I love street food! Sampling Khmer street food was one of the firsts on my to do list when we got here. I know some people (esp. my mom :P) would always say, ït can be unsafe or it may be unclean but so far I haven’t anything wrong with my stomach. I am just lucky I think..
Street food here in Cambodia is plentiful and really varied. Although I haven’t summed up the courage to feast on the exotic fried insects, I have been trying out different types of food sold along the streets and the markets. Like most Asians, I’ve observed eating along the streets is so part of Cambodia culture. You can find places like these along the streets everywhere and mostly they serve nom pang sandwiches,fried meat balls, hotdogs and other finger foods, plus fruit shakes. Very much like out “fish ball/squid balls stalls” in the Philippines the only difference is that here they serve it with lots of cucumbers and herbs and they like sitting it out when eating.
Near the riverside, there are also “picnic places” that Khmers like frequenting. Mats are spread about the area and you can order grilled squid, fried noodles, fruits, and drinks. This places are specially crowded during the weekends..
When you roam along the streets and the markets here, one of the first things you’ll notice are those vendors selling nom pang – A legacy of the French – delicious french breads baked everyday! and if you are here in Cambodia, have your fill of these crunchy, yummy bread as it comes really cheap. About 500R or less than $.15! You can also try it out the way Khmers eat it – with pate, cucumbers, onion, butter, sardines and pickles. With the pate fillings it would cost about $.50 from street vendors and about $1 from bakeries. Now beat that, Subway! This is now one of my favorite snacks and its great for breakfast too..
This country is blessed with many tropical fruits and these are available at cheap prices in most markets. I love this orange in particular and we’ve made it a habit to drink fresh juice from this everyday. Goes for about $1 per dozen.
Sample the Cambodian fruit shake called the teuk krou lok. Made of mixed fruits in season, with condensed milk, ice, and at times egg. When you see those small stalls displaying fruits on glass counters, those are the one’s selling the fruit shake. They are like fruit smoothies and costs about $.50. Cambodian’s like the shake frothy so they add up egg but you can pass on if you don’t like it to be too bubbly and creamy.
Alternatively you can also refresh with a glass of coffee. Almost all corners have coffee shops (if you see a shop with a lot of reclining chairs with several TV’s each showing a different channels – that’s the Khmer version of Starbucks or most Khmer restaurants also serve this) Coffee is served either black (I tried this and I can’t sleep a wink for two whole days!) and iced called cafe teuk dako. I like the iced coffee, in fact I am addicted to it lol! And it costs about $.40 per glass.
image above found via google.com
In the markets you can find amazing variety of native foods. I like the fresh rolls, made with rice wrapper, seafood or pork inside mixed with fresh vegetables and dipped in sweet sour sauce. A bit similar to Vietnamese rolls though these one has milder taste and has more herbs. You can also find nom kutchay, cake made of glutinous rice with kutchay leaves as filling. Fried and eaten with another kind of sweet sour sauce.
Along the streets you can also see a lot of grilled foods. Mostly chicken (Khmers have a liking for chicken feet, as I see lots of it being grilled..), beef, sausages. They also have cooked innards of pig. Same with the grilled food, this is usually served with sauce, and it comes with some vegetables and herbs. Can be eaten with rice so its great for takeout and when I don’t feel like cooking, we go for this at times.
When it comes to desserts, Cambodia has a lot of offerings. Well, there are lots of fruits here, but if you want to try out the native desserts, along the streets and mostly in markets, vendors sell mixes of gelatin, glutinous rice, sweet beans and other sweet stuff served with coconut cream and chilled. You can also have this served with crushed ice and condensed milk very much like the Philippines “halo-halo”.
Native rice cakes which comes in various shapes and sizes. There are sweet specialties like the sticky rice balls with banana stuffings called the ansam chruk. Other sticky rice cakes is the nom bat and nom kom. There is also the pastry and palm sugar mixed and fried then rolled into grated coconut – phleay. There are lots of native delicacies here, mostly served with grated coconut or sesame seeds and drizzled with coconut cream, just like this ones.
I’m not sure what this is called but my daughter like eating it. Soft, yummy plus it’s not so sweet, just tastes really well. One is like the Pinoy “puto” but served with sesame seeds and coconut cream, the other is like “kutchinta” but with ground green beans filling also served with sesame seeds and coconut cream. Costs about $.50 per pack..
Alternatively, you can also have the ice-cream sandwich – I found this weird before but when I tried it, its actually good! No wonder its a big hit with kids.. It’s simply made of bread (usually a french baquette) and filled with home-made ice cream. If you don’t want it with bread, just get the local ice cream. It doesn’t taste bad and it just costs less than $.40.
There’s more street stuff I have to taste here plus I’ve also been sampling some Khmer cuisine (My mother-in-Law is a great cook so I get my fill of these.haha.) and I’ll be posting that sometime soon. Ciao!