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Rice and fish are the basic foods enjoyed by Cambodians. Delicious noodle soups are available at cafes. Fresh seafood is plentiful at Sihanouk Ville. In major cities a wide range of culinary fare is on offer including; Chinese, Thai, French, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern.

 

The Cambodian food combines Chinese and Indian influences with its own; native recipes. Most famous are the curries and the spicy hot seasoned stews, plus the smooth and tasty coconut curries. Most meals use rice as the filler, but there are many noodle dishes: and salads without rice.

 

Ovens are not part of the ordinary Cambodian kitchen or small restaurant, for cooked food is either boiled or stir-fried. Cambodian food is never bland. Its range of spices includes chili, pepper, coriander leaf and root, lemon grass, basil, ginger, mint, cardamom, and screw pine. Sour soups are popular and meat and fish are always served with sauces like shrimp paste, tamarind, or honey with chili.

Fish sauce is the basic substitute for salt across the country. Spicy salads are a local specialty. They are made from raw prawns, meat, green papaya, field crab, or chopped raw meat, with chili and other spices. Like the various noodle dishes, they are often sold at street side stalls for those who want a light meal. Cambodian have no food bias and are always willing to try any sort of meat, wild or domestic, and most seafood.

 

A Traditional Meal

Before Western influence introduced tables and chairs, Cambodian dined by sitting on the floor around a small, short table. Various curries and other dishes were set upon the table, like cabbage and green bean, skewered or fried meat, crab or fish. The hot, sour soup that is part of any full-course Cambodian meal was cooked in clay pot that was placed in the center of the table. Rice was served in small bowls to each person, who then used spoons or chopsticks to select pieces of food from the other bowls. Each dinner also had a separate soup bowl that he or she filed from the common pot. That ancient style of eating has not changed much; the only exception is that the food has been transferred to a taller table. Soup is still cooled in the center, if not in a clay pot then in a wheel-shaped pan. But throughout the countryside, the old my still exist.

 

Rice

Several months of hard labor go into providing Cambodian supper tables with their most important food-rice. Farmers have to break up the hard ground during the dry season of the year and plough it with the first drops of rain.

 

Rice seedlings are first planted in one part of the field, where they grow while the farmer cultivates and prepares another part of the field in which the rice will be transplanted at the start of the heavy rain season. Weeds and pests attack the rice fields all summer. Hoppers, rice bugs, field crabs, mice, and herons keep the farmers busy. After the rains comes the harvest, followed by the exhausting job of threshing, winnowing, and milling the rice grains. Most Cambodian prefers the highly polished variety called Angkor laar, or “beautiful rice.”

 

Nonalcoholic Drinks

All the famous international brands of soft drinks are available in Cambodia. Locally produced mineral water is available at 500r to 700r per bottle.

 

Coffee is sold in most restaurants. It is either served black or with generous dollops of condensed milk, which makes it very sweet.  Chinese-style tea is popular and in many Khmer and Chinese restaurants a pot of it will automatically appear as soon as you sit down.

 

You can find excellent fruit smoothies all over the country, known locally as a tikalok. Just look out for a stall with fruit and a blender and point to the flavors you want. Keep an eye on the preparatory stages or you may end up with heaps of sugar and a frothy eggg.

 

On a hot day you may be tempted by the stuff in Fanta bottles on the side of the road. Think again, as it is actually petrol (gas).

 

Alcoholic Drinks

The local bee is Angkor, which is produced by an Australian joint venture in Sihanoukwille.  Other brands include Heineken, Tiger, San Miguel, Carlsberg, VB, Foster's and Grolsch.  Beer sells for around US$1 to US$1.50 a can in restaurants.

 

In Phnom Penh, foreign wines and spirits are sold at reasonable prices.  The local spirits are best avoided, though some expats say that Sra Special, a local whisky-like concoction, is not bad.  At around 1000r a bottle it's a cheap route to oblivion.

 

Some everyday foods

 

 AMOK

 

Ingredients
- 1 kg of mud fish;
- 1 ripe coconut fruit;
- 5 trunks of citronella;
- 0.5 kg of smoke fish;
- 0.5 kg of garlic;
- Bits of saffron, Amomum Galanga, Amomum Zingiber;
- 6 leaves of citrus hystrix and some peels;
- 2 ripe bell pepper fruits;
- 1 duck egg; salt, sugar, fish, sauce, MSG;
- Leaves of star fruit and banana trees

How to cook
 

  • Cut the fish in to small slices and take the bones out

  • Slice and crush the citronella trunks and pound them together with saffron, Amomum Galanga, Amomum Zingiber, citrus hystrix leaves to make a mash mixture

  • Slice the smoke spices into small bits

  • Break the coconut fruit, squeeze the nut to get its milk by making the phase-one milk and phase-two milk

  • Cut the ripe bell pepper into two

  • Pour half of the phase-one coconut milk into a frying pan to cook until it turns a litter brown

  • Then, put into the pan the spices and the mash mixture, and stir it up

  • Add the phase-two milk and turn off the cooking gas after the solution becomes cooked and dry enough

  • After that, add the fish, salt, fish sauce, sugar, egg, and fully mix up the ingredients

  • Make package of banana leaves, lay star fruit leaves at the bottom of the package, then put enough of the cooked fish on the star fruit leaves, and then top it with a bit of citrus hystrix leaves and ripe bell pepper.

  • Turn on the gas and cook the dish again

  • Add 1 spoonful of the phase-one coconut milk into the fish, and leave it to cook for a short while. And the dish is done.

 PRAHOK K'TISS

 

Ingredients
- 0.2 kg of smoke fish;

- 0.1 kg of dry freshwater shrimp;

- 0.5 kg of pig front leg meat;

- 0.2 kg of Prahok;

- 1 big ripe coconut fruit;

- 0.05 kg of already sliced citronella trunks;

- 0.1 kg of smoke spices; - 0.05 kg of garlic;

- A bit of saffron, Amomum Galanga, citrus hystrix peels and leaves;

- 0.2 kg of ripe tamarind;

- 0.3 kg of Rumhorng egg plants (kind of egg plant that goes well with the dish);

- 0.2 kg of sugar;

- 1 coffee spoonful of MSG;

- Fresh vegetables to be eaten raw: Long bean, egg plant, ginger, head cabbage, cucumber.

How to cook
 

  • Pound and mash the smoke fish after taking out the bones

  • Pound and mash the dry shrimps after cleaning them

  • Slice the pig meat into small bits

  • Slice and mash the fish paste completely

  • Cut open the coconut and get its milk: 300ml for Phase One, and 300 ml for Phase Two

  • Take out the seeds and the inside of the smoke spices, clean them and mash them

  • Slice the citronella trunks into tiny bits and then pound them together with saffron, Amomum Galanga and citrus hystrix leaves to make a mash mixture.

  • Mix water with the ripe tamarind and make a small bowl of sour solution

  • Fry the egg plants until they look brown

  • Fry the spices until they turns red

  • Cook the Phase One 300 ml coconut milk until it turns a little brown color

  • Add the fried spice and then the mash mixture into it, and leave the combination to shiver using medium source of cooking power.

  • Put the mashed pig meat and leave it to cook.

  • Put the shrimps and smoke fish, mingle them in the solution, then add some prahok, sugar and some more coconut milk and leave it to moderately shiver foe 10 minutes.

  • Then, put citrus hystrix leaves and the bowl of tamarind water, and leave the solution to cook another 5 minutes.

  • Finally put the eggplant and stir the soup.

  • Then, taste it, and that's it.

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 M'CHOU KROEUNG SOUR SOUP

 

 

Ingredients
- 1/2 kg of pig rib;

- 5 trunks of Citronella;

- 1 slice of Amomum Galanga;

- A little bit of saffron;

- 3 leave plus some peels of citrus hystrix (sour orange with rough skin, strong taste);

- 10 bits of garlic;

- 5 leaves of Kantrop (kind of fresh vegetable for sour soup);

- 1/2 rice spoonful of mashed Prahok (Cambodian traditional fermented fish paste);

- 0.1 kg of Feronia Elephantium net seeds (flat round sour fruit);

- 3 bell pepper fruits; - 2 gingers;

- 0.3 kg of Water Convolvulus;

- 1/2 rice spoonful of palm sugar;

- 1 rice spoonful of fish sauce;

- 1/2 coffee spoonful of salt;

- 1/2 rice spoonful of Monosodium Glutamate(MSG)

How to cook
 

  • Neatly slice the pig rib into thumb-sized bits and put them in a cooking pot.

  • Pound an mash the thinly-sliced citronella trunks, together with saffron, Amomum Galanga, garlic, and citrus hystrix leaves into a mash mixture and then put it in the cooking pot.

  • Add to the pot the crushed fermented fish paste, salt, MSG, sugar; fish sauce; and 1 soup spoonful of water. Then, mingle all the combination in the pot.

  • Cook the mixture until the meat is cooked and soft enough, then add 1 little of water to the pot and leave it to cook well enough for another 5 minutes.

  • Then add Feronia Elephantium net seeds, 6 slices of bell pepper fruits, and citrus hystrix leaves, and leave it all to cook.

  • Taste it, and after it tastes good enough, and finally add the fresh short cut Water Convolvulus. That's all. The soup is served.

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 CHEK K'TISS DESSERT

 

Ingredients
- 1 hand of Namva banana (kid of Cambodian sweet banana);
- 1 good ripe coconut fruit;0.5 kg of mung bean (Vigna Sesquipedalis);
- 1 rice spoonful of sago grains;
- 3.5 kg of sugar;
- Some salt

How to cook
 

  • Break the coconut fruit and make coconut milk: phase-one milk (150ml), phase-two milk (200ml) and phase-three milk (1 litter)

  • Fry the mung bean grains until they become brown, break each grain into two parts, dry them and soak them in the water for a while

  • Clean and soak the sago grains in the water for a while

  • Peel the banana fruits, and cut them each into 4 (for small ones) and 6 (for big ones) parts

  • Cook the phase-three coconut milk and put the banana parts into it and leave it to boil

  • Put the mung bean parts and sago grains

  • Add sugar and salt to milk it taste good when the banana is cooked and does not taste bitter

  • Then, pour the phase-two milk into it and leave it to cook for a while. That's done. (Note: It takes around 15 minutes to cook this banana sweet starting from the point of cooking the coconut milk)