Cambodia Cuisine: Top 5 Must Try Dishes in Cambodia in 2024
Cambodia cuisine is often mistaken for the similar taste of Vietnamese or Thailand food. But it is easy to understand because all those countries have the same influence of Khmer ethnic group. Despite that fact, Cambodian dishes have their own distinctive taste and flavor compare with neighboring countries once tasted. So, we made a list of dishes that travelers to Cambodia should try to realize the differences and unique features of Cambodia cuisine.

Fish Amok

To Cambodians, Fish Amok is probably the most popular dish in everyday life. This dish features the creamy curry sauce which perfectly balances the taste of ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and coconut milk with the main ingredient – fresh fish. When reaching the right degree and correct timing, the fish will become silky smooth and melt in your mouth with each bite. To create distinctive flavor, Cambodian add their special herb – slok ngor – which impart subtle bitter flavor. People often wrap and steam Fish Amok in banana leaves.

Fish Amok is probably the most popular dish in everyday life

Khmer Red Curry

Speaking of red curry, people would think that it would be absolutely hot and spicy. On the contrary, Khmer red curry in Cambodia is less spicy than neighboring country – Thailand because of its coconut-milk-base. The dish consists of beef, chicken or fish with eggplant, green beans, potato, coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung – an aromatic paste to flavor soup. Khmer red curry is specially served on occasions like weddings, family gatherings and religious ceremonies. Khmer red curry is usually served with bread. 

Khmer red curry is usually served with bread and not so spicy

Lap Khmer

Lap Khmer is a beef salad dish which is marinated with lime juice. The thin slices of beef will quickly seared and served in ceviche-style. Different kinds of spices, herbs and vegetables make up the dressing of the dish, including lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper. It would one hard punch that could burn your mouth at first taste if you cannot handle hot and spicy food. In some restaurant, the beef in Lap Khmer salad can be served grilled. 

Lap Khmer is a beef salad dish which is marinated with lime juice

Red Tree Ants with Beef

Looking closely to the dish, people might fear it at first try. But after a bite which overcomes your fear, you’ll find this dish is absolutely mouthwatering. The dish is a large stir fry using the mixture of beef, basil, garlic, shallot, ginger, lemongrass and lots of ants – of course. Red tree ants come in different size and are mixed with beef then they will be put on top of a bowl of white rice with chilies. 

The dish is a mixture of beef, vegetables and a lot of tree ants

Ang Dtray Meuk - Grilled Squid

In Cambodia coastal towns like Sihanoukville and Kep, you’ll catch a glance of seafood sellers carrying charcoal ovens and grill the squids along the shore. It’s a great snack after a good swim in the beach. The squids are spread with lime juice or fish sauce and then barbecued on wooden skewers. 

Squids are grilled on burning charcoal

Apart from food, the sight of Cambodia is absolutely captivating. 

» Check out what or where you should visit when in Siem Reap or in Phnom Penh.

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