If you are on a visit to Cambodia then you must try the street food – especially at Phnom Penh where strolling down the small streets becomes a tedious task during meal times, given the street food carts dotting the roads. Good and cheap food is not too hard to come by in Phnom Penh – add to that a dose of weird and wonderful in each bite.
You get to taste the best of Khmer cuisine in the street food in Phnom Penh. But just as a note of caution – you do run the risk of food poisoning if you are not careful of what you are choosing to eat. It is best if you go to stalls that are crowded with Cambodians clamouring for their food, and ensure that you get your portion piping hot.
Now let us begin the street food tour in Phnom Penh. Here are some of the most desired street foods of Phnom Penh for you to try on your next trip to Cambodia!
1. The Cambodian Sticky Bamboo Rice
This particular street food in Phnom Penh is better known as Kralan, this dish is cooked inside the bamboo stick that is roasted over fire. The rice is generally cooked with a mixture of beans , grated coconut and coconut milk. It is crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. This is one of the best known vegetarian street foods of Phnom Penh. The rice that is used for this preparation is a special kind of fragrant sticky rice that comes from the rice fields of Battambang and Kratie Provinces. It does need a side dish to go with it and it is quite a popular snack among the locals that is delicious and filling.
2. Grilled Bananas And Sweet Potato Cakes
Another vegetarian street food in Phnom Penh, which is sought out for is the sweet potato cakes and grilled bananas. If you walk down a street with food carts, you will come across a lot of them that having bananas on sticks that are getting grilled over a small portable oven. The same stalls will also have white patties made from sweet potato and coconut. These are generally served grilled on the oven. These dishes are very simple and cheap. The best place for this street food in Phnom Penh will be the Chet Chein Stall that is located on street 9 at Phsar Kapko. They also have different versions for the sanack.
3. Fish Amok
This is the Cambodian version of the Bengali dish ‘fish paturi’ but with a complete difference in the spices that are used in it. The fish moose is wrapped in banana leaves along with a wide selection of spices, common among which are lemongrass, kaffir lime, and turmeric root. The wrapped banana pockets are then roasted slowly so that all the flavours can seep into the dish. One special feature of this dish is the use of slok ngor, a spice that is common in these parts of the world. It is quite a popular snack here. You must buy it from stalls that are thronged with locals. It will ensure that you get good quality food.
4. The Lok Lak
This is a pork dish that had originated in Vietnam and had made its way to popularity in Cambodia. Not only is pork a popular among the locals, but the dish also comes in large portions that will win any food lovers heart. The dish is stir fried and served with seasoning of lime juice and black pepper and a delicious salad of sweet tomato, crispy lettuce leaves, cucumber, fresh onion and coriander and served piping hot. Now comes to how you want to have the dish – the classic Cambodian way would be to wrap it up in the lettuce leaves and have it like multiple mini lettuce rolls, or you can simply have it out of the plat with a fork.
5. Bai Sach Chrouk
This is a very popular street food in Phnom Penh city in Cambodia. It is a breakfast dish that is sumptuous and wholesome. It is a ‘rice and pork dish’. If you plan to sample the dish then you must try it at the corner of streets 13 and 100, opposite the Post Office, where they are reputed to sell the best variety of the dish. The pork is grilled on barbeque structures, and the rice served here is fresh soft and smells like divine. The plate of rice will be topped with pork, spring onions, and a sprinkle of oil that has been fried in onion and garlic. The enticing aroma of this dish attracts people to huddle around the shop for a taste of this dish.
6. Sea Food
If you are craving some kind of seafood then you can surely try it out ‘Lom Orng Pkar’ or the ‘Pollen’ that are located behind the Sisowath High School. This is the best destination for seafood street food in Phnom Penh. You get nearly everything here like squid, oyster, salmon, Ray fish, or shrimps and all those are fresh grilled for you. The shops are beautifully decorated, which attracts the passer-by to halt and take a look here.
Ever thought of tasting a fertilized embryo of a bird? Balut is a fertilized embryo of a duck that comes here from the Philippines and Vietnam. In Phnom Penh, they follow the Cambodian tradition of cooking the dish and a large number of herbs are not loaded on the dish. This is an all-time favorite of the locals but you must take care and buy it from popular joints only. Food hygiene really matters, and this dish is easily available in the best places for street food in Phnom Penh.
8. Chive Cake
This is another import from China. But in Cambodia all the heavy seasoning is removed and it is kept simple with the humble ingredients off chives and rice flour. Instead of being plain and boring as it is expected to be, the dish surprises the eaters with its delicious taste. The cakes are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. It is paired with a sweet and spicy fish sauce dip that will blow your mind away.
9. Grilled Frog
You must have never thought how tricky eating street food in Cambodia can get. Grilled Frog does not sound very tempting to eat but it is a favorite dish of the Cambodians. The whole frog is grilled on skewers in barbeque carts. The frog tastes just as juicy and tender as grilled chicken. You can surely head to this scenic Cambodian city if you’re in mood for some tasty delights like these. Are you ready?
So, what are you waiting for? While you’re out and about in this stunning land, make sure you savour the best cuisines here for a memorable holiday! Plan your trip to Cambodia with your loved ones and pamper the foodie in you in this food-paradise!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Street Food In Phnom Penh
Which is the best food in Phnom Penh?
Well, the best food is Fish Amok, followed by Beef Lok Lak in Cambodia. Some of the other tasty delicacies to try are Khmer curries, fresh spring rolls, Khmer mango salad, and the famous Angkor Beer.
How much does food cost in Phnom Penh?
You will find that the average cost of street food in Cambodia and Phnom Penh comes out to be KHR 48,214 per day (INR 823). Generally, breakfast costs way less that lunch and dinner.
What can you not eat in Cambodia?
Do do not have shellfish, raw crab and a few cold cotton types of meat. Across the whole of Cambodia regardless of where ever you are staying, you need to stick to the bottled water. Use it also when you brush your teeth.
Do Cambodians eat with their hands?
Yes, you can find Cambodians eating with their bare hands. You can also find them using chopsticks depending on the food.
What is Cambodia’s national dish?
Well, the national dish of this country is Fish Amok. It is a fish curry custard which is stemmed from the banana leaves. Also, it is the most elegant, moist and full of flavor.
What do Cambodians eat for breakfast?
In Cambodia, you have three meals for the day. You have breakfast, lunch, and dinner and thus missing breakfast is not an option. You can equate it to missing coffee for most of the people. Hence, there are quite a lot of options and you will have things like rice soup (congee), grilled pork or chicken and rice and beef or pork noodle soup.
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