Cambodian cuisine is often overlooked in favor of its neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam. While not as diverse as these two, the Cambodian dishes have a specific charm going for it. From classic noodle dishes, to weird combinations with ants, the Cambodian cuisine doesn’t disappoint!
Here are the best Cambodian dishes that you have to try!
This is one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia. It is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk, often served in a banana leaf. Another important ingredient of this amazing dish is kroeung – a curry paste made from lemongrass, garlic, galangal, and fingerroot. Slok Ngor, a herb that gives a bitter flavor to this dish is also included in this dish.
Lok Lak is one of the signature dishes of Cambodia. It is made of stir-fried beef or pork slices dipped in brown sauce and placed on lettuce leaves. Sometimes, it is topped with a fried egg. It is usually served with rice, sliced tomatoes, raw onion rings, and cucumber. Also, as a bonus, Lok Lak is served with a dipping sauce made of lime juice and pepper!
Num Pang is a crunchy baguette sandwich, drawing French influence. It is made of lots of different combinations, usually with grilled skewer meat or pate. It is grilled before serving and brushed with lime juice for better taste. Usually, it comes with papaya salad too!
This is popular street food in Cambodia usually eaten for breakfast. Kuy Teav is a noodle soup made of pork or beef bones dipped in rice vermicelli. It has great flavor thanks to the combination of fried garlic, bean sprouts, green onions, and some aromatic herbs. This soup is served with chili paste, lime halves, and hoisin sauce. These serve as a great addition to an already delicious flavor!
Khmer Red Curry
This curry is really similar to Thai one, featuring a coconut milk base, but much less chili. That makes it much less spicy than the Thai variant. It features chicken, beef, fish, eggplants, green beans, potatoes, lemongrass, and kroeung. This curry is usually served at weddings, holidays and family gatherings.
Nom banh chok
This Cambodian dish is usually eaten for breakfast. It features thin rice noodles, beansprouts, cucumber, mint and basil, shredded banana leaves and green fish curry. You can easily find it carried by women on the street that balance a pole on their shoulders.
Prahok is a type of food that you will either love or hate. It is nicknamed as the Cambodian cheese because of its strong smell. Prahok is a fermented fish paste that is crushed and salted. It has a strong salty flavor and is used as a seasoning for many other dishes.
Green Mango Salad
This delicious crunchy and refreshing salad is served alongside lots of Cambodian dishes. It features sliced green mango, fresh chili, sliced tomatoes, pickled cucumber, onion, peppers, and fresh mint.
It is usually found in seaside towns like Sihanoukville and Kep. You can also find it in Phnom Penh. The squid is grilled in a charcoal oven, then brushed with lime juice or fish sauce and then barbecued on wooden skewers. It is often served with a sauce made of a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, fresh chilies, and sugar.
This dish is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is eaten whole. Locals absolutely love it as they believe that it is rich in protein and other nutrients.
This one is a local favorite. It features a chicken texture and white fish taste, a really unique combination. Grilled frog is really simple to make and really tasty as it is marinated in chili and garlic.
Lap Khmer is a lime-marinated beef salad. It features lots of garlic, fish sauce, basil and mint, shallot and bell peppers. This dish is topped with lots of chilies which make it very spicy!
Bai Sach Chrouk
This is common street food in Cambodia. It is grilled pork marinated in coconut milk and garlic, which give this dish rich flavor and texture. This dish is served with broken rice and fresh vegetables.
Crabs are best tasted in Kep, as they are freshly made there. They are stir-fried and flavored with pepper from Kampot, giving it a nice kick.
This dish consists of a deep-fried fish that is finished on a hotplate. Then, it is dipped in coconut curry made of yellow kroeung and chili. Cauliflower and cabbage are also added to the curry. This dish is served with rice or rice noodles.
Samlor machu trey
This is the Khmer sour soup. There are different types of this soup: with chicken, fish or pork. The sour taste comes from lime, tamarind, and tomatoes.
Twa ko is the Cambodian sausage. It is made from beef and pork with various spices. Twa ko has 20 – 25% fat. Some people use pork belly as the main ingredient. Twa ko is served with steamed rice and vegetables.
Bobor Rice Porridge
This is popular breakfast food in Cambodia. It is a rice porridge served with ginger and fish or chicken and congealed blood, topped with coriander and fried onions. A very simple dish with a rich flavor, and one of the cheapest meals in Cambodia.
Red Tree Ants
This weird dish has a sinister origin. It started to be eaten during the famine induced by the infamous Khmer Rouge. Back then, it was one of the only sources of protein. Now, it is a cheap source of protein. It is usually served with beef that is marinated in lime juice and chili, and then stir-fried. Ants are stir-fried with garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and shallots. This dish is served with rice.
There are a lot more of Cambodian dishes to try out other than these! The food scene of Cambodia awaits your arrival!