Cambodian cuisine has its own characteristics compared to its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors. Based on its spicy dishes and specialties, a real new culinary scene in Cambodia is emerging with its restaurants with creative menus and original flavors. Besides, the culinary culture of the Khmer is popular for its impressive tastes as well as the specificity in the choice of ingredients. Here is a list of the best must-try Cambodian food during your tour in Cambodia.

1. Amok

Cambodian Cuisine: Top 10 Unmissable Cambodian Food

This fabulous popular Cambodian dish is a staple of Khmer cuisine. Amok fish is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry. In particular, this curry includes lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal, and Chinese ginger. The carefully wrapped preparation in the form of a foil is then steamed. This cooking method lets you exhale all the subtle flavors.

In high-end restaurants, amok fish is steamed in a banana leaf. Besides, other local places serve a boiled version that looks more like a fish curry than a mousse.

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2. Bai Sach Chrouk (rice with marinated pork)

Cambodian Cuisine: Top 10 Unmissable Cambodian Food

It is a fairly simple dish but well appreciated by both Cambodians and foreign tourists. You can easily find it all over the country, from luxury restaurants to street stores.

This typical dish of pork is first marinated in a sauce based on coconut milk, garlic, palm sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime, and Kampot pepper. The marinated meat is grilled on charcoal and then thinly sliced. It is accompanied by rice and pickled vegetables. This Cambodian national breakfast dish is perfect for a great start of the day!

3. Red curry

Cambodian Cuisine: Top 10 Unmissable Cambodian Food

A red curry that does not end in flames gushing in your mouth. Less spicy than that of Thailand, Cambodian red curry is suitable for all tastes. There are many main ingredients to choose from: beef, chicken and even fish accompanied by peas, potatoes, and kroeung – the culinary specialty of Cambodia. Khmer red curry usually goes with bread – a remnant of French influence on Cambodia.

People enjoy this specific dish on important occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family reunions and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or the ancestors’ day. On these events, Cambodians make the dish to share with the monks in the honor of the deceased.

4. Kdam chaa (fried crab)

Tasty Kdam Chaa Crab

Tasty Kdam Chaa Crab

On your visit to the south of this Asian country, you will see where the rows of pepper extend endlessly and which is famous for its marine products.

This dish is very famous in Khmer cuisine and delicious to savor. Especially, if you are passing through the Cambodian coast, you will find the small seaside resort of Kep which has made its specialty. A simple but magnificent recipe that combines two exceptional products from the region: Kep crab and Kampot pepper. The food is even reputed to be one of the best dishes in the world.

It’s worth visiting Kep and Kampot for the best of this fried crab. However, restaurants in Phnom Penh also bring live crabs from the coast to make their version of this delicious dish, which includes both Kampot pepper and tasty chives with garlic.

5. Ants… are you thinking of eating ants?

Yes, it’s not rocket science. Ants are served everywhere. Also, you will find all kinds of insects on the menu in Cambodia with tarantulas included.

The Cambodian food that most attracts foreign palates is the anthill of the red tree with beef and holy basil. It is a perfect mixture among ants, thin-sliced ​​beef, ginger, chili, etc. as well as spices of Cambodian origin.

There are ants of various sizes, some of which are barely visible and others almost an inch long. They are sautéed with ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and minced beef.

And how to eat this stuff? Very simple, we take it with rice!

6. Nom Banh Chok

The tasty Nom banh chok

This unique food often appears in Cambodian breakfasts. The dish consists of laboriously pounded rice noodles, topped with a green fish curry sauce with lemongrass, turmeric root, and combava.

7. Lort Cha

Cambodian Cuisine: Top 10 Unmissable Cambodian Food

This Cambodian food, on the contrary, is more popular in the evening, in street vendors. The dough is cut very short, pan-fried with vegetables, not forgetting the omelet and fresh chives. Finally, everyone is free to do the flavor with pea and chili sauce.

8. Ang dtray-meuk (grilled calamari or squid)

In Cambodian seaside towns like Sihanoukville and Kep, you will find seafood vendors carrying small charcoal ovens on their shoulders, cooking squid as they walk along the shore.

The squids are brushed with lime juice or fish sauce, then cooked on wooden skewers and served with a Cambodian sauce. It has an origin in Kampot and cuisine base consisting of garlic, fresh peppers, fish sauce, lemon juice, and sugar.

9. Fried fish

Fresh coconut milk is not used in daily Khmer cooking. Instead, it is a favorite ingredient on special occasions. It is traditionally made for the holidays or eaten in restaurants in a special fish-shaped dish. A whole fish is fried and then finished on a hot plate at the table in a coconut curry made of yellow kroeung and peppers.

Vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage are cooked in curry and served with rice or rice noodles. The literal translation of this dish is trei bung kanh chhet, fish from the lake of kanh chhet, a green Cambodian vegetable with water served with this dish.

10. After the meal of Cambodian food, here comes the dessert!

Hot, sticky summers call for sweet, sticky snacks. In Phnom Penh, in the streets, Cha houy teuk sells for a cheap price of 1,000 Riels (about $0.25). This dessert includes multicolored jelly which is the source of seaweed, palm powder, peas, and coconut ice.

And again coconut; do you find that coconut seems essential in almost all Cambodian food? If you know any other tasty Cambodian food and drinks in this beautiful land, comment below and let us know!

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Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.

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