The street food scene in Cambodia is a cheap and delicious way to grab a tasty meal when out and about. The food stalls are set up on the streets with their plastic tables and chairs are packed from breakfast until late in the evening.
Let's take a look at eleven of the best street food dishes to try in Cambodia:
Bai Sach Chrouk
A serving of bai sach chrouk is a classic meal of rice and pork that fuels the Cambodian people in the mornings. The pork is sweet and succulent and slowly grilled over charcoal. Plus, the dish is served with crisp, pickled vegetables and a fish based dipping sauce.
Grilled worms and crickets are among the popular edible insects to be found on the Cambodian tours. Other snacks include edible scorpions, spiders and red tree ants. The worms have a nice nutty flavor with a slightly crunchy skin and soft inside, while the crickets are a lot meatier and crunchy. They make a unique dish to taste on the Cambodia holiday and often seen in many of the markets. The insects are typically sold in buckets which can include the individual insects or a mix of several types.
Kralan is Cambodian sticky rice slowly roasted in long bamboo sticks. The bamboo sticky rice is mixed with coconut milk, black beans and grated coconut. It is typically cooked over a charcoal fire to create smoky flavours that are slightly salty and sweet. Special fragrant rice is used in the dish and often harvested from rice fields in Battambang. Kralan is a filling and delicious snack that is enjoyed at any time of the day. This street food dish is particularly popular in Battambang, but is still widely available throughout the country, including in Siem Reap with ladies selling this dish outside the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Kuy teav is a popular noodle soup dish made with pork or beef stock and rice vermicelli. It is a typical breakfast dish with locals and topped with extras like green onions, fried shallots and bean sprouts. The Phnom Penh version of the fish isn’t likely to be for the faint-hearted with the soup including tongue, intestine, liver and blood.
Num Banh Chok
Num banh chok (also known as Khmer noodles) is an ever-present dish. A typical breakfast dish is served with fresh noodles with tasty green fish gravy. But, there are plenty of specialities in the different regions as you travel around the country on the Cambodia tours. A pleasant version of this dish is found in the seaside town of Kampot. The Num banh chok served in this region consists of the noodles with lots of herbs, cucumber, and bean sprouts. A creamy coconut sauce and fish sauce dressing is spooned on top, while finishing touches can include crispy spring roll slices, chopped peanuts and dried shrimp.
Num Kachay is a type of chive cake that is typically seen on the streets of Cambodia. They are made with sticky rice flour and fried in shallow pans. Once cooked, this popular street food is chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside and served with a spicy, sweet fish sauce. Street vendors selling this dish are found pretty much everywhere in Cambodia, and commonly seen at local markets.
Num Krok is a particular favourite on the street food scene and is much like a coconut rice pancake. The pancakes are prepared savoury or sweet and feature a texture that is crispy on the outside, but extremely light and gooey for the inside. This dish can be served at any time of the day, but it is common to see num krok resting over coals in the afternoons.
Num Pang is Cambodia’s edition of the baguette or sandwich, which is a popular favourite in neighbouring Vietnam. This convenient street food option was introduced by the French at the time of their Indochina colonization. It is typically served with a variety of meaty ingredients like pork, ham or pate with onions, chives, carrots and cucumber. Street vendors selling Num Pang often set up their stalls near office buildings or outside markets.
Sach Ko Jakak
Sach Ko Jakak (translates to beef stick) is barbecued beef with sweet shredded pickle and spices, and widely seen all over Cambodia. A typical spice rubbed over the meat is the Cambodian spice mix kroeung. This spice is made using turmeric, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal. Also, the beef sticks can be placed in a toasted baguette with a delightful green papaya slaw.
Snail may sound like a surprising Cambodia street food, but they are widely available throughout the country, including on the streets of Phnom Penh. The long flat carts are well placed under the bright sun and covered with freshly cooked and seasoned snails. They are left under the sun to give them time to dry out. Snails are sold by the cup or bucket with each spiced with garlic and salt or red chilli sauce. They make a quite interesting snack that appeal to the more adventurous travellers on the Vietnam and Cambodia tours. Also, a further dish to try with the paddy field snails is Amok Chouk, which is snail made with a traditional curry.
Gah-fay dteuk-gork, or iced coffee is a very refreshing and sweet drink to enjoy on the streets of Cambodia. Most of the coffee carts are pulled by converted tuk-tuks or a sidecar on motorbikes. Strong and sweet, the coffee is served in many different ways throughout Cambodia from serving with condensed milk or served black with ice. The coffee carts are visible everywhere, especially in the peak morning hours and after work later in the day.
Read more: Cambodian Food and Drink