Street food in Cambodia – all you need to know
The small street food dishes you can buy at street stalls in Bangkok have made street food world famous. In Cambodia, too, there are small stalls in every town, most of which produce one or two dishes. Some also have a whole buffet to choose from.
First you have to distinguish the grill stalls from those who sell cooked food. Everything that is meat is grilled, from fish to chickens to frogs and rats. Some shops grill half a cow or a pork half on the roadside. The meat is then cut directly and calculated per 100 grams. You also get some herbs and cabbage. Another form of grilled food as street food is small pieces, such as chicken legs and wings, chicken hearts and feet, or simply sliced beef or pork slices. Often the meat has been marinated with chili, soy sauce and other ingredients. Rats and frogs are usually laid on the grill as a whole.
Street food is common for breakfast
But there are also cooked food on the street to buy, Most street stalls also have a few seats. Nam Ban Chok is a kind of fish curry, but not spicy with plenty of coconut milk. It is served with rice noodles and many herbs. In Cambodia it is a classic breakfast dish. Similarly, the Khmer curry, like most curries a mild variant, despite the red color. Classically it is served with chicken cooked in curry. The rice noodle dishes at street food stalls are usually only at certain times, usually in the morning. If they are sold out, you have to come back the next day. There are also very local delicacies: In Battambang the absolute insider tip is a small stall that sells pork brain soup early in the morning.
As in Thailand, small street restaurants with a buffet have been established in Cambodia. Here you can either choose three small dishes and serve them with rice or order a dish with a large portion. The menu varies from day to day and depends on what’s on the market, but also on the mood of the mostly female chefs.
Our host Hong Ginlai in Siem Reap runs a street restaurant. Their specialties are the Samlor Ktis, fish and pork with Tamarind and Prahok and Samlor Kor Ko, a soup with vegetables, Kreung paste and powdered toasted rice. Every morning she drives to the market in the dark and buys the ingredients for her dishes. Some stands already prepare the goods for them, cut the vegetables or mix the paste for the fishcakes. From seven o’clock in the morning she starts to cook the street food, and at 9 o’clock at the latest there are 15 different dishes ready to buy.
Learn yourself how to make the food
Ms. Hong Ginlai gave us exclusive access to her restaurant: If you want to cook your own food on a street stand, you can book it here. It starts at 8 o’clock, and after cooking, a breakfast is taken together. Our colleague Mealea explains the guests even more about the Cambodian cuisine.