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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Famous Dishes in Cambodia – what to eat on your Cambodian trip
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Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Famous Dishes in Cambodia – what to eat on your Cambodian trip

Cambodian cuisine is not as widely known as Thai or Vietnamese, but it's packed with flavour and definitely worth trying. Here's a guide to the top dishes you don't want to miss.

1

Crab and Pepper

Although a popular dish across the country, the best place to try it is in the coastal town of Kep. A visit to the lively crab market gives you the opportunity to watch as local women wade out into the sea to collect the crabs, which are then sold to nearby eateries. The dish is made by first boiling the crabs in salted water, and then stir frying it with fresh Kampot peppercorns, aromatics, sauces and palm sugar. The freshly caught crabs are what add the special flavour to this dish, so do try eating at one of the nearby seafood restaurants located along the coast.

2

Khmer Curry

Not to be confused with spice-laden curries of India, Cambodia's curries are milder and on the sweet side. The authentic version of this curry contains strips of chicken, aromatics, spices, fish sauce, diced potatoes, and a generous lashing of coconut cream and milk. The flavourful broth is thick in consistency and smells divine. Khmer curry can be served over rice or alongside a crusty baguette to soak up the hearty broth.

3

Fish Amok

The signature dish of Cambodia, this creamy curry-styled dish can be found in most of the best restaurants in Siem Reap, such as foodie havens and hotel eateries like Chi Restaurant & Bar. Traditionally made with freshwater fish, you can also find modern versions made with chicken. The meat is chopped and marinated in coconut milk, fish sauce, eggs and palm sugar. Korenug – a traditional Khmer spice paste made from crushed lemongrass, lime, shallots and turmeric, is also added. The classic way of cooking fish amok is by wrapping the meat in a banana leaf which has been shaped like a parcel and then steaming it.

4

Cheik Chien

Eaten as a snack, cheik chien (deep-fried banana fritters) can be found at most street vendors around the country. This sweet snack is made by flattening ripe bananas, dipping them in a rich batter and then frying them in a sizzling pot of hot oil until the batter is golden and crisp. Cheik chien is a great snack when you are site seeing around the city, or even a tasty, cheap dessert.

5

Nom Banh Chok

Another favourite among locals is nom banh chok. A traditional dish made from rice noodles, it is sold in markets during the early mornings as a breakfast food. Shredded young banana leaves, cucumbers, beansprouts, basil and mint is mixed with the noodles and then topped with fresh green fish curry. Nom banh chok is commonly sold by women who walk around the markets balancing a pole on their shoulders, with baskets on either end containing all the ingredients for the noodle dish. While this is mostly a breakfast dish, you may be able to find it throughout the day, depending on where you are in Cambodia.