Cambodian food is not a famous as the cuisine of its Vietnamese or Thai neighbors. Perhpas because Cambodian food is a bit homier and simpler, definitely quieter than its flashier, spicier neighbors. However, when we were in Cambodia we never had a bad meal – we definitely had a few wonderful meals. Between the fresh-baked baguette and the fresh papaya salad, we found that Khmer cuisine could be just as delicious as Thai food.
A Fresh Lunch near Angkor Wat
We ate most nights at the simple restaurant connected to our hotel, and in the day at stalls in and around town. We truthfully never had a bad meal, and appreciated the Khmer attention to how all components combined to make the complete dish. One of our favorite dishes was Lok Lak, a dish of beef cubes cooked in butter (French influenced) and served with a citrus sauce. We also grew to appreciate the green papaya salad, which was extremely refreshing in the heat. Another key to our meals were the amazing assortment of fruits: Lychees, starfruits, mangosteens and the like.
In this interesting blog post by Phonomenon, reasons why many travelers don’t appreciate Khmer food are explored. One common pitfall is not enjoying the different elements of the meal as they come together as a whole. The harmony of the different components of Khmer cuisine was definitely something that stood out to us.