Vietnam Time

10/9/2018 9:48:41 AM

5 best Cambodian dishes you should try

Cambodia’s cuisine takes in a range of mouth-watering dishes, with a variety of herbs and vegetables. With no shortage of places to eat local across Cambodia, here are a few dishes to satisfy food lovers.

Fried Fish on the Fire Lake

Fried Fish on the Fire Lake is traditionally made for parties or eaten at restaurants in a special, fish-shaped dish.

A whole fish is deep-fried and then finished on a hotplate at the table in a coconut curry made from yellow kroeung and chilies.

Camboidia - Trei bung kanh chhet (Fried fish on the fire lake)

Photo: travelmekong.com

Vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage are cooked in the curry, and served with rice or rice noodles. The literal translation of this dish is trei bung kanh chhet, fish from the lake of kanh chhet, a green Cambodian  water vegetable served with this dish.

Bai sach chrouk: Pork and rice

Bai sach chrouk, pork and rice

No two bai sach chrouks are ever alike

Served early mornings on street corners all over Cambodia, bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes the country has to offer.

Thinly sliced pork is slow grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork will be marinated in coconut milk or garlic -- no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, with a helping of freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger.

On the side, you'll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.

Fish amok

Fish amok

Fish whipped into a mousse. Tastes far better than it sounds. 

Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you'll find similar meals in neighboring countries.

The addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor, separates the Cambodian version from the pack.

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.

At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Nom banh chok: Khmer noodles

Nom banh chok 'Khmer Noodles'

Enjoy, just don't call it pho.Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."

Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you'll find it sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.

Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that's usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Cha houy teuk -- jelly dessert

 Cha houy teuk, jelly dessert

Hot sticky summers call for sweet sticky snacks

After school in Phnom Penh, young people crowd around street stands serving Khmer desserts for 1,000 riel, about US$0.25.

Some have sticky rice or sago drenched in coconut milk and topped with taro, red beans, pumpkin and jackfruit.

One of the most refreshing is cha houy teuk, a sweet jelly dessert made with agar agar, a gelatin that is derived from seaweed.

The jelly can be brightly colored in pinks and greens, making it especially popular with children.

Combined with sago, bleached mung beans and coconut cream, cha houy teuk is usually served in a bowl with a scoop of shaved ice.

Fresh coconut milk isn't used in every day Khmer cooking. Instead it's saved for dishes served at special occasions./.

  ( VNF )
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