Traditional recipes

Tasty Travel: A Guide To Southeast Asian Culture Through Spices

Tasty Travel: A Guide To Southeast Asian Culture Through Spices

Chilies are a major part in much of Southeast Asia’s cuisine — but not all. Photo courtesy of bethan.

Southeast Asian foods are known first and foremost for packing a spicy punch. Herbs and spices are featured front and center in dishes from across the subcontinent, but even under this overarching theme, each country and region has its own unique characteristics.

As many areas of Southeast Asia rely on the use of local ingredients, distinctive regional cuisines have developed depending on the types of products available in each location. Recipes were often passed down through generations and although trade has opened up a world of products, many chefs still enjoy cooking with traditional instruments such as a pestle and mortar to blend these Asian spices.

Pad Thai Kung, a traditional Thai dish. Photo courtesy of Terence Ong.

Thailand

Thailand‘s cuisine holds very true to the hot and spicy reputation; however, the heat and aroma goes beyond just setting tongues on fire. Many of the herbs and spices in Thai dishes are selected not only for their taste, but also for their medicinal purposes.

For example, chilies (“phrik” in Thai), which are as much of a staple to the cuisine as rice or noodles, contain the compound capsaicin. On its own, capsaicin is used in creams to treat muscle and joint aches. In chilies, this is the compound that gives them their heat and is also good for your respiratory system and can help regulate blood pressure. This means the spicier the chili, the more benefits it has. There are five main types of chilies used in Thai cooking, increasing in spiciness as they get smaller in size.

While chilies can sometimes be used on their own to add heat or as a garnish, they are more often combined with garlic, Thai ginger or lemongrass to form a chili paste. This is then used as a flavoring for almost any dish, including several soups like the popular Tom Yam.

While chilies and Asian spices may dominate many meals, Thai cuisine has four essential tastes: salty, sour, sweet and (of course) spicy. To round out the flavors, kaffir limes, cinnamon, cloves, mint and turmeric all help to add additional palatable depth to meals.

Bahn Mi sandwiche with Vietnamese barbecue pork. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kovacs.

Vietnam

While the flavors of Thailand are known for their heat, Vietnamese cuisine is known for its freshness. Crisp herbs are so important they’re often served on their own plate during meals. This ensures each person can flavor their meal to their heart’s content, be it anything from soups to spring rolls to sandwiches to noodles. When Vietnamese immigrants first began to settle in America, they would often have their relatives send herb seeds to them in the mail so they could grow their own plants and eat freshly-picked herbs in their food.

If these precious flavors were to be cooked into a dish — as they’re typically left uncooked — they would often be added just before the food was taken off a heat source, so that the fresh, crispy flavor wouldn’t get fried out.

Mint, basil, dill and coriander are common additions across the country, but each region hosts its own specialties. In North Vietnam all fish dishes are prepared with dill, while in central Vietnam beef is always cooked with chili and lemongrass. Meanwhile, Southern Vietnamese prefer to use spearmint with their fish, coconut water in stews and cilantro and rice paddy herbs in soups. Vietnamese cuisine takes influence not only from what is regionally available, but also from its past. As a previous colony of France, French tastes have also made their way into the cuisine and French cheeses and baguettes are used in popular bahn mi sandwiches.

Sate Ponorogo, a traditional Indonesian dish. Photo courtesy of Gunawan Kartapranata.

Indonesia

Most likely the original source of Southeast Asia’s spicy nature, Indonesia’s Maluku islands have actually been dubbed the “Spice Islands.” They have played a key role as a trading partner for India, China, Holland and Spain, introducing international staples like nutmeg and cloves to the rest of the globe. The frequent trading meant these isles also received many imported spices, leading to Indonesian cooking to become an international melting pot. With this, there are separate words in Indonesian for spice (“rempah”) and a mixture of spices (“bumbu”). Today, one of the most well known mixtures is sambal, a spicy sauce composed of fish paste, garlic, ginger, shallots, lime juice and vinegar. It was first created in the 16th century when trade was established between Spain and Indonesia.

The endless (and delicious) national rice and noodle dishes are seldom complete without banana leave, basil, chili, turmeric, galangal root (an herb similar to ginger), candlenut or coriander. More often than not, they’ll contain a full mixture of these flavors.

Traditional Cambodian fish amok. Photo courtesy of SodanieChea.

Cambodia

If spicy chilies aren’t your thing, you don’t have to write off Southeast Asia as a taste destination. Khmer cuisine of Cambodia is one of the oldest types of cooking, so ancient it outdates the use of spicy chilies. Instead of heat, dishes like fish amok and even Khmer curry use fresh ingredients and more subtle flavors from various kroeungs. These are traditional Khmer herb pastes made from combinations of lemongrass, kaffir limes, galangal, turmeric, garlic and shallots.

The post Tasty Travel: A Guide To Southeast Asian Culture Through Spices appeared first on Epicure & Culture.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


The Essential Guide to Cambodian Street Food

A small country with a big history, Cambodia is known for its stunning historical architecture and exceptionally friendly people. Nestled between Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it is home to thousands of years of tradition and, recently, a growing tourism industry. Whether its the hustle and bustle of the capital, Phnom Penh, that strikes your fancy, or the ethereal temples of Siem Reap, there is plenty to see, do, and eat in this remarkable country!

Emerging from Cambodia’s vibrant, welcoming environment is a rapidly growing street food culture which attracts locals and tourists alike. While Cambodia’s national cuisine has often been compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, its street food culture is a rich, vibrant experience of unique foods and flavors all its own.

First and foremost, the tea! If you’re a first-time visitor to Southeast Asia, we dare you to try Cambodia’s tea and not fall instantly in love. Whether it’s a curbside food stand, local eatery, or a cart on the side of the road, you will not find a single sip of mediocre tea in Cambodia. Aside from being insanely delicious, tea is deeply engrained into Cambodian culture, and many ceremonies include a tea drinking ritual. The most common variety is Jasmine tea, which will be better than just about any other tea ever. Close competitors include lemongrass tea and green tea. Due to the characteristic Cambodian heat, many teas are brewed hot and then poured over ice to help cool you down.

Meat Skewers

A popular late-afternoon restorative of students and snackers alike, street barbecue is Cambodia’s most popular street food and comes in two distinctly delicious varieties. The first is a red, sticky sweet pork recipe. Generally, street cooks marinate the pork in a mixture of palm sugar, soy, garlic, salt, and pepper and grill the pieces over hot coals or braziers. They are often served in groups of four along with a slightly pickled salad. The other option is sach ko ang, marinated in lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime, garlic and sometimes a fish sauce before it is grilled and placed atop a crispy buttered baguette. Both types of skewers usually sell for about R1000 each (.25), and 4 for R4000 ($1.00). Definitely a steal, as far as we’re concerned!

Num Pang Paté

Similar to its Vietnamese cousin the banh mi, the num pang paté is a legacy of Cambodia’s history as a former French colony. However, the Cambodian version is a star in its own right with its signature fusion of crispy baguettes, mayonnaise, and paté with locally seasoned meats, chilies, and pickled vegetables. The tastiest of these yummy sandwiches are said to be found in the capital, Phnom Penh, but you can find these little beauties in any number of local iterations throughout the country. We haven’t found a bad one yet.

An evening favorite of tourists and locals alike in the historical Siem Reap, mi char is a signature fried noodle dish often sold from mobile food carts. The most popular version is made from a pack of chicken-flavored instant noodles fried with a variety of local vegetables, spices, and of course, the instant noodles’ own flavor packet. Often, the dish is topped with a fried egg and doused in chili sauce for a mere R4000, or just $1.00!

Num Kachay and Other Quick Snacks

If you’re not a fan of meat or simply want to grab something on the go, the delicious and surprisingly filling num kachay, or Cambodian chive cakes, should certainly whet your appetite. Made from glutinous rice and filled with chives and spinach, these little morsels are fried in a giant pan and served piping hot in the late afternoon. If your really adventurous, try local favorite pong tae koun (baby duck eggs) boiled with a mixture of salt, pepper, limes, and maybe some finely sliced red chillies and fresh herbs that you to fold in through a hole at the top of the egg. Go for the darker ones if you’re on the go, and the white ones if you want to mix in the spices yourself.

Finally, before you go, treat yourself to some sweet and spicy deep fried insects! In Cambodia, as in many Southeast Asian countries, there is a strong cultural tradition surrounding the consumption of insects, including cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk worms, and even tarantulas. Raised on special diets and then covered in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, or chilis, you’ll be surprised at how tasty these little buggers can be!

Once you’ve satisfied your street food cravings and gone back for seconds, we hope that you’ll take some time to immerse yourself Cambodia’s beautiful culture and long, rich history. There are thousands of sites to see (the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an absolute must!), we hope you enjoy your time in this stunning country.


Watch the video: 21 Best Places to Visit in Southeast Asia - Travel Video (December 2021).