Sombai, a Cambodian rice wine, is considered an emblem of Siem Reap. While famous for its fine blend of sweet and fruity flavors, this drink also serves as a popular souvenir among visitors due to its beautifully hand-painted bottles.
The name Sombai translates to "a little rice, please" in Khmer. Created in 2012 and inspired by the old traditional Cambodian spirit Sraa Tram, it has become popular today thanks to its good taste of fresh fruits, herbs and spices.
There are 8 different flavors of Sombai, each consisting of a mixture of two fruits or spices. Ranging from sweet to spicy, some of the most popular flavor combinations include Banana & Cinnamon, Coconut & Pineapple, Green Tea & Orange, and Ginger & Red Pepper.
The liquor can be enjoyed directly as an aperitif, combined with other liqueurs to make cocktails, or are often drizzled over ice cream and cake to enhance the taste of desserts.
Production & Consumption
Its signature sweet and tropical flavor stems from fresh fruits and spices, instilled into the spirit. A sugarcane stick is then inserted in each bottle to perfect the taste and give it an additional woody flavor, which becomes more delicious with time.
Each bottle proudly bears its traditional colorful cloth over the bottle top and is beautifully decorated by hand, making it a unique souvenir among travelers.
Today, the Sombai tasting room and infusion workshop have also become a growing tourist attraction, offering an authentic taste of Siem Reap through a wide range of homemade and artisan products.