When you visit a local market in Cambodia
Have you ever visited a market in Cambodia? Each village has such a small market, which is definitely worth a visit. In the cities there are big markets like the Central Market in Phnom Penh and the Psa Leu in Siem Reap. But the individual districts also have markets. The most famous market in Siem Reap is the Old Market. The Samaki market is known for having wholesalers deliver vegetables and fruits early in the morning.
If you go to a market, you should always have some change, preferably the local currency Riel. 4000 Riel (KHR) equals one dollar and you pay almost anything under $ 5 with the local currency.
A market is usually divided into different areas:
- meat and fish
- household goods
- to eat and drink
Somewhat unusual it may be that fish and meat lying open on tables. The sales assistants try to chase the flies with a frond or sometimes a converted ventilator away. Since fish and meat are usually processed immediately after purchase, bacteria and larvae have no time to multiply.
Visit a local market in Cambodia
What to buy when you visit a local market in Cambodia
The vegetables come from both local farmers – many even produce organic vegetables – and from importers. Siem Reap is quite close to the Thai border, and Phnom Penh gets a lot of goods from the nearby Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The fruits also come from Cambodia as well as from the surrounding countries.
You can negotiate at the market, but since most traders do not understand English, it will be a bit difficult. Increasingly fixed prices prevail, and you pay per kilogram. However, you often get something for free if you buy something more.
You can not only shop for food when you visit a local market in Cambodia, but also taste ready-made food. There are grilled chicken and pork, but also curries and Cambodian soups like Samlor Ko kor. Either sit down and eat right at the stand or get the dishes packed and take them home. Definitely try the Cambodian waffles, which are baked directly on the market and contain coconut milk and -flakes. Anyway, all the small snacks are worth trying, for example fried bananas or sticky rice grilled in the banana leaf.
Get some sugar cane juice from a local vendor
If you are thirsty, there will be either a stall offering a variety of drinks or traders walking around with buckets filled with sugar cane juice. This is a great refreshment when it’s hot.
In terms of hygiene in the market, of course, this differs from a modern supermarket. But that also means that not everything is packed in plastic. Also you do not need energy-consuming air conditioners. Since the locals shop here every day for their goods, the dealers also make sure that everything is clean. In addition, the goods are processed directly after purchase, which increases food safety again.
If you want to experience a street food stall, then you should visit our host Hong Genlai in Siem Reap. You will start at 8am helping cooking some of the 15 dishes she offers every day and then have a great breakfast together.