Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city, is famous for its seemingly endless collection of street food booths, night markets, and friendly merchants offering the perfect selection of food. The uniqueness of Cambodian street cuisine is due to the abundance of open-air and night markets filled with rustic food stalls, wooden food carts, plastic chairs and tables, and throngs of tourists squeezing through the tiny alleyways. The way the dish is cooked makes it even more unique. While some foods are true Khmer cuisines passed down through the generations, others have a westernized spin to them.
1. Lort Cha - Cambodian Short Stir-Fry Egg Noodles
Lort Cha is a popular dish among both locals and tourists because it embodies the fundamental idea or image that the majority of people have about Cambodia: it's hassle-free, affordable, and — most importantly — more than meets the eye. To make Lort is simple: only flour and water. It can be purchased at any local grocery store or convenience store. The noodles are then stir-fried with a variety of minced veggies, including Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, chives, and green onions. In Khmer, the word "cha" means "stir-fry. To contrast the "chewy" texture of the noodles, these components are placed in to impart a little crunch to every mouthful, as is the case with most Asian noodles. It is also helpful for your health. Recipes for the popular Cambodian snack of rice pin noodles stir-fried with scallions or chives (or garlic) in palm sugar, fish sauce, and dark soy sauce may be found here. In Cambodia, they're commonly served with a fried egg, fried Paté, beef, a generous dollop of hot sauce, and a few chive cakes, all of which are fried in the same pan by lort cha vendors.
2. Num Pang Paté-Typical Cambodian Sandwich
Num pang paté is a traditional Cambodian sandwich or demi-baguette that is served everywhere in Phnom Penh with baguettes, greasy butter, pork and/or pâté, Asian tinned mackerel, crispy-yet-sweet pickle made from carrot, papaya and ginger, perhaps some salad components such as crispy cucumber slices, green onions, probably tomato, fresh herbs such as coriander and a chili sauce. Each merchant creates their own unique version of num pang, resulting in an infinite number of variations. This street food is popular among Khmers as a quick breakfast serving, Lunch, and early dinner meal, there are vendors not only in Phnom Penh but all over the Kingdom. An additional popular num pang has fried meatballs, while tinned mackerel and a slice of sandwich meat like Spam are also common.
3. Deep Fried Bread and Shrimp Cake
When it comes to Deep Fried Bread and Shrimp Cake, which are famous street dishes in Cambodia, this recipe is a lot like a fritter: the meat of chopped prawns is mixed with tempura batter, then deep-fried in a second pan. Crispy cakes that are ideal for dipping are the product of this method. The salt in the lime dipping sauce should be dissolved in a bowl of ingredients. Whisk the flour and water together in a bowl to create a homogeneous batter. Remix with the prawn meat. Fry 80 ml of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, stirring often. The oil should be heated until it reaches 180°C (350°F), or when a cube of bread dropped in the oil begins to brown within 15 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the prawn mixture to the frying pan for each shrimp cake. As soon as the batter is in the pan, use a spoon or spatula to flatten each cake to about 2.5 mm thick. Using a wok or frying pan, cook for 5 minutes on each side after frying for 1 minute in batches. Drain on a towel. With a squeeze of fresh lime juice, serve warm.
Throughout Cambodia, this dish is considered an all-time best-loved snack for all Khmers. You can find this dish along various streets and local markets in Phnom Penh and in most of the downtowns across the nation.
4. Steamed pork bun
It's time for a steamed pork bun if you see a steamer on a moving cart! The egg and pork-stuffed hard-boiled bun embody Cambodian cuisine in its purest form, with no additional seasonings or alterations to the original components. Even though it's often compared to Chinese pork buns by tourists, the basic flavor makes it a better choice for a light afternoon snack. Before taking a mouthful, take sure to remove the paper padding off the bottom and never let it get cold. It's time for a steamed pork bun if you see a steamer on a moving cart! The egg and pork-stuffed hard-boiled bun embody Cambodian cuisine in its purest form, with no additional seasonings or alterations to the original components. Even though it's often compared to Chinese pork buns by tourists, the basic flavor makes it a better choice for a light afternoon snack.
5. Pickled Fruit Snack
Pickled fruit snacks are a big deal in Cambodia, where travelers may buy everything from mango, tamarind, star gooseberry, santol, planchonella obovata, jujubes, and guavas. Additionally, the stalls sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables like salak, acerola cherry, Bilimbi, mango, ripe tamarind, santol, jicama, guavas, June plum, and pineapple. While on the road, it's usually a good idea to stock up on a little package of various sauces such as prahok sauce, shrimp paste sauce, red/green chili salt, sweet fish sauce, and other ingredients to dip the fruit in.
Mixed fruits pickled is the kind of snack that has been a growing trend in the Kingdom for at least two decades. Of course, this snack is most well-known among Cambodia’s youngsters and pregnant ladies due to it being considered a common home remedy to morning sickness. Cambodians generally share this snack during the afternoon time with their people. You can find every corner in Phnom Penh and in many local markets in the city. The prices start from $1.5 up for whichever fruit from fresh to pickled.
6. Grilled Meat on Skewer (Sach Ko Ang Jangkak)
All around Southeast Asia, barbecued cuisine is a delicacy, and Cambodia is no exception. One of the most popular street snacks in the country is grilled meat on a skewer. Most people associate meat with saltiness, but in Phnom Penh, one of the classic afternoon snacks is a handful of grilled meat tucked into a Cambodia baguette. There is a selection of meat skewers in terms of regular whole meat pieces, minced meats, liver, and sausage-liked meats. The selection of grilled meat here is a hit with tourists from all over the world, while the salad (pickled veggies) and baguette on the side are a nice accompaniment to the fatty taste of the grill. The baguette is grilled on the fire making it have a meaty aroma. The Skewer meats are so fragrant with smoke and lemongrass. The minced meat skewer is so fragrant. It is so juicy, a little bit oily, a little bit sweet and salty and so lemongrass.
7. Grilled frog
After a few days in Phnom Penh, everyone will get used to the concept of eating frogs! Barbecue carts in Phnom Penh often serve whole frogs, which, along with pork, chicken, and cattle, is a popular Cambodian street meal. Juicy and tender, just like chicken, is what people say about frogs' flavor.
8. Iced coffee with milk
The sweetness of Southeast Asian coffee sets it apart. To retain the oils and sugars in the beans, they are roasted slowly in the sun after being dried in the sun. Condensed milk is used to make Phnom Penh's famous iced coffee with milk. Condensed milk in the bottom of the glass can be stirred to adjust the sweetness for the foodie's taste buds.
9. Num Ka Chai (Chive Cake)
Another popular Cambodian street snack, originating in China, is Num Ka Chai (chive cake). The basic ingredients are rice flour and chopped chives, with no additional seasoning or herbs. The taste, on the other hand, is pleasantly good rather than bland and lifeless. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, this Southeast Asian snack is best enjoyed dunked in sweet and spicy fish sauce.
10. Porng Tea Kaun (Balut)
Porng Tea Kaun (in Cambodia) or Balut is a duck embryo fertilized in the Philippines or Vietnam that is imported to the United States. In Phnom Penh, the meal is prepared in accordance with Cambodian custom, and a huge quantity of herbs are not used. Despite the fact that it's a local favorite, you'll need to acquire it from a reputable establishment only. Food cleanliness is extremely important, and this dish can be found at many of Phnom Penh's best street food spots. When compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Cambodia's version of this delicacy is kept simple: instead of being covered with a broad variety of herbs and sauces, simply a little garnish is served beside the duck egg. Because of its high protein content and nutritional value, it is a longtime favorite among local Cambodians.
Phnom Penh is a great place for foodies who want to experience the city's incredible array of street food options in a new way. Street food is a must if you're visiting Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh, where wandering down the city's narrow streets becomes a chore at mealtime because of the numerous street food carts. Phnom Penh is home to some of the world's most interesting and unusual cuisines, making it easy to get affordable meals that are also full of flavor. In Phnom Penh's street food, you may sample the best of Khmer cuisine. However, if you're not careful about what you eat, you could end up with food poisoning. Take advantage of the crowds and acquire your food as soon as possible so that you don't miss out on any of the deliciousness.