Cambodian Food

Cambodian Food

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Cambodian cuisine includes noodles, soups, grills, stir-fried, curries, salads, desserts, lots of vegetables, tropical fruits, and of course rice which is the staple food for Cambodians. Cambodian culinary secrets are rarely written down; the recipes were instead handed down from mother to daughter. From an ancient origin has come a traditional cuisine of unsuspected treasures: a unique blend of flavors and colors that enhance the natural ingredients used.

Cambodians perfected the art of blending spice paste using many ingredients like cloves, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and turmeric. They add other native ingredients like galangal, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, cilantro, and kaffir lime leaves to these spices to make a rather distinctive and complex spice blend known as “kroeung”.

Although noodles are also popular, almost every meal includes a bowl of rice. A wide range of curries, soups and stir fried are usually served with rice. Being in a country that produces many rice varieties, tourists can enjoy the best aromatic grains and various types of glutinous rice. The latter is more commonly served with a salad or in desserts with fruits.

There are two other unique ingredients that give Cambodian cuisines their fabulous typical flavour. One is a pungent fermented fish paste known as pra-hok and the other, the kapi, a fermented prawn paste. These require an acquired taste for most but they are beloved by some who used them in many dishes or even taken as a dipping sauce. Collectively, these ingredients have become an important aromatic combination commonly used in Cambodian cuisines.

Khmer NoodleA MokKhmer Fruits

Typically, a Cambodian meal is served with rice and at least three other dishes. It usually includes a soup (samlor), served alongside the main dishes. Each of the individual dishes will either be sweet, sour, salty or bitter; these exist side by side in harmony, sometimes even within a single dish, to offer an original melody. Chili is usually left up to the individual to add. In this way tourists are subtly ensured that they get a bit of every flavour to satisfy their palates.

Morning glory (tra kuen), amongst one of the most treasured vegetables in Cambodia, with its richness in flavor and vitamins attributed to the rich soil which it is grown in. The delicious essence of the oyster sauce, truly compliments this delicious leafy and abundant vegetable. Nom Ban Chok (Cambodian noodle), is one of the favorites for locals and tourists in Cambodia. The essence of curry combines beautifully with the noodles and the texture of the vegetables: morning glory, cucumber, sprouts, and string beans and to spice it up, add a little matey (chili). The look of it is quite appealing with the decorative prolot (lotus stem), which is a beauty of nature, attractive to the eye and fulfilling to the appetite. This delicious parade of flavors come together in this delicious soup, with yes, the most popular ingredient being the base, prahok. It is a soup that is a meal in itself, consisting of leafy vegetables, such as chili leaves and the exotic various herbs of the Cambodian Kingdom.
Nhoim Troyong Cheit is a delicious and refreshing salad complimented by the tasty banana flower (troyong cheit) accompanied by tasty chopped bits of nuts, onion, lemon and carrot. This dish can be prepared with pork or chicken depending on one’s preference. Whatever it is, the Nhoim Troyong Cheit is incredibly refreshing and quite a festival in itself. Nhoim Makak, is a delicious combination of dry shrimp, fish, fish sauce, chilli pepper and garlic and the Makak fruit all in one. The festivity of flavors in this mixed salad will awaken your senses. The kiwi-sized Makak (Otaheite Apple) has a pineapple-mango like flavor and crunchy texture that makes this a better preference over using the Mango for this salad. Broher tropeang is a refreshing soup. Light, and crisp, the hearty flavor is awarded to the unique flavoring from the green leaves and bamboo shoots. Step into the wilder side by adding prahok, fresh river fish and even smoked fish with mushrooms to spice up the fragrance. For a bit more, the connoisseurs of modern day Cambodia favour a tad bit of chili flakes to give it that extra kick.
This is the specialty and delicacy soup that will awaken your palates beyond belief. The fresh water lobster being one of the most flavorful creatures in Cambodia due to the richness of water in the country, really reflects on this dish as it is complimented by lemongrass, basil leaves, lime, chili and the delicious freshness of mint. Refreshing and Warming at the same time!
Prahok Kties is a delicious staple dish of Cambodian cuisine. Prahok, which means fermented fish, is GOLD to Cambodian cuisine, and can take up different shapes of flavor, depending on the recipe. Prahok Kties is fried with pork taken from the belly sides of the hog, which accentuates the flavor, particularly with the amazing quality of pork (sakchru) that Cambodia produces. It leaves you with an amazing taste in your palates. Machu Kroung (soup), a healthy, fulfilling, flavorful sweet and sour soup that is incredibly wholesome. The fried peanuts accentuate the soup. The lemongrass (slak krai) and the saffron truly complement each other and to top it off, the decorative local grown chili flakes (matey) make this quite an appealing site to the eye. This is in fact more towards a curry than it is the soup that most foreigners thought it to be. Korko, the hearty traditional gravy is truly quite delightful; its base ingredient is actually toasted rice pounded and turned into a tasty base and complimented by prahok, pork and pumpkin, which together add a delicious warmth and texture to the palate. Korko, is one of those great fusions of traditional ingredients cooked to perfection.