• Jonathan Bastow

Cambodian Cuisine

Food in Cambodia varies ever so slightly from the surrounding countries but still embodies the essence of South East Asia cooking.

Rice is the staple food of Cambodia, often eaten during every meal. It provides the body of most meals, commonly topped with sauce or served with soup dishes. One of the more popular breakfast dishes is a rice porridge, usually eaten with fish and flavoured with ginger.

Dishes in Cambodia may equally include chicken, beef or fish and are commonly eaten in the form of curries and soups are extremely. Galangal and Lemongrass are the prominent flavours in Cambodian dishes, often paired with kaffir lime leaves and ginger for added pungency. Although some dishes are similar to the other countries in the region, chilli is almost never present in large quantities and compared to nearby Vietnam, the refreshing additions of mint and coriander are excluded. Coconut milk is used extensively, similar to Thai and Lao dishes.

The defining dish of Cambodian cuisine is the Amok curry. Firstly a paste is made by crushing lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, finger root, turmeric and dried paprika. After a small quantity of salt, sugar and stock are added, fish or chicken is then marinated in the paste and coconut milk is added before the mixture is cooked inside a banana leaf.

Another popular dish is beef lok lak. For this dish, beef is marinated in soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauce and stock with a small amount of salt, pepper and sugar. After being stir fried, it is served with rice and a small salad.

Unlike the vermicelli filled spring rolls found in Vietnam, Cambodia tend to prefer fill them with minced pork, taro, carrot and onion if deep fried and with lettuce, carrot and cucumber if they are to be consumed fresh. Again rice paper or thicker wraps are used.

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