Cambodian Food

Culinary Overview

Cambodia’s turbulent history is etched into her beautiful and varied cuisine. You will find influences from neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam as well as a reminder of the 100 odd years the French ruled here in everyday meals throughout the country. One of the things I love is that you quite often have the subtle spiciness with hints of coconut that is synonymous with Thai cuisine while having the freshness that you will find in Vietnamese cuisine.

As with most Asian cuisines Cambodian food is all about the balance of flavours - you must have the following: spicy, salty, sour and sweet. One thing I have noticed is that Cambodian’s put much more of an emphasis on the ‘sweet’ than most other Asian cuisines.

One of the best things about Cambodia is that life still happens out on street - it is quite common to see families cooking their meals out on the street in front of their house and any party will always happen on the road in front of their house.

My neighbours frying up some chicken for lunch out on the street

Typical Cambodian Breakfast

A typical breakfast, as is the case with every Cambodian meal, will have either rice or rice noodles, a small amount of meat, a small about of vegetables and herbs. Kuyteav would be the breakfast of choice and is a rice porridge similar to a congee and will most likely have freshwater fish as the chosen meat. Other favourite is simple grilled pork on boiled rice. spices and pickled vegetables are then added to taste.

My favourite breakfast is this rice noodle soup served up at any local market.

Typical Cambodian Lunch

My favourite Cambodian lunch is a dish known as Ban Hoi and is a rice noodle salad. It has herbs, lettuce and shopped up cucumber topped with rice noodles, pork mince, chopped up spring rolls and dressed with coconut cream, peanuts, crumbs of dried shrimp and a sweet dipping sauce. It is also quite common for Cambodians to sit down in the markets to a plate of snails, cockles, small portions of meat on a stick served on rice or stir fried noodles.

Typical Cambodian Dinner

Dinner is most often rice topped with meat (grilled pork, fried fish, bbq chicken) served with pickled vegetables. Sweets are rarely served after a meal and are more of a mid morning or afternoon snack. It is not uncommon for Cambodian desserts to contain kidney beans, pumpkin and mung beans all with a generous drenching in coconut milk or sweet condensed milk!

Cambodian Street Food

Cambodia has a great street food scene! You will see street vendors selling everything from stir fried noodles, rice porridge, fruits, ice cream (my favourite is ice cream served in a sweet hot dog bun!), eggs, roasted sweet potato, crickets, spider and other creepy crawlies!

Cost of a Cambodian meal

This is varied as you can imagine depending on where you eat however here is a rough estimate: Market food - $1-2/dish Cambodian Restaurant - $2-5/dish Tourist restaurant - $3++ The cheapest meal I have bought was $0.75 and the most expensive thing I have seen on a menu was $49 (for an imported Wagyu steak)

Cambodian Language TIPS

Hello - Sousaday

Thank you - Are kun

How much? - Tha ley pullman?

Can I pay please? - Som ket loi?

Too expensive! - Tha ley na

Ducky's favourite Cambodian dish

Definitely Ban Hoi - the rice noodle salad dish. I have a lady in Phnom Penh’s Beoung Keng Kong markets that makes the most heavenly version....

Insider Info 

There is a really great website you have to check out - it is called Hungry Go Where and lists restaurants in a similar fashion to Trip Advisor in that you can go on and read real reviews of people that have eaten there. You can search by type of cuisine, budget etc. A great resource.

FREE Recipe of the Cambodian National Dish

Cambodia’s national dish is Fish Amok a delicious sweet curry baked in banana leaves! Here is the recipe for free out of my World Tables cookbook. This cookbook has the recipe for EVERY country in the world’s national dish - you can get a copy HERE. Thanks for your support xo

Here is some more foodie inspiration for you...


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If you are looking for accommodation in Cambodia I have a lovely blog highlighting all my favoutrite boutique hotels - check it out HERE. If you want to compare all the different options check out Agoda - they are the best online booking engine for Asia and have a best price guarantee (you also earn points that can be redeemed for future travel).

Have you ever tried Cambodian food? What was YOUR favourite dish? Drop me a comment below and be sure to sign up for weekly updates and LIKE my Facebook page xoxo



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