Cuisine in Cambodia
1. Cuisine in the Northwestern Cambodia:
Cuisine in the northwestern Cambodia is influenced by the neighboring countries of Thailand and Laos, as well as the ethnic minorities living in the region. Some of the dishes that are popular in this area include:
- Somlar machu kreung: A sour soup made with lemongrass paste, tamarind, fish, vegetables and herbs. It is often served with rice or rice noodles.
- Lap khmer: A salad of thinly sliced beef marinated in lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, chilli and herbs. It is similar to the Thai dish larb, but less spicy.
- Bai sach chrouk: A breakfast dish of grilled pork marinated in coconut milk, garlic and soy sauce, served with rice and pickled vegetables.
- Nom banh chok: A rice noodle dish topped with green fish curry, shredded banana leaves, beansprouts, cucumber, mint and basil. It is a common street food and can be eaten at any time of the day.
- Kuy teav: A noodle soup made from pork or beef bones and rice vermicelli. The broth is flavored with fried shallots, green onion, garlic and bean sprouts. Pork or beef balls are then added just before serving.
These dishes reflect the diversity and richness of Cambodian cuisine, which uses fresh ingredients, aromatic herbs and spices to create flavorful and satisfying meals.
2. Cuisine in the Eastern Cambodia:
The cuisine in the eastern Cambodia is influenced by the abundance of freshwater fish and rice, as well as the spices and herbs introduced by India and China. The most famous dish from this region is amok trey, a coconut fish curry steamed in banana leaves with a spice paste called kroeung. Another popular dish is kuy teav, a noodle soup with pork or beef balls, fried shallots, green onion, garlic and bean sprouts. The eastern Cambodian cuisine also features some exotic ingredients such as frogs, tarantulas, scorpions and snakes, which are considered delicacies by some locals. The cuisine is usually accompanied by rice or rice vermicelli, and sometimes by French-style baguettes or buns. For dessert, fresh fruits and sticky rice are often served.
3. Cuisine in the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains of Cambodia:
The cuisine of the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains in Cambodia is rich and diverse, reflecting the natural resources and cultural influences of the region. The mountains are home to many ethnic minorities, such as the Chong, Pear, Por, and Suoy, who have their own traditions and recipes. The cuisine is also influenced by the neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam, as well as the French colonial legacy.
Some of the typical ingredients used in the mountain cuisine are cardamom, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind. The cuisine is known for its balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. Some of the dishes that are popular in the region are:
- Amok: A curry dish made with fish or chicken, coconut milk, eggs, and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
- Somlar machu kreung: A sour soup with meat or fish, vegetables, herbs, and kreung (a spice paste made with lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, garlic, shallots, and kaffir lime zest).
- Bai cha: A fried rice dish with pork or chicken, eggs, vegetables, soy sauce, and garlic.
- Lok lak: A stir-fried dish with beef or chicken marinated in soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and pepper, served with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a dipping sauce made with lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Banh chiao: A thin rice flour pancake filled with pork or shrimp, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and herbs, served with a sweet and sour sauce made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chili.
4. Cuisine in the Mekong Lowlands of Cambodia:
The cuisine of the Mekong Lowlands of Cambodia is influenced by the rich biodiversity and natural resources of the region. The Mekong River and its tributaries provide abundant freshwater fish and aquatic plants, which are staples of the local diet. Rice is also grown along the fertile floodplains and delta of the river, making it the main source of carbohydrates. The cuisine is characterized by the use of herbs, spices, coconut milk, palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and fermented fish paste (prahok) to create dishes that are flavorful, sour, sweet and salty. Some of the typical dishes of the Mekong Lowlands cuisine include amok (fish or chicken cooked in coconut milk and curry paste), samlor machu (sour soup with fish, tamarind, pineapple and vegetables), kroeung (a paste made from lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves and other ingredients), nom banh chok (rice noodles with fish curry and fresh herbs) and trey chhnang plae (grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves).