Phnom Penh may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of great food, but that’s only because you haven’t tried these dishes yet. From street food to fine dining, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. So if you’re a foodie looking for your next culinary adventure, look no further than Phnom Penh. Here are 10 Cambodian dishes you need to try:
1. Fish Amok
This Cambodia dish is a Curried fish mousse steamed and served in banana leaves with coconut milk, kaffir lime, and lemongrass. It’s hearty and fragrant, and sure to please any fish lover.
2. Bai Sach Chrouk
You can’t go to Cambodia without trying Bai sach chrouk, which is grilled pork marinated in garlic, sugar, and pepper served with rice and a side of pickled vegetables. It’s a breakfast staple that will give you all the energy you need to explore the city.
3. Khmer Red Curry
This dish is a bit lighter than your typical Thai red curry as it uses less coconut milk, but don’t let that fool you—it’s still packed with flavor. The perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy, Khmer red curry is made with chicken or beef, bamboo shoots, eggplant, and potatoes simmered in a red curry paste made from chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime zest, shallots, garlic and shrimp paste.
4. Cambodian Beef Lok Lak
Cambodian beef lok lak is cubes of beef tenderloin stir-fried with onions and bell peppers and then smothered in a savory sauce made from oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. It’s usually served over rice or crispy baguette slices and sometimes topped with a fried egg.
5. Chicken Coconut Soup (Samlor Kako)
This chicken soup is flavored with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, red chili pepper, galangal, and fresh ginger then simmered in coconut milk until the chicken is cooked through. It’s garnished with cilantro and green onions and typically served with rice on the side.
6. Noodle Soup (Kuy Teav)
This soup is traditionally made with pork broth but can also be made with beef or chicken broth. It’s loaded with rice noodles, green onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, fried garlic, lime wedges, chili peppers, and meats like pork belly or shrimp .
7. Freshwater Prawn Salad (Kdam Chaa)
As its name suggests, this salad is made with freshwater prawns that are boiled and then tossed with a Lemongrass-infused dressing made from fish sauce, sugar, shallots, garlic, chilies, and fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, and basil. It’s usually garnished with peanuts, cucumbers, and bean sprouts and served over Romaine lettuce leaves .
8. Green Mango Salad (Tum Majun)
Made by tossing green mangoes (which are unripe mangoes), this refreshing salad also contains toasted peanuts, dried shrimp, chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, shallots, garlic, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and mint. It’s light yet flavorful and makes for a perfect starter or side dish .
9. Banana Blossom Salad (Bais Tum)
As its name suggests -this salad contains banana blossoms -which are the unopened flower buds of the banana tree. They’re peeled and then -sliced thin before being mixed with a chili-lime dressing made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic, lime juice, chilies, bean sprouts, cucumber, bell peppers, cilantro, mint, basil, and green onions. It’s light yet filling and makes for a delicious side dish.
10. Stuffed Fried Won Tons(Cha Gio Tom)
These are fried wontons filled with ground pork, shrimp, onions, glass noodles, mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, egg, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, pepper, cilantro then served with lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, chili dipping sauce, and nuoc cham. They make for the perfect appetizer or snack in a street food or sit-down restaurant setting.
So there you have it—10 Cambodian dishes you need to try on your next trip to Phnom Penh! Trust me when I say that these dishes will not disappoint—from street food to fine dining, there’s something for everyone here. So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets today!