Must-Try Dishes in Cambodia
Squished between culinary heavyweights Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to food. But once you've sampled Khmer cuisine, you won't turn back.
Traditional Fish - Amok
Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes. The addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor, separates the Cambodian version from the pack.
Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or ginger. At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.
You can find this dish in any restaurant in Cambodia.
Khmer Red Curry
Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand,Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based but without the overpowering chili.
The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.
This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of the departed.
Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.
Lap Khmer - Beef Salad
Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.
Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.
A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, Lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef to be nearly raw, but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.