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Scrumptious Khmer Cuisine To Delight Your Palate

January 8th, 2010 by

I would have to admit that I truly miss Cambodia.  My partner and I were in that marvelous country just a few months ago and it feels as if it had been ages.  Aside from the amazing Angkor Temples like Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, there is another thing that we are truly missing about Cambodia.  We are extremely salivating over authentic Khmer food!

Enjoying Khmer Food

One of the things that we enjoy when we travel is the opportunity to try the local dishes.  More often than not, the popular food that one can find in a country has a lot to say about the people, culture, way of life, even history, of that place.  It is always exciting to try the different dishes and be in a rollercoaster ride of different tastes – something that will make your mouth explode from the different blend of exotic flavors.

Khmer Cuisine is the collective term used to refer to the different food items and dishes that one can find and try in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The produce and ingredients that can be found in Cambodia are no different from the ones that are available in other parts of the world, and yet, the taste is something that cannot be explained.  It is something that you have never tried or imagined before in your lifetime.

Because of the strategic location of Cambodia, Khmer cuisine is somewhat influenced by the various countries that can be found near Cambodia.  These countries include Laos, Thailand, and of course, Vietnam.  The food is spicy but definitely not as extreme and scorching as Thai cuisine.  Staple food in local family’s Khmer dining table includes rice, lots of vegetables, noodles and soup varieties.  This is also the main reason why there was no big adjustment in our choice of food during our visit to Cambodia.

Most of variants of Khmer food are best consumed together with a bowl of steaming boiled rice.  Rice can be the regular kind that is combined with the main dish or it can be glutinous rice – commonly used as an ingredient for tasty desserts.  The main entrees are prepared by mixing a choice of ingredients in a soup, a curry dish, a stir fried dish, or a saucy spicy dish flavored with fresh coconut milk.

Here is a list of the different kinds of Khmer dishes that you can try during your stay in Cambodia:

Curry – This is one dish that is extremely popular and one that you must certainly try during your trip to the Kingdom.  Yes, most probably you will say that you are familiar with curry and that you have tried this one before in your native country.  I still highly recommend that you give the Khmer curry a try.  You will definitely be thankful that you did.   In Cambodia, Curry dishes are collectively referred to as Kari.  Of course, the roots of this dish can be traced to none other than India.

Khmer Amok Fish

Amok – Amok is another dish that we grew to love.  Ingredients include fish, coconut milk and chopped vegetables.  I really cannot explain the exact taste but it was definitely delicious.  The specific Amok dish that we got to try is called Khmer Amok Fish.  It was impressively presented in a coconut with its top part cut off.  This top part served as the cover for the dish.  Cool!  Of course, we enjoyed eating our Khmer Amok Fish with hot boiled rice.  We even got to scrape off the coconut meat after we were done eating.

Bok L’ Hong – Hmm, I should say that this is a lot similar to the green papaya salad of the Thais.  Of course, this is different because it is Khmer.  Ingredients include shredded green papaya that is shredded to strips, basil, chopped roasted peanuts, sliced tomatoes, string beans, bits and pieces of dried fish or dried shrimps plus some chilis.  The dressing of this salad is a mixture of fish sauce and lime juice.  This is really good.

Sour Priy Soup

Sour Priy Soup – This is a dish that was highly recommended by our guide, Mr. Sambo.  When we ordered this soup, it was presented to us in yet another interesting way.  There was a candle under the serving dish to keep the soup hot.  From the name itself, the taste is really sour but very soothing to the throat.  The meat that we chose for our soup was chicken and the meat was very tender.  Again, this soup is best enjoyed while hot together with a steaming bowl of steamed rice.

Of course, these are not the only dishes that one can try in Cambodia.  The list is endless and it is best to ask for suggestions from the locals or from your hotel’s staff.  This is why you must make sure that you book a room in any of Cambodia’s nice hotels like the Majestic Angkor Hotel Siem Reap.

Happy eating folks!

3 Responses to “Scrumptious Khmer Cuisine To Delight Your Palate”

  1. Khatiya Says:

    OMG! I’m so so very jealous of you guys. I wish I can enjoy those dishes. Just reading makes my mouth salivate, oh boy. I’ve visited Cambodia before but did not have a chance to eat much Cambodian food because there was the “bird flu” scared at that time. Also my parents was overly protected of what goes into my mouth. Ahhhh… if there’s a next time I will definitely eat til my heart is content. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    If you would like to try to cook some Cambodian dishes, check out my website where I feature the recipes.

  2. Kitci Wong Says:

    @Khatiya — Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article. I truly understand your apprehension in trying local dishes. Khmer cuisine is really delicious. I guess… that gives you enough reason to go back to Cambodia and try all those good food choices yourself! Take care :)

  3. Kay Says:

    I like the fresh buco! It’s my favorite … especially the coconut meat, the best!

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