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Food and Drink

Pepper Farm

With heavy influence from the surrounding waters Cambodian cuisine features a lot of seafood. Many rivers flow through the land so freshwater fish are not uncommon alongside shrimp, squid, crab and many other shellfish. Boasting the world’s best pepper (Kampot Pepper) it’s unsurprising to find that fresh herbs and spices also play a large part in the flavour of many Khmer recipes.

In most cities and towns, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants sporting a colonial influence. French cuisine is also incredibly popular and of course that leads to many Asian western fusion restaurants as well.

Food and drink’s always cheap, but the price should in no way deter you. Cambodian cuisine is tasty and unique. Like much of east Asia there is a heavy focus on rice and noodles in most dishes, although in Khmer food hot spices are not as prevalent.

Bai Sarch Ch’Rou. Photo: Lina Goldberg/CNN

Popular breakfast dishes consist of noodle soups with pork, beef or seafood. These dishes, named K’tieu (pronounced kuy teav) can be found at market stalls, restaurants, shop houses and roadside street food stalls across the country. Another popular breakfast you may also come across Bai Sarch Ch’Rouk, which is rice (Bai), with barbequed pork.

Most hotels will of course offer the western traditions of a continental breakfast, or you may prefer to visit the one of the many fruit markets for something a little more exotic. Breakfast can usually be found as early as 5.30am and served until around 10am.

Curry’s are among the most popular meals in Khmer cuisine. Their most popular, amok, is made with chicken, fish, shrimp or squid and uses coconut milk as a base. Again, usually less spicy than that of their neighbouring Thai cuisine, this celebratory Cambodian dish is traditionally cooked in a banana or palm leaf.

Another teatime tasty is Lok Lak, a mix of beef and vegetables. With the beef cut into strips and marinated it’s then sautéed in a wok. Lok Lak is usually served on a bed of green salad, tomatoes and cucumber with a rice accompaniment as well as a lime and black pepper sauce used for dipping the meat in.

As with breakfast there will be western dishes on offer at many of the restaurants. For the semi-adventurous you may consider seeking out some Asian fusion food. This is a mix of traditional Khmer food with the colonial French cuisine such as freshwater fish risottos or a crab chowder. Whatever you set your heart on, you can find and can be sure it’ll be served with a smile.

Cambodia’s most popular domestic beers, Angkor and Anchor will be found in almost every bar and restaurant. There will usually be plenty of imported beers on offer from around the globe as well. For the braver amongst us there’s the locally made palm and rice wines, usually found in smaller bars and cafes these liquors are cheap, strong and usually come with quite a kick.

Fresh brewed coffee is as popular here as it is across the globe and you can usually find it being brewed at any time of day. Iced tea, coconut water and fresh fruit juice are always fairly accessible at any juncture and we’d always recommend bottled water as opposed to tap water, although the tap water is safe to drink. 

Source: https://www.martinandnicol.com/en/local-cuisine-and-our-restaurant-tips/

Whatever your palette desires, there’ll usually be an option within walking distance in any city or town. The food industry is the easiest route into business for locals, with most ingredients sourced locally at the river or on the farms. Cambodians don’t adhere to strict mealtimes, mostly eating whenever their bellies grumble, so you won’t find yourself left short if you skipped lunch by mistake.

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