Traveling in Southeast Asia can be very adventurous and exciting! One of the main things you need to check out is definitely the food in Cambodia. Have you ever wondered what to eat in Cambodia? Read on and you will find 8 traditional Cambodian food dishes you MUST try. Khmer street food is a cross between Burmese and Thai. It’s not as dull as Burmese food and not as spicy as Thai. A nice mix in between which you can not miss out on!
*Note- if you eat food off the streets make sure that its freshly cooked to avoid getting sick.
Without doubt the most interesting food in Cambodia; the top 8 traditional Cambodian food dishes you can find.
1. EAT INSECTS
Probably one of the most popular Cambodian street food dishes are the insects. There is an array of insects available in Cambodia: platters of fried tarantulas, ants or crickets, it’s your choice. People love to eat fried insects while drinking beer, as a healthy and exotic replacement for popcorn or peanuts.
According to this CNN (and UN) report, insects may be a solution to some of the world’s health and food problems. Insects are nutritive, eco-friendly and abundant. Many countries already consider them a staple part of their diets, and so does Cambodia.
2. EAT FERTILIZED DUCK EGG
The original name is Balut and it’s a very common dish in South East Asia and probably the weirdest at the same time. You can find it in the street markets. It will look like the locals are selling boiled eggs, but in fact they are actually raw eggs, complete with the baby bird’s beak and bones. In other words, it’s a fertilised dug or chicken egg with an almost developed embryo.
The embryo tastes similar like chicken. Once you get past the idea that you’re eating a fertilised duck embryo, you’ll find it’s quite delicious. Add some salt or vinegar, to taste. The embryo is the last part to eat in a balut.
3. EAT FRUITS
If you are not sure what to eat in Cambodia, a little bit more ‘normal’ food in Cambodia would be fruits. You are always safe with some fruits. Try a fried, grilled, or fresh banana, coconut, durian fruit (funny odour), jackfruit, lychee, pineapple and rambutan fruit. All great choices.
Once you have smelled the durian fruit you will probably never forget about it. Either you love it or you hate it. In some spots in Asia it’s even forbidden to eat the durian fruit due to it’s unique smell.
4. EAT NOODLE SOUP FOR BREAKFAST
While traveling in Southeast Asia, you’ll have a ton of noodle soups. What to eat in Cambodia for breakfast?
How about Kuy Teav? It’s a little bit more ‘normal’ Cambodian street food. The soup is a pork broth, yellow egg or thin rice noodles or thin rice noodles, slices of meat, scallions and fried garlic and lime. Kuy Teav has originated with the ethnic Chinese groups that settled in Southeast Asian countries.
5. HAVE A DRINK
Try some fresh coconut juice, green tea, rice wine, or iced coffee.
The Cambodian (Khmer) iced coffee is dark, strong, sweetened with condensed milk and served over ice. It tastes like chocolate, the ladies will LOVE it!
6. EAT AMOK
Amok, also known as”Ho Mok” can be made with meat, but is usually steamed fish with Khmer curry wrapped in a banana leaf. The dish is either steamed or baked in a cup made out of banana leaves.
Coconut cream and galangal are the most common ingredients in the thick soup amongst a wide range of leaves, vegetables and egg. Amok can also be eaten with rice.
7. EAT CRAB
The crab in Cambodia is the freshest crab you will ever get to eat. Make sure to pick a restaurant by the coast. To clarify, by ‘fresh’ I mean once you have ordered your crab, you can see the staff going into the ocean to fish out your meal.
If you get the chance, go to Kampot. They do crab with yummy peppercorn seasoning. Also, make sure you don’t miss out on the Kep Crab Market.
8. EAT LOC LAC
Loc Lac is probably the most normal dish on this list of traditional Cambodian food.
Loc Lac is a stir-fried beef served with rice. The sauce is a mix of oyster and soy sauce mingled with chopped garlic making it a delicious dish.
Loc Lac comes to Cambodia via Vietnam and was brought to the country with the French colonisers rather than with the Vietnamese.
You can learn how to make your own Loc Lac here.
Some of the suggestions above may be a little out of most people’s comfort zone. And that is understandable. However, when you travel to Southeast Asia, you are out of your comfort zone, and you should feel that way. When you are there do not miss out on the great food in Cambodia (as weird or odd as they might seem). If you are traveling in Cambodia and are wandering ‘what should I eat?’, try something new. The food is fresh, vegetarian friendly, and delicious.
Check out more about where to go in Cambodia and different Cambodia tours here.
Would you like to volunteer in Cambodia? We are always looking for English teachers! No degree needed! Check out more about volunteering in Cambodia here.