Cambodia is famous for the magnificent monuments of Angkor Wat and the unique Khmer culture. Besides that, Khmer cuisine is something that every visitor must try on their trip to Cambodia.
Fish and rice play an important role in Cambodian Khmer food culture because of Cambodia's geography. The Mekong River flows through Cambodia and into the Tonle Sap Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Thus, Cambodia has abundant rice and fish resources. Cambodian food, which is prepared using unique spices, also includes plenty of snacks that are worth trying.
1. Fish Amok
Made from fish, coconut cream, and curry paste, amok is so popular that it can be considered the national dish of Cambodia. The addition of a local herb called slokng or gives the meal its distinctive flavor.
The ingredients are mixed, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed. Traditionally, the dish is prepared with fish or snails, but people also use beef, tofu, and chicken nowadays.
Fish amok is one of the most famous foods in Cambodia. You can find it anywhere, from Michelin-starred restaurants to roadside stalls, and you can ask the chef to include your choice of ingredients.
2. Cambodian-Style Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are prepared in the same way across Southeast Asia. Cambodian-style spring rolls have translucent, thin, glutinous rice wrappers, and are stuffed with minced chicken, fish, pork, and vegetables.
You can dip the roll in the seasoning and enjoy the mix of flavors. You can opt for vegetable spring rolls or non-vegetarian ones.
3. Kdam Chaa
Kdam chaa, a kind of Cambodian-style deep-fried crab, is a specialty of the seaside town of Kep. Seafood is extremely easy to obtain in Cambodia. Cambodian fried crab is made with fresh crabs and green, locally grown Kampot pepper.
4. Lort Cha
Lort cha is a Cambodian-style stir-fried short rice noodle dish. The dish is known by many names: lort cha, lod cha, and loht chha. Lort is a type of short rice noodle made from flour, while chameans to stir-fry, in Khmer.
Lort cha is a stir-fry made with pork and mixed vegetables —usually bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and green onions. Different chefs serve the dish with different types of sauces. Lort cha is popular among locals and visitors alike.
5. Bai Sach Chrouk
Bai sach chrouk (Cambodian-style pork and rice) is one of the most popular breakfast meals in Cambodia. It's a simple and delicious dish. The thinly sliced pork is marinated in coconut or garlic sauce and then slowly roasted over hot coals. The roasted pork is served over rice, along with sliced cucumber and pickled vegetables. Usually, the dish is served with a bowl of chicken soup and shallots or fried onions.
Besidesbai sach chrouk, there's another street food popular with the locals — grilled pork skewers. This barbecue snack is available at every night market.
6. Cambodian-Style Hot Pot
The Cambodianhot pot is called yao hon or ya-hon. The three most common ingredients used in the hot pot are seafood, beef, and vegetables.
A small pot of soup is the foundation of the hot pot. In Cambodia, coconut milk is used as the base of the soup. Another variation of the dish is the buttered yao honor buttered chhnang plerng, which is prepared on a flat grill pan with butter as the base. The seasoning used in this variation is a herb sauce.
Hot pot is typically prepared during celebrations or family gatherings in Cambodia.
The Best Southeast Asia Tour for First-timers
7. Cha Houy Teuk
Cha houy teuk is a popular jelly dessert in Southeast Asian countries. The dessert is made from agar, a type of gelatin obtained from seaweed. So, cha houy teuk is a kind of herbal drink.
In Cambodia, it is common practice to add coconuts, beans, sago, sticky rice, fresh fruit, and ice to the dessert, which then resemble bubble milk tea.
8. Pickled Fruit
Cambodia is home to a wide selection of tropical fruit. There are various fruit products: fresh fruit, dried fruit, and pickled fruit.
Pickled fruit are highly popular because of their sweet and sour taste, and they help to improve one's appetite in the hot and humid Cambodian climate.
9. Fried Insects
Don't be shocked to see locals buying fried insects at food stalls in Cambodia. Insect dishes contain high amounts of protein; nowadays, however, these dishes are becoming less popular. Fried insects are well liked by the locals for their distinctive taste and crispness. Try some fried insects on your visit to Cambodia!
An In-Depth Experience of Southeast Asia at an Easy Pace
Travel to Cambodia with Asia Highlights
Trying out local food is a must when traveling to different countries. Our knowledgeable staff will help you select the best destinations and handpick restaurants and accommodation for you.