I love Cambodian food- which is great as it tends to be widely available here in Cambodia. I also love finding Eurasian fusion food, where East meets West and hilarity ensues (I’ve obviously been watching too much Fresh off the Boat…). So, sometimes there are things that look vaguely familiar but with a beautifully bizarre twist.
Obviously, Cambodia does have a rich array of delicious yet standard meals. Breakfast foods include pork and rice, usually sold with sides of pickled vegetables and sweet and sour sauce, topped with a fried egg. There’s also Cambodian noodle soup, which, although a breakfast food, seems to be eaten at any point of the day. Both of these are cheaply available (I can get the pork and rice for $1 at a small restaurant my house).
I also really like some Khmer desserts, such as jek ktih, which is banana in coconut milk with tapioca pearls.
Then, you go it to larger cafes and bakeries and this is where some of the strange combinations start appearing. I think it’s because they’re catering for western and eastern palettes, so you end up with hybrids.
A couple of weeks ago, my PassApp driver didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I had to perform a ditch and switch. (PassApp is like an Uber App for tuk tuks and rickshaws.) I stopped at a Tous Les Jours, which a Korean French-Asian styled bakery, to give enough time for my driver to leave the area before I ordered another one. It would have been extremely embarrassing had he accepted my second PassApp request. So I ordered a drink and picked up a curious looking sausage roll. It turned out to be a frankfurter style sausage, with croissant pastry wrapped around it, glazed with sweet chilli sauce. It was actually really nice.
However, I did see some doughnuts in the AEON bakery, which perhaps did not suit my European palette.
Other strange things include the Pringles flavours (salt and seaweed being one). You can buy tubes of popcorn, which is amazing except one of the flavours is cheese and honey. I know some of my friends find my jam and cheese sandwiches offensive, but cheese and honey popcorn may be a step too far even for me. However, I’ll probably still give it a try. I’ll give everything a try one… except maybe rat, or snake, or scorpion…
Learn some Khmer!
- pork and rice: បាយសាច់ជ្រូក buy sach jrook
- small restaurant: ហាងបាយ hang buy
- sweets/dessert: បង្អែម bongaim
- Cambodian noodle soup: គុយទាវ koy teav
Please, ask me some questions. This means I can do a Q&A blog post and you actually get to know what you want to know!