Khmer Cuisine: a Cambodian food trip

20130409-223034.jpg20130409-223205.jpg“Stop the car!!!” This was the second time I asked our guide/driver Mr. Samithy to make a sudden halt. The other instance was when I ran out the vehicle to photograph an elephant crossing the street. We were on our way to Beng Mealea, an enchanting temple ruin about an hour and a half drive away from town to the rural area of Siem Reap.

20130409-223231.jpgOur guide must think I’m hyper or crazy, but I was intrigued to find out what was cooking inside the bamboo poles being sold along the roadside stalls. The bamboo delicacy turned out to be kralan.  It is sticky rice cake made with beans, palm sugar, grated coconut and coconut milk. First steamed and then roasted over charcoal. Cost is three pieces for one dollar.20130409-223220.jpg

In the countryside you may also encounter exotic delicacies such as fried spiders, grasshoppers, silkworms and crickets.20130409-223226.jpg

For lunch we asked Mr. Sam to take us to a restaurant where only the locals dine. He took us to Lyly’s along Sivutha road in town. Away from the tourist traps of Pub Street, the sumptuous Kuy Teav noodle soup (Cambodian version of Pho) was USD$ 1.50 only. We also ordered a very refreshing glass of iced coffee. Cambodia’s drip coffee with condensed milk is pronounced as gah-fay dteuk-gork.  For dessert there was sweet sticky rice with bananas chunks wrapped in banana leaves called Ansom chek.

20130409-222840.jpgCambodian food is also known as Khmer cuisine. The country is situated between Vietnam and Thailand, the two neighboring nations have very strong influence on its food.  There is also the fusion of French cuisine as Cambodia was once a part of Indochina.   National dishes like Amok and other coconut based dishes are not spicy. Like most Asian nations rice is staple. 20130401-221244.jpg

The most common ingredients used :  lemon grass, finger root, shallots, palm sugar, coconut milk, fresh green peppercorns, shrimp sauce, prahok (fermented shrimp paste), calamansi, ginger and turmeric. 20130403-235334.jpg

We joined a cooking class at Tiger Paper restaurant for a better understanding of their  food.  Our teacher Savon first took us to the market to buy our ingredients; we prepared the dishes, and later had them for dinner. It was a lot of fun plus we made new friends!

Amok chicken – Chicken and mushrooms simmered in coconut milk with kroeung   (make into a paste:  lemon grass, turmeric, finger root, shallots, garlic )

20130401-221559.jpg

20130401-222656.jpgNaem – Khmer’s version of the fresh Vietnamese spring rolls wrapped in rice paper

Loklak –  thinly sliced stir fried beef

Chruok svay – julienne green mango salad

Sankya Lapov – pumpkin and coconut flan20130409-223749.jpg

Sticky rice with mango, jackfruit or durian cooked in coconut milk.20130401-221613.jpg

For recipes and more on the Khemer cooking classes: http://angkor-cooking-class-cambodia.com/html/index.php

Cambodian guide:  Mr. Chhom Samithy/ His email chhomsamithy@yahoo.com , +855 12893181

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About Pam

Teacher, cook, foodie, wanderlust
This entry was posted in Cambodia, Food, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Khmer Cuisine: a Cambodian food trip

  1. lyntipoot says:

    You are loving my dream of culinary experiment and discoveries, I envy you…. So inspired…

  2. We ate at a restaurant called Amok while in Siem Reap and had a sampler of national dishes. I can taste the food now. I must check out your link to the cooking class’s recipes. thanks.

  3. Red Segundo says:

    Hi. Do you know any restaurant in Manila that offers Cambodian dishes? Thanks

    • Pam says:

      None really but I ate in Zao Pho at Shangri la Mall last night. Cambodian food is very much like Vietnamese food with a bit of Thai influence.

      • Red Segundo says:

        Thanks Pam. I think this will help. Last year, we tried Thai foods but its a bit far from the taste of Cambodian foods. We’ll try to visit Zao Pho. Hope that it’s not expensive. Hehehe.

        I missed eating Amok and Loklak and spiders. Hehehe.

      • Pam says:

        Thanks Red ! If you find a Cambodian restaurant here let me know;)

      • Red Segundo says:

        Sure thing Pam. Why don’t we start a restaurant with a full-Khmer dishes? Hehehe :p

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