What do you need to know about Cambodian cuisine?
If you’re looking to experience an entirely new and rich cultural dining experience, look no further than the Cambodian food scene. With a unique blend of Thai, French, Chinese and Indian flavors all in one bowl, Cambodian cuisine is unlike anything you’ve probably ever had before. If you’re reading this article, we assume that you know nothing about the food culture of Cambodia. If that’s the case, then this is exactly the right place for you. In this blog post, we provide a detailed introduction to Cambodian cuisine that will give you insight into what to expect when exploring these lesser-known culinary roots. Let’s get started!
What to eat in Cambodian cuisine
Before we begin, let us be clear: you should not be thinking about what to avoid! Cambodian cuisine is vibrant, flavourful and diverse, and there is something for everyone here. We’ll discuss your options below, but we urge you to not think about this as a diet guide for eating healthy. Think about this as a guide for experiencing new tastes, new flavours, and a new cultural dining experience.
You can expect to find a lot of seafood in Cambodian cuisine, but in terms of general staples of the cuisine, you will find:
- Rice - This is a staple food in most Asian countries, and it is no different in Cambodia.
- Soup - Cambodian cuisine is very soup-heavy, and this is very important to keep in mind as you explore the cuisine.
- Vegetables - While they may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Cambodian cuisine, vegetables are a huge part of the menu.
- Fish - While Cambodian cuisine is not heavily focused on meat the way some other cuisines are, fish is a staple.
- Tropical Fruits - Ripe fruits like mangos, bananas, and pineapples are hugely popular in Cambodian cuisine. You will also find them in desserts.
The importance of soup in Cambodian cuisine
Soup is incredibly important to Cambodian cuisine, as it is in many Asian cuisines. This is due to the fact that Cambodian cuisine has many Chinese influences, and Chinese cuisine has long valued the power of soup in healing. Soups in Cambodian cuisine are often made with healthy ingredients like vegetables and fish, with herbs and spices providing flavour. You will find that soups are a great way to get all of your daily nutrients in one single bowl. Soups are also a great way to try out Cambodian cuisine, as they are not as overwhelming as many of the other dishes you will find on menus.
The best dishes to try in Cambodia
We’ve already mentioned a few dishes above, but we wanted to dedicate a section of the article to these specific dishes.
- Cambodian Fish Amok - This is a special dish that you will find in a lot of Cambodian restaurants. It can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and meat eaters, and it is absolutely delicious.
- Cambodian Grilled Fish - Grilled fish is something you will see on a lot of Cambodian menus. It’s often served with a side of rice and vegetables and is a great way to try out Cambodian food.
- Cambodian Curried Fish Soup - Fish is a huge part of Cambodian cuisine, and curried fish soup is a great example of this.
- Cambodian Omelette - Yes, the omelette you know and love is actually Cambodian! You will find this omelette served with a side of vegetables or fruit and is a great way to start off your Cambodian culinary experience.
- Cambodian Asian Salad - Asian salads are very popular in Asian cuisine. They often feature cabbage and a variety of other vegetables and are often topped with protein like fish or chicken.
- Cambodian Papaya Salad - If you are a big fan of Thai food, you may already be familiar with the many varieties of papaya salad. For those who haven’t experienced this delicious dish yet, we recommend trying it out while in Cambodia.
Cambodian cuisine is a delicious blend of flavours, and it is something that every traveler should experience. We hope that this article gave you insight into what to expect when you're experiencing Cambodian cuisine for the first time.