Cambodia Culinary

Cambodian food is influenced strongly by Indian and Chinese culinary. The dishes are not particularly spicy and they are sweet and fat.
A lot of dishes are fried in palm oil and aren’t drained before serving, so food can be quite greasy. The Cambodians prefer to buy fresh ingredients from the markets rather than store them in the refrigerator. Like other South East Asia countries, rice is the staple food in Cambodia, the most common way to refer to eating in Cambodia is nyambai, literally “eat rice”.In the Khmer diet, rice and freshwater fish play big roles because of the abundance of both. Cambodia has two main sources of natural fresh water, the Mekong river and the Tonle Sap, a huge lake connected to the Mekong.
You can buy the cheapest foods from street hawkers with handcarts or baskets dangling from a shoulder pole or from vendors in the markets. They sell anything from fried noodles to ice cream. The stalls in the markets are usually available any time of a day.
Noodle shops and cheap restaurants are available in the town centers with cheap price. The noodle shops are open very early at around 5.30am, serving not only noodle soups but also dumplings and rice porridge. In cheap restaurants, a row of pots are set out on a table out front. All you need to do is to lift the lids and peer inside and choose your dishes. They will be served in separate bowls along with a plate of rice.
In Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, apart from Khmer food, there is a vast choice of international cuisine: French, pizza, Japanese and so on. For lovers of fast-food, KFC, Pizza Company and Lucky Burger are now in Siem Reap. In Sihanoukville and Battambang, the choice of restaurants is rather limited but you still can find a good restaurant.However, eating possibilities in rural areas can be quite limited and in the evenings you may be hard to find anything more than a bowl of instant noodles. Take along with you a guide book, you will have a lot of addresses and contact numbers of restaurants in Cambodia.
The Cambodian usually uses fork and spoon in their meal. The spoon is held in the right hand and the fork is used to pick up things from the plates or break up the food and to push it onto the spoon. Noodles, eaten with chopsticks and a Chinese soup spoon, are also common, but tend to be consumed more as a snack than a meal in themselves.
Although Cambodians typically do not eat with their fingers, it is acceptable to pick up pieces of meat or chicken with your right hand (the left hand is deemed unclean as it’s used to clean yourself after going to the toilet). Toothpicks are provided on every restaurant table; etiquette dictates that you should hold the toothpick in one hand and cover your mouth with the other.
Stews and curries are often available at market stalls and cheap restaurants. Cambodian stews are usually based on a light stock (with beef or fish), complemented by bitter gourd or field melon; it’s not unusual for them to contain hard-boiled eggs either. Curries, usually made with beef, are only mildly spicy and generally quite dry.
You can find smoky, charcoal-grilled chicken and fish everywhere from the street vendors to restaurants.The fish comes with a dip of grated green mango, chilli, garlic and fish sauce, while the chicken served with a salad garnish and a sweet chilli sauce.
Rice and noodles
Apart from boiled rice, porridge and noodles are the Cambodians’ favorite dishes. They are usually available at market stalls, night markets and in some restaurants, either as breakfast or an evening dish.
Pork is commonly available but beef is more difficult to obtain and much more expensive as cows are prized as work animals and not necessarily killed for food. In Western restaurants the beef is generally imported.
Chicken and duck
Chicken and duck in Cambodia often have a high bone-to-flesh ratio; except in tourist restaurants, the whole carcass is chopped up, which means you have to pick out the bones from each mouthful.
The abundance of fishes made it the main source of protein for most Cambodians. Near the Tonle Sap, freshwater fishes are plentiful.
Vegetables & fruits
Like other countries in South East Asia, Cambodia’s markets offer up a wide range of vegetables and fruits.  Colourful fruit stalls can be found everywhere in Cambodia, and the selection is enormous – stallholders will always let you try before you buy if you don’t know what you’re looking at.
In Cambodia, the tap water is not safe to drink and bottled water is available everywhere. Be careful to put ice in your drinks as they may not be hygienic except in Western restaurants.
Tea and coffee
Green tea is the favorite drink of Cambodians, which is readily available in coffee shops and from market stalls.
The Cambodians usually prefer local, medicinal rice wines which are available at stalls and shops. Imported wines can be found in restaurants, supermarkets, mini markets and in Western-oriented places.

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Enjoy Cambodia and Bon Appetit!
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