with a focus on highlighting the Cambodian experience here and abroad, and panel discussions with contributors will follow most viewings.

On Friday, Sept. 13, attendees can also take part in a live audience taping of an episode of "On The Kateil," a web series devoted to the ambassadors of Khmer culture in America. For taping reservations, or to purchase festival tickets, go to the festival website.

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