Best Food to Try in Cambodia - Guides for Food Lovers

13, Apr

by Naomi

Although Cambodian cuisine is not very well-known outside its borders, the fact is that the food has a really good taste as well as making a name for its fresh and healthy ingredients. The following are 8 dishes that you must try during your trip to Cambodia.

Fish Amok

Once you are in Cambodia, you should definitely give Fish Amok a try. The cooking process is a bit complicated with a variety of ingredients, including white fish, lemongrass, lime leaves, turmeric paste, palm sugar, and coconut milk, to name but a few. First, all the spices will be cooked together in order to create a mixture that flavors the dish. Then, the fish is cut into pieces and marinated before being put into a steamer. The end product will be served in banana leaves, which in the past were used in the steamer.

No words can describe the amazing taste of Fish Amok, which will melt in your mouth right after your first bite, and you will immediately feel a wealth of flavors. This dish is among the most popular in Cambodia, so you can find good fish amok in many restaurants across the country.


Fish Amok, which will melt in your mouth right after your first bite


You will not be considered to have set foot on Cambodia’s land unless you try this specialty, which is famous for its unique taste and smell. To make this dish, fresh river fish must be prepared. People remove the unnecessary parts of the fish and do all the cleaning before putting the fish into a chopping and blending machine in order to crush it into a paste. After that, the paste will be left outside under the sun for a day, then put into a jar with lots of salt. This will be ready to serve in about 3 weeks.

Prahok, probably added with lime juice and peanuts is often served as a condiment in many dishes in Cambodia. You will never forget its strange, salty, and spicy taste which can make your eyes water. We highly recommend Prahok for anyone who travels to Cambodia, especially those bringing along a spirit of adventure.


Prahok is a specialty in Cambodia

The best Prahok can be found at Sovana Restaurant in Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh. This dish used to be a source of protein for many poverty-stricken Cambodian families in the past; therefore, the price is really reasonable.

Kampot Pepper Crab

Have not tried it, but you can feel your mouth watering when you see Kampot Pepper Crab. The red color of steamed fresh crabs blending with the green color of peppers creates a harmonious combination. The harmony not only lies in its look but is also shown in its tastes, which include the aromatic flavor of seafood, the spicy pepper, and the pleasant smell of both. As you try the crab, you can feel the soft texture melting in your mouth.

This dish is often eaten with rice and green vegetables. You will find yourself consuming more than ever with this tasty specialty.

Kampot Pepper Crab is more easily found in restaurants in the coastal areas; however, you can also enjoy this dish in big cities like Siem Reap or Phnom Penh on your Cambodia tour.

A must-try dishes in your Asia Private Travels in Cambodia

Khmer Curry

Just one word to talk about Khmer Curry: wonderful. Unlike curry in other countries like Japan or India, Khmer Curry is typical of Cambodian cuisine with a range of local condiments, including coconut milk, turmeric, lemon grass, garlic, onion, chili, kaffir leaves, and galangal root. All these ingredients are used for making the curry paste, from which you can imagine how flavorful the dish would be. Chicken chopped with bones is the main part of the curry, accompanied by carrots, potatoes, and green beans.

Again, Khmer Curry is an iconic food in Cambodia, so don’t miss a chance to try it. You can find this dish in almost every part of the country at a reasonable price.


Khmer Curry is typical of Cambodian cuisine with a range of local condiments

Khmer Noodles

Just like Pho in Vietnam, Khmer Noodles are a popular choice for breakfast in Cambodia. Just imagine that on a cold winter morning, you wake up and fill up your stomach with a hot bowl of Khmer noodles – how enjoyable it would be! This dish contains a wide range of ingredients, including rice noodles and chicken and pork broth as the main parts. The dish is often served with bean sprouts, ground pork, shrimp, and some herbs on top. Although Khmer Noodles have already had a wonderful taste, you can still add some lime juice when eating to increase the flavor of the dish.

Although Khmer Noodles are popular for breakfast, you can find this dish served all day long in many restaurants in Cambodia at a really good price.


Khmer Noodles are a popular choice for breakfast in Cambodia

Fruit Salads

After enjoying your main meal with Khmer Noodles or Kampot Pepper Crab, it is a good time to try one of the most popular desserts in Cambodia: fruit salad. This dish is made from different kinds of fresh tropical fruit, such as bananas, dragon fruit, apples, mango, passion fruit, strawberries, and grapes, to name but a few. Believe me, the colors and pleasant smells of the fruits will seduce you even before you know what they taste like. The fruit salad also satisfies your appetite for something sweet in the healthiest way.

The price of fruit salad varies from 2 to 5 dollars per person, depending on the place where you enjoy it.

Mango Salad - a very famous fruit salad in Cambodia


The first time hearing about eating bugs may give you goosebumps, but I’m sure your point of view will reverse after your first bite of these crunchy critters. As one of the must-dos in Cambodia, eating bugs is interesting for more than one reason! Eating bugs began in Cambodia during the harsh time of the murderous Khmer Rouge when a severe lack of food was occurring. Although the country has developed greatly, the practice of eating bugs remains. As you try this dish, you can feel the crunchy textures and enjoy a wealth of flavors.

You can find this unique dish in restaurants as well as on street market vendors with really good prices.


One of the must-do dishes in Cambodia

Red Tree Ants with Beef

If you have a spirit of adventure and want something new for your trip to Cambodia, you must not miss the chance to try Red tree ants with beef. This dish is a combination of stir-fried red tree ants and beef, together with other local condiments such as ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and shallots. As you enjoy this delicacy, you can feel a wealth of textures and flavors, including the spicy chili, the sour taste of ants, and the pleasant smell of shallots.

The ants vary greatly in size, some nearly invisible while others can reach the length of an inch. They are stir-fried to create the crunchy texture of the dish. You can enjoy the red tree ants and thinly sliced beef with rice, and if you are lucky enough, you will find some ant larvae in your serving.


This dish is a combination of stir-fried red tree ants and beef

Above are some recommendations that we hope will be useful for your trip. We do wish you a good time in Cambodia and bring home the best experience of the food in this country. If you need any further information, contact us for more useful Cambodia travel guides and experts' advice. Asia Private Travels is always ready to customize your unique trip to Cambodia and Asia!