With world-renowned Thai gastronomy often in the spotlight, Cambodian cuisine tends to be overlooked. If Cambodian restaurants are not that common abroad, traveling through this country opened our taste buds to the specificities of its cuisine that deserves more attention.
Probably our favourite, the amok dishes whether chicken amok, beef amok, fish amok or vegetable amok, are the signature dishes of Cambodia. Traditionally, this creamy curry is steam-cooked in banana leafs and contains thick coconut milk and galangal (a rhizome of the ginger family). It can be served in a banana leaf. Its coconut smell and custard texture are mouth-watering!
Kampot pepper is world-renowned, and what better way of tasting it than in a traditional loc lac, in the city of Kampot? Tender cubes of beef are simmered in a Kampot green pepper lime sauce that adds sourness and a peppery taste to this hearty stew sweetened by palm sugar. It is just a delicious dish with the right balance of sweetness and sourness thanks to the fresh green pepper.
The grilled eggplant melts in one’s mouth while savouring a cha trop, a flavourful dish with pork tenderloin chunks and spring onions.
Cha kdav is a slightly fried chicken cooked with lemongrass, chili sweet peppers, basil and peanuts. As it is very finely chopped, the lemongrass can be eaten and gives freshness to this subtle dish.
Another stew on this list, khor ko would be the local caramelised goulash: the tender pieces of beef are slowly cooked with galangal, lemongrass, onions and dried chili. The widely used palm sugar adds sweetness.
The Khmer savoury pancake is filled with chopped chicken fried with carrots, onions, and soy, and served with a fish sauce dip.
Have you ever tried Cambodian cuisine? What are your favourite dishes?
Claire & Marcella
- We would like to thank Sony and his wife Chinn, an incredible cook, who run the Old Bridge Kitchen in Kampot for introducing us to Cambodian cuisine. If you stop by Kampot and want to taste traditional Khmer dishes, this is the place to go!
- If you would like to learn how to cook some of these delicious dishes, Coconut Lyly in Battambang offers great cooking classes.
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!