Unlike many of the Mother’s Days celebrated around the world—including the ones here in the U.S. and in Cambodia, where Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday of every month—in Mexico, it is always May 10.
And as the sons of two beautiful, powerful brown women—one the son of a refugee from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Chef Chad Phuong of Battambong BBQ, the other the son of a proud Mexican Latina, Chef Ulises Pineda-Alfaro—they have decided to honor their Ma and Ama in a spectacular fashion only they can: By melding the mighty flavors of Cambodia with that of Mexico.
“I lost my mother two years ago and it still remains heavy as she was always my biggest cheerleader,” said Pineda-Alfaro. “Whether it be baseball games or in the kitchen, she and my family are the reason I cook in the first place. To share this with Chef Chad is both humbling and honorable.”
So what can one expect when the flavors of these two seemingly disparate cuisines are connected? A lotta smoke, a lotta heat, and a ton of mastery.Brisket tacos on flour tortillas. The mighty Cambodian cucumber’n’smoked fish salad, nhoam trasak, used as a side for smoked fried fish. An empanada filled with barbacoa. Chef Chad’s famed twako Cambo sausage.
The humble Mexican fideo upped with some smoked pork belly. A classic grilled ribeye.And, of course, coconut sticky mango flan.”This is about celebrating our moms and that means celebrating our food,” Phuong said. “My mom literally saved my life to bring me here, to escape genocide; it is something I think about daily and express such gratitude in order to have this experience.
To be able to bring my food into Chef Uli’s space, to share the kitchen with him, is really showing off everything my mother instilled in me: partnership, community, collaboration.””Ma,” El Barrio’s special collaboration dinner with Battambong BBQ, takes place on Wednesday, May 10, at 5:30PM.
El Barrio is located at 1731 E. 4th St.