The kitchen is usually where we converge and celebrate, make delicious meals and memories. In Khmer term, kitchen is called “ Pteas Bay or Chong Kran Bay.” Each family has its own type of kitchen design, ranging from one with a large window and a small dining table to one with only one person standing making a meal and letting the smoke blow out naturally.

During our research BETTER LIVING: The Kitchen Issue, we discovered that some of the most significant difficulties facing Cambodian households were a lack of space, the predominance of cooking odors, and kitchen functionality. We have highlighted some of the most typical concerns with modern kitchen design below:


The most common complaint about kitchens is cooking odors, which are inherent in Cambodian kitchens due to food preparation, storage, and cooking activities. Insufficient ventilation is the most cited cause, as households believe their kitchens are dark and poorly ventilated, lacking adequate design and external windows or doors for natural light and ventilation.


Insufficient space for food preparation is quite common. This issue is more frequent in condominium dwellers and households in landed properties. The lack of counter space is not only due to the space available for food preparation, but also the storage of frequently used ingredients, and the placement of cooking implements. Floor space is also prevalent for preparing spices or pastes, such as mortar and pestle. Island kitchen counters are often mentioned as an addition to kitchen countertops and floor space but are typically western inventions and not suitable for heavy Asian-style cooking. Many households also use small tables or folding tables as additional space for food preparation, such as cutting and sorting vegetables. Both dining and folding tables serve the same function without the need for a permanent island counter fixture.


The inadequacy of space for storing kitchen appliances like ovens, microwaves, juicers, and blenders has been a concern due to a shift towards more modern food forms, and the use of modern appliances for traditional cooking. This is due to space constraints, convenience, and the need to save on preparation time and cleaning up associated with traditional cooking methods.


The reality of poor-quality kitchen fittings, such as leaky pipes and small sinks makes cleaning after meals harder. They also noted that kitchen designs do not accommodate high-temperature wok frying, resulting in oil stains around the hob area, making it difficult to clean and maintain.


Kitchen storage solutions provided by developers are inadequate or ill-suited to the kind of storage solutions (or a mixture of both factors) both for food ingredient storage, and for tableware, cutlery, and cooking implements.


Most if not all who stay in landed properties also shared their experience that in their current homes, they have had to set up another kitchen at the back of the house to mitigate the problems mentioned above.

This finding is one of the main ones we have compiled for you in Better Living: The Kitchen Issue. We have included many other fascinating facts in this publication. If you would like to learn more, please remember to read the full version here.