With an increase in Cambodian immigrants in Philadelphia, could a portion of South Philly be renamed as “Cambodia Town”?
Some believe that a portion of the neighborhood, some specifically stating the boundaries of 6th Street and 7th Street between Morris and Oregon, should be renamed as such based on the increase of Cambodian immigrants and culture.
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On sunny weekend afternoons, in the shadow of an ornate, golden Buddhist temple, Mifflin Square in South Philadelphia is dotted with charcoal grills, chile-lacquered chicken wings, and thin-sliced fatty beef heavily seasoned with lemongrass sputtering over the coals. Women pound chilies, garlic, and dried shrimp to a paste to season the snappy unripe papaya for the lime-drenched salads they sell to passersby.
This is what some people call Cambodia Town, where these authentic street foods sell for $1, and where there’s an effort afoot to make the title official. Though there are other places throughout the city that are rich in Cambodian culture – similar vendors sell snacks in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, and there’s a new temple under construction in Southwest Philadelphia – the area around Mifflin Square is the heart of this community. Business owners, city officials, and Cambodian Americans think it’s time to raise the profile of their culture – especially its bold, bright, and balanced cuisine.
Councilman Squilla agrees that a Cambodia Town would be beneficial to the community and has been helping to connect Cambodian business owners to resources in the city. To make this possible, there would need to be a formal business association and eventually a Business Improvement District for the area.
What do you think of having Cambodia Town in South Philly?