7 Cambodian food locals tell you to try

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Foreign tourists would always think of Cambodia as “the country of pagodas” while discussing Middle Eastern countries. It’s essential to acquaint yourself with Cambodian culture, particularly its cuisine, whether you intend to travel to this part of the Indochina peninsula. Save time since we’ll provide you with the top 7 delicious Cambodian food locals recommend to tourists.

Featuring its unique blend of sweet, sour, and salty flavors from typical spices like galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, Cambodian cuisine evokes memories for many tourists of a dining experience immersed in cultural richness and history.

Rice and fish belong to traditional splendor that has been preserved for generations and will be the primary elements in dishes from Cambodia. The Mekong River system flows through here, which explains the many local dishes made from fish ingredients that foreigners should try. Let’s delve into several foods below:

1. Fish Amok (Amok Trey)

Not only a traditional dish but also a typical Cambodian food, visitors can find and taste Fish Amok anywhere in this country: restaurants, popular eateries, and street food stalls.

The main ingredient is definitely fish (mainly freshwater fish), after being cleaned of bones, it is mixed with spices such as coconut milk, eggs, fish sauce, palm sugar, and chili. A unique flavor in this dish is Kroeung sauce. The formula of this special mixture is turmeric, lemon, purple onion, and many typical spices. Tourists will be served this dish after being steamed in wrapped banana leaves, helping to retain the delicious flavor of the fish, spices, and the faint scent of the leaves.

Fish Amok served with rice (Source: iVivu)

2. Nom Bank Chok

One of the most typical dishes in Cambodian cuisine that cannot be missed is Nom Bank Chok. The main ingredient used is still freshwater fish, you will be served with fresh vermicelli and curry broth. The spice that creates this Cambodian food’s rich and not fishy flavor is bank chok fish sauce. When locals serve this dish to foreign tourists, mix it well so that all the essence from the curry broth is absorbed into the chewy noodles and herbs, combined with crispy lotus roots and a little kick from chilies. Then comes the immersion of multiple layers of taste in one bowl.

Flavourful Nom Bank Chok (Source: 2Đẹp)

3. Lok Lak

A traditional dish that Cambodians want to introduce when you visit this pagoda country is Lok Lak. This meal of stir-fried beef may be more appealing to the appetites of most foreigners due to its Western-like flavor. Simply pan-fried cube-shaped beef with veggies like cucumber, lettuce, tomato, onion and oyster sauce. A touch of typical regional spices is the rich lemon pepper sauce containing black Kampot pepper. As soon as you try the fist bite, the unique spicy taste will bring out the alluring aroma of this Lok Lak beef dish. This dish will be served with rice or fries depending on the restaurant.

A dish that makes your mouth water – Lok Lak (Source: Food and wine)

4. Khmer Red Curry (Samlor Kako)

This is a traditional Cambodian curry dish with main ingredients including beef, fish or chicken, along with vegetables and the indispensable flavor of Khmer red curry paste. To entice taste buds and draw in diners, this Cambodian food also includes kroeung and coconut milk in addition to the main ingredients described above. While the food isn’t as spicy as Thai curry, spice lovers will still enjoy its explosive and rich flavor. Usually, locals always eat Khmer Red Curry during their special holidays, which can be followed by weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays. This dish will be served with hot rice or bread. Thus, be sure to try this mouthwatering delicacy when you visit Cambodia.

Khmer Red Curry with a vivid appearance and unforgettable flavor (Source: The Better Cambodia)

5. Bai Sach Chrouk

When it comes to typical breakfast meals in other countries such as Pho or banh mi in Vietnam, croissant in France or Sinangag in the Philippines, Bai Sach Chrouk is a simple but still delicious and nutritious Cambodian dish. The star of this Cambodian dish is the piece of pork that is richly marinated with coconut milk or garlic, then grilled over charcoal to create a seductive aroma. Eaten with this soft and sweet meat will be hot, fragrant rice. Picked veggies such as radishes and cucumbers will be served with the dish. At the same time, a bowl of soup made from hot chicken broth is indispensable, which will be a complete breakfast combo to help you get enough energy for your trips to explore Cambodia.

The irresistible charm of Bai Sach Chrouk (Source: iViVu)

6. Num Pang

Num Pang, a famous street food in Cambodia, is a blend of French cuisine and local street style that you may encounter frequently when visiting the country. The harmony of a range of ingredients in this food gives it exceptional flavor from the very first mouthful, despite its initial simplicity when served by small stalls. The seller will have to meticulously prepare the ingredients from sauce, pickled papaya, grilled meat, butter, pate, and chili sauce and when you start ordering, they start placing each item on a hot, crispy, fragrant bread. Indulge in this classic baguette as soon as you land in Cambodia!

The bread loaf is filled with plenty of salivating tastes. (Source: Luhanhvietnam)

7. Prahok Ktis

Prahok Ktis, a fermented fish paste, is one of the oldest traditional foods in Cambodia that people would want to share with tourists from other countries. The locals have been eating this meal for many years, and even older people in Cambodia have word of mouth saying, “No good prahok, no good friends”.  Maybe you’re aware enough about it to know that it is part of Cambodian life. The main ingredients are fermented fish and cooked with coconut milk, palm sugar, and minced pork. Prahok is enhanced with a small amount of reduced spice to make a well-balanced recipe. This deep taste will no doubt satisfy a lot of picky eaters as well. Because it is a salty paste, you can use it as a dipping dish to eat with fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, and cabbage, as well as hot rice and boiled vegetables. Cambodians also often use Prahok as a spice to season daily dishes such as soup, vegetables, and meat.

Prahok’s irresistible rich flavor (Source: spiceography)


Wrapping up, you have come across the list of 7 unique Cambodian food that locals suggest when experiencing cuisine here. Follow our trip tour guide to discover more not only about food but also other unique cultural features when coming to Cambodia.

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884

Email: diep.van@ftripvietnam.com

Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit Luminousvietnamtour to explore tour!

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