Cambodian Cuisine

Anyone who has been enriched with a visit to Cambodia will have been treated to some tasty food.  Cambodian cuisine is based on locally grown rice with fresh vegetables and fish.  Inspired and infused with the flavors of bordering countries Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodian cuisine stands apart as truly delicious.

Fish Amok is said to be the national dish and a favorite among locals.  The fish cooks in a coconut broth with lemongrass, garlic and saffron.  This combination of spices really makes the dish stand apart.  Many travelers to Cambodia enjoy this creamy soup as it tends to be less spicy than more common Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

The combination of spices used in Fish Amok, or Amok Trei, is called kroeung.  This is a spice paste made from galangal, which is a root like ginger, as well as garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, lime and cardamom.  Sometimes nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon will be added too.  This kroeung paste is the most common of flavors used in Khmer cooking.  It will be added to stews, soups or stir-fry’s.

No matter where you travel in Cambodia you will see many street vendors selling French bread.  This is a footprint left behind from French rule in the late 1800’s.  Many Cambodians will eat French bread for breakfast whereas their neighbors in other South East Asian countries will consume rice and noodles three times a day.  In fact a typical breakfast in Cambodia would be quite French indeed.  French bread and strong coffee is a very acceptable morning meal in Cambodia.

In terms of coffee, the brew in Cambodia is a treat to wake up to.  It is strong, sweet and iced.  Khmer iced coffee is similar to that found in Thailand, Laos or Vietnam but is very foreign to North American visitors.  A glass of ice with sweetened condensed milk is served with a silver pot on top.  From the pot, thick, strong espresso flows into the glass and is stirred and sipped through a straw.  It is refreshing and a great treat at any time of day.

Cambodian cuisine is extremely healthy as it is low in fats and high in fresh vegetables and other fresh local ingredients and spices.

For culinary tours to South East Asia please click the link below:

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