Khmer flat glutinous rice “Com dep” is a specialty of the Khmer in Soc Trang in general and Mekong River Delta in particular. The Khmer believe that they owe the Jade Emperor and Buddha for giving them rice, which is the main material to make delicious dishes. “Com dep” is a popular dish being offered in important Khmer religious rituals to pray to genies for favorable weather and bumper crops.
Moon worshipping is an important rite in the Ok Oom Bok festival organized on the full-moon day of the 10th lunar month. At night when the moon looks brightest, people begin the ceremony in pagodas, their houses or communal yards. The masters of ceremony are senior and prestigious people in the village. All people look toward the moon and pray. After the ritual, the master of ceremony gives the children a handful of flat glutinous green rice and asks about their wishes for the next year. Finally, they gather to enjoy fruits and flat glutinous green rice, dance, sing, and wish each other a bumper crop.
At the Ok Oom Bok festival, flat glutinous green rice is sold abundantly for visitors. Sellers also show guests how to make different dishes from young sticky.
The harvest time of young rice to make “com dep” is when the grains look yellowish and taste as sweet as milk. Young rice is processed immediately after being harvested. It needs 4 people to work together to winnow, roast, stir and pound the young rice.
Freshly processed Com has the typical aroma of young rice. The Khmer people often blend it with coconut flakes, coconut juice, and white sugar in about 15 minutes to make its texture softer. People keep Com’s flavor by wrapping it in lotus or banana leaves.