When traveling to a new country, it’s always important to try the local food. Cambodian cuisine is no exception and offers a variety of flavors and dishes that are sure to please any palate. From street food to more elegant options, there’s something for everyone when it comes to food in Cambodia.
Here are 15 delicious Cambodian foods you must try on your next trip!
Amok is a popular Cambodian dish that is typically made with fish. The fish is marinated in a mixture of spices and coconut milk, then steamed in banana leaves. The result is a fragrant, flavorful dish that can be enjoyed with rice or noodles. While fish is the traditional ingredient for amok, chicken and vegetarian versions have become increasingly popular. No matter what type of amok you try, it is sure to be a delicious experience.
2. Bai sach chrouk
Cambodian cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and use of fresh ingredients, and Bai sach chrouk is a dish that perfectly exemplifies these qualities. Traditionally made with pork, rice, and a variety of herbs and spices, this popular breakfast dish is both hearty and refreshing. The pork is first marinated in a mix of garlic, lemongrass, and fish sauce, then grilled until slightly charred. This gives the meat a rich flavor that is offset by the freshness of the rice and herbs. It is often served with a simple dipping sauce of lime juice and chili peppers, making it an incredibly flavorful and irresistible dish.
There are many authentic food tours available in Cambodia. Getting to know the cuisine from the locals is the right way to experience it. A food tour is the most generous treat you can give yourself as a foodie.
3. Banh chiao
Banh chiao is a Cambodian dish that consists of a thin, crispy crepe filled with a savory mixture of eggs, pork, and vegetables. The crepe is made from a batter of rice flour and water, and the filling can vary depending on the region or personal preference. It is usually served as an appetizer or main course, and it can be accompanied by a dipping sauce or chili paste. While the dish may seem simple, it is a delicious way to enjoy Cambodian cuisine.
4. Samlor korkor
Many dishes lay claim to being the national dish of Cambodia, but one of the most popular is samlor korkor. This traditional soup is made with a variety of ingredients, including pork, chicken, vegetables, and rice. The soup is often served with a side of fresh herbs and chili peppers, which add a delicious flavor. It is a filling and satisfying meal that is perfect for any time of day. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a hearty dinner, this dish is sure to please.
You haven’t visited Cambodia if you haven’t tried street food in Siem Reap. The hunger for more doesn’t go away despite going to food stalls every evening. Trying local street food was one of my favorite things to do in Siem Reap.
5. Kuy teav
Kuy teav is a delicious Cambodian soup made with rice noodles, pork, and a variety of herbs and spices. The soup is traditionally served with a side of fresh vegetables and a lime wedge for squeezing. It is hearty and filling, but can also be quite light and refreshing, making it the perfect dish for any time of day.
The key to making a great kuy teav is in the broth. A good broth should be clear and fragrant, with a complex depth of flavor. While there are many different recipes for kuy teav broth, most will include ingredients like lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. Once the broth is cooked, the rice noodles and pork are added and cooked until tender. Finally, the soup is garnished with fresh cilantro, green onions, and bean sprouts.
6. Lok lak
Lok lak is a traditional Cambodian dish that consists of stir-fried beef and is served with a variety of vegetables and sauces. It is typically made with sirloin or flank steak, but it can also be made with chicken or pork. The beef is marinated in a blend of oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic, then pan-fried until it is slightly charred. The cooked beef is then added to a stir-fry of onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Finally, the dish is served with rice and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, and chili peppers. This is one of the famous dishes among the tourists visiting Siem Reap.
7. Nom banh chok
Nom banh chok is a traditional Khmer dish that consists of rice noodles, coconut milk, and a variety of toppings. The noodles are typically made from rice flour, and the dish is often served with a side of fresh vegetables. The most popular toppings for nom banh chok include bean sprouts, green onions, and fried shallots. However, you can also find variations with shrimp, pork, or chicken. It is usually served for breakfast or lunch, and it can be found at most Cambodian restaurants in Phnom Penh.
8. Num pang
Num pang is a Cambodian dish that is similar to Vietnamese banh mi. It consists of a baguette that is filled with meats, vegetables, and sauces. The most common fillings are pork, chicken, fish, and tofu, but there are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing fillings. It can be served as a snack or a meal, and it is often eaten on the go. The combination of flavors and textures in num pang makes it a truly unique and delicious dish.
9. Samlor kari
Samlor kari is typically made with chicken, but can also be made with pork or fish. The dish is cooked in a coconut milk-based broth and usually includes vegetables such as green beans, eggplant, and mushrooms. It is served over rice, but can also be enjoyed on its own. The dish is flavorful and hearty and makes for a perfect meal on a cold day. Whether you’re looking to warm up with a bowl of soup or looking for a full-fledged meal, samlor kari is sure to hit the spot.
10. Prahok ktis
Prahok ktis is a type of Cambodian spread or dip that is made from fermented fish paste. It is often used as a condiment or ingredient in dishes and has a strong, pungent flavor. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, it is an essential part of Cambodian cuisine. The fermentation process not only creates its distinct flavor but also preserves the fish and makes it a valuable source of protein. In addition, it is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy addition to any diet.
11. Kari saraman
Kari saraman is a beef saraman curry that is popular in the cuisine of the Cham people, who are a Muslim ethnic minority in Cambodia. This dish is one of the most complicated dishes to make, as it is reminiscent of spices like star anise and cassia bark. The beef is steamed with whole peanuts, and the dish is served with a baguette. This dish is truly a feast for the senses and is sure to please even the most discerning palate.
12. Sach ko
Sach ko is a lime-marinated beef salad that is popular in Khmer cuisine. The beef is sliced thinly and then cooked in a ceviche-style marinade of lime juice, fish sauce, basil, mint and lemongrass. This dish is often served at festive occasions like weddings, as it is both flavorful and impressive. Sach ko is a great way to enjoy the taste of beef without having to worry about overcooking it. The lime juice tenderizes the meat while the herbs and spices give it a bright, fresh flavor.
13. Maam chao
For those who love strong flavors, maam chao is worth trying. This dish is made by fermenting freshwater fish with roasted rice, galangal, and sugar. The resulting mixture is then left to ferment for a month. The end result is a dish that is full of rich, umami flavors. While it may not be for everyone, those who enjoy bold tastes will find maam chao to be an incredibly delicious (and unique) experience.
14. Nhoam svay kchai
Nhoam svay kchai is a traditional Cambodian salad made with unripe fruit, herbs and spices. The most common fruits and vegetables used in the salad are ambarellas, banana blossom, cucumber, lotus root, mint, basil and fish cheek. However, other ingredients such as smoked fish and small dried shrimp may also be added.
15. Num ansom
Num ansom are delicious sticky rice cakes that are popular in Cambodia. They can be either sweet or savory, and they are often filled with bananas and coconut. Sometimes pork is also added to the filling. It is traditionally made during Pchum Ben, which is a Cambodian holiday that commemorates one’s ancestors. The rice cakes are steamed in banana leaves, and they are typically served with a dipping sauce.
Cambodian food is flavorful, diverse and sure to please your taste buds. Have you tried any of the dishes I’ve listed? If not, be sure to add them to your list of foods to try on your next trip to Cambodia!
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