Cambodia's Foods and Drinks
Type of Foods
Cambodia food is closely related to the cuisines of neighboring Thailand and Laos and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam, but there are some distinct local dishes. The overall consensus is that Khmer cooking is like Thai without spicy. Curries, stir tried vegetable, rice, noodles and soups are staples of the Khmer diet. Cambodia is well known in the region for its Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes. Fresh serve bottled drinking water and tap water should never be drunk. Similarly, salad and fruit served at these establishments are safe. All Tours are based on full board arrangements. For full-day excursions, picnic lunch can be provided if no adequate restaurants are available.
Phnom Penh is far and away the best place to try inexpensive Khmer cuisine, though Siem Reap also has some good restaurants. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to acquaint yourself with Khmer cooking is to wander into the food stalls found in markets all over the country and simply sample each dish before deciding what to eat. In Phnom Penh you also have the choice of excellent Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, French and Mediterranean cooking.
Rice is the principal staple in Cambodia and the Battambang region is the country's rice bowl. Most Cambodian dishes are cooked in a wok, known locally as a chhnang khteak.
Traditional Khmer Food
1. Samlor Kako: is one of Cambodian national dishes. It uses an incredible range of ingredients to achieve its complex range of flavors, including the famous prahok or fermented fish cheese, which is unique to Khmer cuisine.
2. Khmer Sour Soup: A bowl of fresh Khmer sour soup helps the body feel refreshed and clean, leaving just enough room for dessert. Sour soup is among the most popular Khmer foods. For years, this vegetable stew has fed hardworking Cambodians, particularly in the countryside where ingredients are easily found in neighboring pastures and ponds. Today, city dwellers enjoy this dish as a healthy alternative to fried bananas and fish. Expatriates living in Cambodia also are realizing the healthy benefits of eating a diet of fresh fish and water green, the base of Khmer sour soup.
Type of 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 egg. 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).
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.
Source: Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia
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