Cambodian cuisine may not be as well known as food from neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam, but it’s just as delicious. It uses more herbs and fewer spices than most other South-East Asian food. Here are some of the tastiest Cambodian dishes you should try on your next visit.
Often called Cambodia’s signature dish, this creamy fish curry is found around the country. It’s made with diced fillets of freshwater fish covered in coconut milk, eggs, fish sauce and palm sugar steamed in a banana leaf. To this, kroeung is added. A paste made from pounded spices and other ingredients, such as turmeric, kaffir lime, lemongrass and shallots, is common in Khmer cooking
This noodle soup is a popular Cambodian breakfast dish that is served throughout the day. Rice vermicelli noodles are topped with a broth of pork or beef bones, along with fried shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, green onions, and aromatic herbs. Pork or fish balls are added, and its served with chilli paste and half a lime.
3Mango and sticky rice
A common dessert in Cambodia is sweet sticky rice combined with tart mango. It’s served warm with coconut milk which softens the rice.
4Beef loc lac
Another signature Cambodian dish, beef loc lac is a salad. Stir-fried strips of tender beef are served on top of a bed of lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and raw onions. A fried egg is often placed on top, and it’s served with a dipping sauce of lime juice and Kampot pepper.
5Banana flower salad
This refreshing light salad is made with slices of chicken breast served with crunchy banana blossom flower, fried shallots, garlic, chillies and lemongrass, with fresh lime squeezed on top.
This delicious dessert consists of a sweet custard steamed inside a pumpkin. This pumpkin custard, also called sankhya lapov, is served both after everyday meals and during special occasions.
7Crab and pepper
Crab and pepper is a popular dish across the country. But, it is at its best in the seaside town of Kep. Crabs are caught daily and sold at the bustling crab market, where they are served at one of the many shacks with Kampot pepper.
Chive cakes, also known as num kachay, are a common street snack originating from China. Made with glutinous rice flour and chopped chives, this surprisingly delicious snack is served with a sweet and spicy fish sauce and fried in shallow pans.
9Rolled banana cake
These rice cakes, also called num ansom chek, are especially popular during festivals like during the Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben. They are filled with bananas before being wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
10Green mango salad
This refreshing salad is ideal to combat the Cambodian heat. Full of flavour, it’s made with sliced green mango, tomatoes, shallots, pickled cucumber, onion, peppers, fresh chilli, fish sauce, and fresh basil or mint.
Khmer curries are milder and less spicy than their Thai or Indian counterparts. While recipes vary, they normally feature chicken, coconut cream, fish sauce, garlic, shallots, turmeric, ginger, and more herbs than spices. It is eaten with rice or bread.
A sweet snack, these deep-fried bananas can be found at street food carts across Cambodia. Ripe bananas are flattened and dipped in a batter with black sesame seeds and then fried until crisp.
13Pork and rice
Cambodian roadsides are full of people eating this breakfast dish. Called bai sach chrouk, it features barbecued sliced pork marinated in garlic and oil. This is served over rice along with sliced cucumbers and pickled vegetables.
There are tons of more unusual Cambodian dishes, such as balut (fertilised duck embryos eaten whole), grilled frogs, deep-fried tarantulas, or scorpions. Meanwhile, you can also check out why Japanese food is so healthy.