Cambodia is one of the most prominent South-East Asian countries, especially in tourism. The food, culture and traditions of Cambodia attract a lot of tourists all over the world. The place offers one of the most economical yet beautiful trips you can take in a lifetime. Be it the exotic temples or tasty Cambodian street food, there is something for everyone in beautiful cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Read on to know more about the top 10 popular Cambodian street food delicacies you must enjoy on your trip to Cambodia. So, which of these will you be feasting on first?
1. Lort Cha
Made of fat rice noodles, this dish will remind you a bit of Indian fried chow mein. Fried with different vegetables (mainly spring onions, chives, beans), this dish then takes an unexpected turn and is mixed with beef, finally topped off with an egg. You can have it with spicy red chili chutney. This is the perfect lunch or dinner to have while roaming around the streets of Cambodia. You will find many Lort Cha vendors with their big frying pans and collection of ingredients ready to whip you a tasty plate of noodles.
Where to try: Kandal, Phnom Penh
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2. Bai Sach Chrouk
Eating street food in Cambodia is quite popular among the locals which is why this rice and pork dish is how most natives prefer to start their day. You will see women selling the dish at small barbeque stalls, with pork strips being grilled at small mesh-like structures. The rice served here is fresh, soft and smells divine. To be truthful, a meal here is better than dining at some of the restaurants. The plate of rice is topped with pork and spring onion and a sprinkle of oil (fried with garlic and onions). Top the whole dish off with egg and sides of pickled veggies and broth, and the day is made!
Where to try: Pork and Rice Man, Phnom Penh
Balut or duck foetal egg is one of the most exotic delicacies of Cambodian food. The dish is a fertilized embryo (straight out of the eggshell), which the locals gorge upon. Yes, you might find the act of squishing the little thing and mixing it with rice a little squeamish, but if you are someone who loves different food and wants to enjoy the local culture, Balut is a must try for sure. It is usually eaten with generous amounts of salt and pepper along with a sprinkle of lime juice – making it taste quite tangy and tasty.
Where to try: Pub Street, Siem Reap
4. Grilled Skewers
One of the least messy and most filling foods out there – any Cambodian bbq festival is incomplete without these tasty skewers. Mostly, the skewers with meat or seafood are the popular street food in Cambodia. Be ready for anything from chicken hearts to prawns, pork or quails and of course full pineapples which are quite a treat. Such meals are quite proteinous and healthy and most night markets in Cambodia will be full of stalls selling grilled skewers.
Where to try: Central Market, Phnom Penh
5. Kuy Teav
A noodle soup is something that originated in South East Asia and Cambodia is one of the best places to have the dish. Here, the soup is usually made with local greens along with rice vermicelli, scallions, and pork or chicken bones. For the adventurous, you can choose to add livers, intestines, tongue or even blood to the soup (as per your liking). The soup is quite filling, which is why you will find hordes of people lining up against the stalls in the night to have it.
Where to try: Central Market, Phnom Penh
6. Coconut Ice Cream
Think chocolate, coconut and strawberries. The ice cream served in Cambodia will remind you of the famous Thai dessert, however, the taste and plating are quite distinctly different. Truth be told, Cambodian street food recipes are quite interesting, and this is another example of that. Here the ice cream is served with the baguette (making it an ice cream sandwich) or chocolate wafers along a drizzle of peanuts atop. You can go for sweet, condensed coconut milk as an add-on or simply get the husky coconut water (on the side) that works brilliantly in the warm, humid Cambodian weather. Yum!
Where to try: Mr. O Coconut Ice Cream, Phnom Penh
One of the lightest things on this list – Kralan is basically sticky rice filled inside a bamboo. Made of sticky rice along with black beans, the dish acquires its distinct flavor with the grated coconut and coconut milk that is added to the mix. After filling the ingredients inside a bamboo stick, it is put on a charcoal fire to roast. The smoky flavor takes the taste to another level and the distinct sweet, light but roasted taste is the right kind of treat during your evening strolls.
Where to try: Battambang
8. Chet Chien (Deep Fried Bananas)
Cambodia has the most interesting answer to delicious street food dishes – deep fried bananas. A popular Cambodian street food in Siem Reap, this dish is made of ripe bananas which are first flattened and then covered with a sweet batter. The batter also has sesame seeds, which lend the dish a certain roasted flavor. The bananas are then deep fried in hot, sizzling oil, and hogged down by tourists and locals alike. You will find many cart vendors selling different versions of the same dish in the capital city of Phnom Penh as well.
Where to try: Psar Leu, Siem Reap
9. Noodles with Iced Coffee
Hands down, this combination is the best Cambodian street food. The coffee making process in the country is a bit different, where beans are dried out in the sun and then roasted. It lends a distinct aroma to the coffee, which you can find on a number of local carts easily.
Noodles are the staple diet here which is why fried noodles can be grabbed on a number of carts in every nook and corner of the country. Your choices of vegetables, beef and/or tofu can be added, which makes them the perfect thing to eat with your iced coffee!
Where to try: Daughters of Cambodia, Phnom Penh
10. Pickled Fruits
Cheap street food in Cambodia does not mean a compromise on taste, quality, or health. Think mango, apple, guava, papaya or pineapple – a number of fruits can be found in the munchie bag of pickled fruits. The dish is served with a side sauce of salt, sugar, chili and yes, fish sauce! This sure is one healthy and economical way to keep up with your minerals and nutrients while on a visit to Cambodia.
Where to try: BKK Market, Phnom Penh
Cambodian street food prices will never burn a hole in your pocket – you will find almost all the above-mentioned dishes in the range of INR 50-100. Already planning a trip to Cambodia? We know you are!
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