If you are traveling to Cambodia and would like to explore Cambodian food, this article is just right for you. One of the best ways to experience and explore one’s culture is to try out their cuisines. The taste of food can say a lot about the identity and uniqueness of one nation. It helps us better understand a country’s culture and ways of living. In Cambodia, most families prefer cooking at home rather than going out for meals. So Cambodian dishes that are listed in this article are the dishes that Cambodian people normally cook at home.
Every single meal here includes rice. So if you are from a country that does not normally have rice for meals, you are going to like the experience of the food here. For some people, they might find the food to be a bit salty. That is because the food is designed to have with rice which blends the salty and sweet taste together. Also, some Cambodian foods are spicy. So if you are not so keen on spicy food, you might need to check with the restaurant and make sure your food is not spicy, just in case. So for tourists who enjoy learning about new cultures and like to learn more about Cambodian food, this article is for you. It will cover the taste, price, and other important details you should know about each Cambodian dish mentioned here.
You might also interest with: Best Cheap Phnom Penh Restaurant | Spent Less And Get The Best Food
Top 10 Best Cambodian Food Every Tourist Should Not Miss
Samlor Korko is one of the iconic national dishes of Cambodia with hundred years of history. Tourists who like to explore Cambodian cuisines would never forget to have this soup on their list. You can find Samlor Korko in every restaurant that serves Khmer food. It is also a popular soup that Cambodian families normally cook for their meals. Hence, it is a great type of Cambodian food that will give you both the amazing taste and family tradition of Cambodian culinary. Also, it is not spicy so the soup is for everyone of all ages. The taste is a balance of sweet and salty, just the right mixture of flavor. The meat in the soup can be any type of meat.
However, the most common one is catfish together with pork belly. For people who love a healthy diet, Samlor Korko is the best for you as it includes more than a dozen types of vegetables which are very nutritious. The two main and necessary ingredients of this soup are Prohok (Cambodian fermented fish paste) and Kreung (a type of paste made by blending lemongrass with other types of natural ingredients and spices). People usually have this soup for lunch and dinner.
- Price Range: $3-$7
Samlor Machu Kreung
Samlor Machu Kreung is also a very famous and popular dish among Cambodian people. You might be able to tell by its name that Samlor Machu Kreung’s main ingredient would be Kreung. Again, Kreung is a mixture of lemongrass and other tropical spices. Another main ingredient that cannot be replaced is morning glory. The soup is made to be sour and Samlor Machu Kreung is translated as sour soup. In some restaurants, they add chilies into the soup but it can always be adjustable to your preferences. Because of its strong flavor, people normally eat it with rice rather than just eating them alone.
The only meat that can bring out the best flavor is beef, while other kinds of meat can be alternatives. For this specific soup, we cannot just use any type of beef. The beef should be from a particular body part of the cow if you want to get the best taste possible. So, Samlor Machu Kreung is a very special and unique Cambodian food that foreigners should try out. Because of its sourness, tourists might find it very interesting and flavorful. You can also have it with fish sauce if you want a stronger taste.
- Price Range: $2.5-$7
Samlor Praher would be the simplest yet very popular Cambodian food. Praher means fragrance. With a mixture of lemongrass, turmeric, and other vegetables like taro, pumpkin, and luffa, the soup smells amazingly fresh. The soup is very popular among Cambodian people, especially those who grow their own vegetables or live in the countryside. In Cambodia, people like to grow vegetables around their houses as those vegetables are very easy to grow.
So when they want to cook this Cambodian food, they only need to harvest those vegetables and cook right away. That is why the soup is very fresh and smells good as it got the smell from natural and homegrown veggies. To experience Cambodian culture and cuisine to the fullest, you must try out Samlor Praher. The taste of this soup is quite mild so some people have it with fish sauce to add more flavor to it. Just by looking at it, you know it is a very healthy and nutritious. And, we usually have it for lunch and dinner.
- Price Range: $2.5-$5
Tourists who have visited Cambodia must be very familiar with Amok. We cannot talk about Cambodian food without talking about Amok. The two main types of Amok are fish Amok and chicken Amok. It is a thick, creamy, and curry like paste. The ingredients are mixed together into a thick paste and then are put into banana leaf cups and steamed. We also usually put coconut cream on top of it to bring out the better texture and decoration.
Other neighboring countries in Southeast Asia have their dishes similar to Amok as well but what makes Amok so unique from others is “Nhor” leaf, a type of vegetable that is very healthy and nutritious. The leaf tastes mild and does not really have a specific taste but there is some bitterness to it. Regarding the taste, Amok is normally not spicy, so it is recommended to everyone who would like to try a popular Cambodian food. For this specific dish, we can have it for any meal but people usually have it for lunch and dinner.
- Price Range: $4-$7
Stewed Pork in palm sugar
There are many versions of this type of dish in Asia, especially in Southeast Asian countries. Same for Cambodia, we have our own version of this dish. Stewed Pork in palm sugar is probably the easiest food to cook if compared to other dishes on the list. It is simply pork marinated in a sauce that includes palm sugar, salt, fish sauce, black pepper, garlic, and a few other spices. Normally, we also add hard-boiled eggs and bamboo shoots to the sauce. For the selection of meat, sometimes we use pork shoulders or legs, or pork belly. It depends on personal preferences. This dish gives off the smell of palm sugar which is suitable for people who like sweet and salty dish. Stewed Pork in palm sugar is a great pair with rice during lunch and dinner.
- Price Range: $2.5-$6
When you are visiting Cambodia, one of the dishes that you should not skip is Teuk Kreung. It is a popular dish here, especially for Cambodian family’s meals. Teuk Kreung is a type of dipping sauce dish with Prahok as a main ingredient. To make this dish more enjoyable, you can have it with fresh seasonal vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage, and other local Cambodia. vegetables. Various spices combined with Prahok create a special and unique taste of fish meat. For those who want to try a fish dish with a totally new taste, Teuk Kroeung should be in your bucket list. In Cambodia, you can find Teuk Kroeung at any Khmer restaurants with an affordable price. We usually serve Teuk Kroeung with rice when we have lunch or dinner because it compromises each other very well.
- Price Range: $3-$6
Khmer Noodle (Nom Banh Chok)
This one is different from the rest in the sense that it does not involve rice. A fun fact is that the noodles are made from rice. So, Cambodian people really cannot skip a meal without rice. Also, it is not a typical dish that Cambodia families cook on a daily basis. That is because it is hard and time-consuming to make it. But it is not hard to find. You can find it everywhere in local markets and some restaurants. Khmer Noodles can be served with two different soups, red curry and Tirk Somlar Khmer (a special fish soup).
With the soup added to the noodles, you will love this Cambodian food and the experience it gives you. Besides, you can eat Khmer Noodle with another type of sauce such as mixed fish sauce with lime juice. Also, with this noodle, we enjoy it with many types of fresh vegetables such as cucumber, banana flower, bean sprouts, and many other local vegetables. Cambodian people normally have Khmer Noodles as breakfast, lunch and dinner with various types of fresh vegetables. But usually, we have it for breakfast.
- Price Range: $0.75 – $3
Khmer Salad is one of the Cambodian foods that will awake all of your taste buds in just one bite. This type of dish can be made differently depending on different areas of the country. The most common ingredients of Khmer Salad are green papaya, lotus stem, banana flower, green mango, cucumber, and mixed vegetables. What makes this salad unforgettable is a great dipping sauce of fresh lime juice mixed with fish sauce.
The taste of this salad is just very refreshing every time you put it in your mouth. We also add some types of herbs into it including mints. Khmer Salad gives off the fresh and splendid taste which will linger on the tip of your tongue. People usually have this Cambodian food for lunch and dinner. Sometimes they add beer and chicken into it. But if you are a vegetarian, this is great for you and you just need to tell them not to put meat in it.
- Price Range: $3-$5
Chicken Banana flower salad
To many Cambodian people, this one would be their favorite Khmer salad. The ingredients of the dish are sliced banana flower, carrot, cucumber, garlic, lemon, peanuts, chicken meat, and some basil. Besides, this salad is easy to find at almost every Khmer restaurant in Cambodia. The main highlight of the dish is a fresh banana flower which makes the dish very interesting especially for foreigners. Moreover, to boost the taste of the dish, banana flower salad is often served with grilled or boiled chicken meat. Chicken Banana Flower salad carries various flavors like sour, spicy, salty, and sweet. You can serve this dish for lunch and dinner or serve it as an appetizer before the main dish.
- Price Range: $4-$5
Spicy beef salad
Spicy beef salad is a big favorite salad dish in Cambodia with a delicious and refreshing taste. We can often see this dish served in most of the restaurants in Cambodia. This type of appetizer is quick and easy to make with the common Khmer ingredients that can be easily found in the market. The raw beef cooked with lime juice makes a unique taste when combined with fish sauce and palm sugar. Spicy beef salad is a great starter dish with the taste of spicy red chillies together with basil. Mostly people serves spicy beef salad in the evening since it tastes even greater with beer.
- Price Range: $5 – $10
There are many more great Cambodian foods out there that you can try out. Here are just some of the popular dishes selected and recommended for you. You can find most of them in Khmer food restaurants all around Cambodia and the price would vary from place to place. One thing to note is that it would be difficult for you to try any of these food if you are a vegetarian. Many of Cambodian foods involve meat products. So one tip for you is that you might need to dine at restaurants that take orders and freshly cook the ordered food for customers. That way, you can always inform them not to put any meat in your food. But still, unfortunately, some Cambodian foods in this list cannot be made without meat.
So here you are, a list of the 10 best Cambodian food you should not miss out. You can find all of them in many khmer food restaurants and local markets. The foods in local market is a lot cheaper. So if you are on a low budget travel, trying out these food in the local markets is an option. However, having foods in Khmer restaurants is even greater. For better experience and more authenticity, spending a little more money on the food there will be worth it.