Learning Khmer Language: Let’s Talk Food

It’s been awhile since I last posted any tidbit about learning Khmer/Cambodian language. Let’s see, I’ve written about Counting the Cambodian Way and also some Basic Khmer for the Traveler.Those are really very basic and would be helpful to travelers. Now I’m thinking, what about those expats settling here?

One of my dilemmas when I was just new here was ordering food from local restaurants and buying food from the markets. There are groceries here but they are a lot pricier and learning how to haggle and bargain your way in the wet markets would mean huge savings plus that interesting interaction with locals. And one big reason to learn a bit of these – the local food is really good and most a must try so a little Khmer would go a long way in asking for what you want to try.

Boeng Keng Kang Market

Here are some Khmer words about food that I learned early on, making buying food a lot more easier. Lol! For a girl who is always on diet, I sure am fixated with food. Note that the transliterations are just approximate sounds of Khmer words, so there might be some errors. It would help if you can listen to a Khmer to ‘get’ the exact pronunciation.  All thanks to Hi-ace and my Khmer relatives whom I bugged endlessly to translate for me =) any errors would be mine.

What’s typical:

  • Rice – bai
  • Bread – nom pang
  • Eggs – pong thea {duck egg – more common} and pong mowan {chicken egg}
  • Fish – trey
  • Beef – saik gow
  • Pork – saik chrook
  • Chicken – saik mowan
  • Crab – k’daam
  • Lobster – bawng khawng
  • Shrimp – bawng khia
  • Squid – meuk
  • Vegetables – buhn plae

Cooked:

  • Fried – chaa / jhien
  • Grilled – ahng
  • Steamed – dyam’hoi
  • Rice porridge – boboh/bobor
  • Rice Noodles with Vegetables Soup –kyteuw dak buhn plae
  • Spring Rolls – chaa yaw {fried}, naim {fresh}
  • Noodles – mii {egg/yellow noodles}, kyteuw {rice noodles}
  • Soup – sup
  • Curry – ka-ari

Your Basic Ingredients and Condiments:

  • Salt – umbahl
  • Sugar – skow /skor
  • Pepper – m’raik
  • Ginger – kh’nyei
  • Garlic – kh’tom saw
  • Fish Sauce – teuk trey
  • Soy Sauce – teuk si-iw
  • Chili – m’teh
  • Lemon grass – sluk krai

Drinks:

  • Water- teuk
  • Ice – teuk kho
  • Beer – beer
  • Soda – coca
  • Hot Coffee – cafe kdouw
  • Cold Coffee – cafe teuk kho
  • Tea – tai
  • Tea with milk – tai teuk duh kho
  • Milk – teuk duh kho
  • Sugar cane juice – teuk umpow
  • Mixed fruit shake – teuk krolohk chek
  • Orange juice – teuk krowit por sat

All about Fruits:

  • banana – chek
  • apple – phlae i powm
  • dragon fruit – phlae srakaa neak
  • grapes – tompeung baai chu
  • lemon- krow’it cha’maa
  • Lychee – krow’it khwait
  • Mango – svay
  • Orange – krow’it por sat
  • Papaya – low’hong
  • Pineapple – menowa
  • Watermelon – ewv luhk

Phrases:

  • I would like – Khnyom sohm..
  • Please – sohm
  • Thank you – ow’khun
  • Excuse me – sohm to
  • Bill please – sohm ket luy
  • Not too spicy, please – sohm kohm toe hal pek
  • This is delicious – a nih ch’ngun nah
  • Please bring me – sohm yohk mao..

More basic:

  • restaurant – resturan
  • market – psar
  • fork – sawm
  • spoon-slapreea
  • plate – jaan


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