In Southeast Asia and southern Indochina lies this beautiful country, which attracts tourists not only for its ancient temples, peculiar provincial culture and beautiful beaches, but also for the diversity of native foods and rich
In Southeast Asia and southern Indochina lies this beautiful country, which attracts tourists not only for its ancient temples, peculiar provincial culture and beautiful beaches, but also for the diversity of native foods and rich cuisine. Yes, there are many places to see in Cambodia, but its food is also wonderful. And in this article, we take care to know the typical food of Cambodia.
Introduction to Its Gastronomy
You will find in the Khmer cuisine a significant influence of the ancient Indian and Chinese cultures. We are not talking about just any cuisine, but the one developed by the most primitive inhabitants of Southeast Asia. Two of the most recurring ingredients in Cambodian cuisine are rice and fish. You won’t find this cuisine too spicy, like its neighbours in Thailand or Vietnam. But what is certain is that you will find a cheap and very tasty meal.
Although the taste of Khmer food is not spicy, it is full of intensity. In the streets of Cambodian cities, you will find many Chinese restaurants that have developed local practices and occupied the same places for decades, which have become a part of the typical Cambodian food. And it is that the typical food of Cambodia has not only Chinese and neighbouring countries influences, but also inherited French culinary practices.
For example, today’s dishes are very well presented because they have learned from the French to give any dish an appearance that guarantees a delicious bite to the eye. In addition, you will see in the Cambodian streets the street vendors of baguettes (that French bread) that are distributed by bicycle. Without further ado, let’s go plate by plate!
The Essential Cambodian Dishes
We start this selection of typical Cambodian dishes with the amok, a cooking process and the resulting dish, typical of Southeast Asia. We are talking about the most important national culinary tradition in Cambodia, although it is also used in Thailand and Laos. The ingredients of the preparation are very varied. The basic ingredients of amok can be fish, chicken, bamboo shoots, tofu, seaweed and eggs. Other ingredients of amok, which are not only typical but also delicious, are thick coconut sauce and galangal, a kind of blue ginger.
K’tieu is the quintessential Cambodian soup, although it is of Chinese origin. And the fact is that if you know Southeast Asia, you know that many soups are prepared and consumed there, and each territory has its representative soup, this is the case of k’tieu. All Cambodian soups, including this one, are eaten for breakfast. Like many other Cambodian dishes, this dish can vary between pork and fish.
The main flavors are very curious to the palate: hot sauce, lime juice, typical fish paste and sugar. The noodles of the soup are made of long grain rice flour. The best way to taste it is in the narrow streets of Cambodia, in its markets with varied and intense foods.
Bai saik ch’rouk
We continue with the breakfast dishes in this selection of typical Cambodian dishes. Bai saik ch’roukes is a pork dish served with rice and vegetables. Along with the noodle soup above, this pork dish is the most popular Cambodian breakfast dish. The pork is made delicious by first marinating it and then charcoal grilling it – our mouths are already watering!
The presentation of this meat is sliced and accompanied by pickled vegetables (preserved in vinegar). But what is the meat marinated in? Nothing but coconut milk, palm sugar, garlic, lime, Kampot pepper, soy sauce and fish sauce. If you decide to try it, get up early because after noon it is almost impossible to find it.
If you go to a typical Cambodian or even Southeast Asian restaurant, you will surely find lok lak on their menu. And that’s because this dish has been exported very well and is recognized as typically Cambodian, even though it originated in Vietnam. The lok lak is a dish of meat pieces marinated and sautéed in a wok.
You will have at your table, if you order the lok lak, the meat on a base of green salad and slices of cucumber, cucumber and tomato. In addition to that, you will have the inevitable Cambodian rice, lime sauce and black pepper. In these liquids you will be able to immerse the meat and enjoy it in a very good culinary experience.
Interested in learning more? Come back to check out the second part of our article.