Friday, October 13, 2017

Cambodia Food Hunt: Hit or Miss


It was the start of our Phnom Penh adventure and we're looking for our first meal in the city, it was dinnertime. After leaving two restaurants upon seeing the not-so-backpacker-friendly prices, we found a roadside eatery that would fit in our budget. Rice meals with various Khmer dishes were contained in pots and you choose whatever you want and will be given a portion of it; reminiscent of what we have back in the Philippines. For fifteen days, we searched for our food options in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Samloem and somewhat grasped the local food culture of Cambodia.

Filipinos are accustomed in having a three-meals-a-day routine which usually consists of rice meals. It was our third visit in Cambodia, but this time, we veered away from our usual Siem Reap routes and ventured into a new journey that I could write my own essay on time about it.

It was our annual backpacking trip, Same Same Summer Trip 2017, and we went back to some of our favorite countries in Southeast Asia to explore new destinations that we failed to visit during the past. We revisited Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam for two solid months; away from our comfort zone as well as our comfort food.



For fifteen days, we searched for local Khmer dishes in the country. It was a hit or miss though because, well, our budget didn't allow us to splurge as much as we want to.

So check out my recent food hunt in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Siem Reap



Our third visit in this city allowed us to curve round with the usual Angkor temple tours. We decided our fate for the day the moment we wake up each morning. For four days, breakfasts were spent at Victoria Angkor Resort while our meals for lunch and dinner were either on a mid-range restaurant or roadside eatery (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Siem Reap).


Khmer Food Cambodia
Khmer Kitchen, Siem Reap
Khmer Food Cambodia
Iced Coffee ($2.50)
So-So. Malaysian Coffee is still the best.
Khmer Food Cambodia Fish Amok
Fish Amok ($6.50)
Coconut cream, amok paste, long bean, onion, noni leaf and egg.
Perfect with steamed rice!
Khmer Food Cambodia Pork Lok Lak
Pork Lok Lak ($5.00)
Cambodian style fried lok lak with pepper sauce and topped with fried egg.
One of my favorite Khmer dishes.
Khmer Food Cambodia Beef Lok Lak
Beef Lok Lak ($3.50)
The sauce is tasty but the meat isn't tender.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Fried Noodles and Baguette ($1.50 | $0.50)
Riverside favorite snack.
Khmer Food Cambodia Insects Snacks
Bugs For Snacks
Crispy. Crunchy. Tasty. But once is enough. Haha.

Phnom Penh

It was a short and sweet stay at the capital city of Phnom Penh for three days. We had our breakfasts at Billabong Hotel and Hostel, and all other meals were either on a fast food or hawker stalls. We also met up with Kounila, a renowned travel blogger and entrepreneur who’s based in Phnom Penh, and had a wonderful food trippin’ session at the Russian Market (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Phnom Penh). 

Khmer Food Cambodia KFC
Finally, fast food! ($7.10)
I'm missin' the fried chicken's gravy dip.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Roadside Eatery Food #1 ($1.00)
The meat is rubbery.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Roadside Eatery Food #2 ($1.00)
Tastes like Philippine sausages.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Roadside Eatery Food #3 ($1.00)
Tastes like the Philippines' Adobo with Egg.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Roadside Eatery Food #4 ($1.00)
Tastes like Beef Tapa.
Bok Beer Cambodia
Bok Beer ($3.00)
Cambodia Beer + chili + lime + salt
You have to try this!
Khmer Food Cambodia
Congee Stall
Khmer Food Cambodia
Chicken Congee ($1.00)
Sweet and Salty Congee.
Meet-up with Kounila of www.wheninphnompenh.com

Sihanoukville

We stayed at Otres Beach in Sihanoukville for almost a week. For an area with limited dining options, we sought the comfort of our resort, Penguin Pablo Bungalows, for our dinner and a local eatery at the market for our brunch fix. Surprisingly, it was in Sihanoukville that I truly appreciated the diversity of Khmer food.

Khmer Food Cambodia
Train Stop Food ($2.00)
The pickled mango made all the difference.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Bai Sach Chrouk ($1.50/meal)
Khmer Traditional Breakfast
We added fried egg which made it more yummy.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Beachside Snacks ($1.00)
The spicy sauce and sliced cucumbers were the perfect match.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Fried Crustacean ($1.00)
Feels like lobster but not quite.
Khmer Food Cambodia
Fried Chicken, etc. ($4.00)
Juicy and tasty.
Samai Cambodia Local Rum
Local Premium Rum ($5.00)
Handcrafted rum with the best quality Cambodian sugarcane. Distilled in 1800's copper still and aged in
Freanch and American oak barrel with natural hints of oak, vanilla, caramelized honey, and dark chocolate.
Klang Beer Cambodia
Klang Beer ($0.50)
The cheapest on the minimart but gave the right buzz on the beach.

Koh Rong Samloem

For three days, it was only on the first and last day that we had a decent meal, blame it on the high cost of living on the island Koh Rong Samloem. Both times, the two of us shared a meal of fish amok and steamed rice which was good for one person priced at $8. All other meals were bought on a lone beachfront minimart such as sardines ($2), French baguette ($1), coffee ($1), and instant noodles ($1). In terms of food, this part of the trip was the most depressing part (if only we have loads of cash with us).


Khmer Food Cambodia Fish Amok
Fish Amok ($7.00)
The most expensive amok we had but my least favorite.
I like how Khmer food is somewhat similar to what I grew up eating back home. I specifically loved lok lak, amok and of course, the best green mangoes in the world plus the salt and chili dip (Philippines still has the best ripe mangoes though). Next time, I’ll make sure we have enough cash to spare on our glutton sessions, I’m sure there’ll be next time.



Check here for discounted hotels in Cambodia








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