Hello, my name is Chinchakriya Un. I am the chef and owner of Kreung Cambodia. Kreung is a project that highlights my family’s recipes, and new inspired dishes that I create. Kreung is a traveling pop up with roots in Brooklyn, NY. My goals is to raise money to buy a tractor for my family in Cambodia, create a residency for artists, connect with the Cambodian diaspora around the world, and document my family stories from the past and present to include in a cookbook that hopefully will exist in the future.
I have a rather large Khmer family but the culture was never pushed too hard on us. It was visible in the food that we ate, and ceremonies that we could either partake in or opt out of. Early on I did not identify as Khmer or American. I was born in a refugee camp, moved to Massachusetts and grew up in a neighborhood with other immigrant families, predominately Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cape Verdeans, and attended a predominately white school. I never cared to think about it.
My dad and his seven siblings formed a Khmer rock band. They played at parties, weddings, and sweet sixteens that I always attended. I come from a family that is very music and party oriented. My weekends were filled with karaoke parties at my house, cars wrapped around the block, and my small home felt like nightclub with adults who just needed to rage. Looking back it feels like they were reclaiming a part of their youth that was taken away. I could say that my identity was informed by music and food, and celebration more than anything.
I’m still learning about the Khmer community. I’m beginning to dive into film, literature, and classic Khmer music. Connecting to my elders, and Khmer folks in the diaspora is a way that I continue to grow my understanding about the Khmer culture.
I don’t think I can land at one thing that I am most passionate about. Right now, it’s cooking but that will evolve into something else as life does. I’m passionate about the community and would love to figure out a way that Kreung can exist as a platform for other young aspiring chefs to showcase their creations. In ten years, I hope that my work has taken me to a space that is collaborative and benefits the community. Until then, I will continue to execute my own personal visions and educate myself on how to improve my leadership skills.