Moan Cha Kdov (Cambodian Chicken Dish)
Updated: Thank you Toe for the help on naming the dishes 😀
Let me start first that by saying that I’m no food critic nor a gourmet expert and my cooking skills rank below 5 out 10. But one thing I know is that I do appreciate good food and binge into what I really enjoy. And in any adventure, I always try to be as adventurous with the local dish as well. Cambodia is no exception of course, a taste of Khmer Cuisine is a welcome experience.
But apologies if I forgot the names of some of the dishes. Any help on identifying them would be welcome (help Toe! hehe). Like the dish above is a Khmer chicken dish we ate for lunch at a restaurant near Srah Srang worth USD$ 3. It has that semi mint lemon grass taste and the sauce is a bit on a sweet and sour side.
Chrouk (Khmer pork dish)
Now the dish above is a pork counterpart on the same restaurant, lots of bell peppers on this one. But the meat is kinda rubbery, same with the beef so I didn’t like it that much.
Amok is a popular food in Cambodia, it is usually coconut milk steamed with fish. For this one though I preferred Tofu, and the dish also has lots of kalabasa and potatoes. Ordered this at Khmer Kitchen, a lonely planet recommended restaurant at Psar Chaa. All in all it taste okay and is similar to our local gata dishes with some added spices.
Koukep (Frog Curry)
Now the one above is a first for me, yes Frog Curry. It actually taste a bit like chicken only more bony in little tiny bits. Curry here is a bit different. All in all it taste ok, not something to jump around though. What would I expect from eating on a nearby carinderia.
Chicken on Sugar Palm soup
The Khor Moan (Chicken on sugar palm) above is also on the same carinderia we ate at. Honestly it is very similar to our adobo, only this one is a lot sweeter.
Sachkor (Beef with oyster sauce)
Now the food above is from the restaurant in our hotel at Golden Temple Villa. This Beef with oyster sauce is part of a 3 dish meal combo they serve with rice on this leafy bowls. Presentation is actually very nice. When I try to move the leaf bowls it somehow breaks and the soup leaks out. Wondering how they prepared this. And the taste is very good as well.
Fried Chicken Breakfast
Now during temple exploration, it’s inevitable that you have to eat at nearby stalls come breakfast or lunch. And I must say that prices in these stalls are much expensive that those nice restaurants in Siem Reap. The above Fried Chicken is actually USD$ 3 bought at a stall near Bayon. But I was surprised on how it was presented. At first I thought they would present it like the usual fried chicken, but this one has cucumber and strips of carrots with skinless and boneless chicken served. It’s actually very good and healthy.
In general for me Khmer food is okay, mostly it’s subtle in taste with a touch of lemon grass consistent in all the dishes. Though I enjoy eating khmer dishes I still long for the strong flavors and spicy dishes though.
An additional travel tip here though, sometimes your Tuktuk driver will take you to some restaurants or eateries they know. Most of the time they have a commissions here or they driver get to eat fro free or at a reduced price at the restaurant when they bring in customers. If you have a particular restaurant in mind insist on going there instead. Also we learned from our driver that food prices here differ when your a local or a tourist (Arghh!), of course tourist gets the higher price.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.