[Khmer Girl cleans the glass front of her restaurent in Psar Chas (Old Market), Siem Reap.]
Khmer food is not usually spicy but what it lacks in spice it adds in fragrance. Dishes are usually dozed with peppers, lemon grass and coriander. Khmer cuisine borrows from many neighboring Asian cuisines and like most things in Indo-china the cuisine is the explosive result of two cultures - Indian and Chinese meeting in a cooking pot or a wok.
[Cambodian Soup being served - straight out of the the pots it was being served in to hungry customers]
The streets in Cambodia are littered with street hawkers selling their particular dish – from fried noodles to baguettes to charcoal-grilled meats and fresh fruit and ice-cream - from hand-carts or from baskets dangling from a shoulder pole. My next snack is never far. When in search for a cheap meal I find myself a market – which I find comes with an entire coterie of food stalls each selling their own specialty dishes – noodles soups, rice dumplings and rice porridge. Turn a corner and I'll find meat being grilled on charcoal, to be served with a spicy raw papaya salad and herbs, best downed with an Angkor Beer. Then there is the Cambodian equivalent of an Indian Dhabha, usually recognized by a row of pots on a slow burner on a table out in front. Who needs a menu when you can choose your next meal by lifting the lids and peering into the various simmering pots of food, pointing out what you like, smiling and then waiting for the meal to arrive at a nearby table and then proceeding to dig in.
[Bananas at Psar Chas Market]
Here is a list of stuff I’ve sunk my teeth into till now.
I'm told this is Cambodia's national dish, which I understand is Baked fish wrapped in a coconut leaf and cooked with green chillis and lemon grass - served in a green coconut curry. It reminded me of something in between a Thai Curry and something you would eat in Kerela.
Cambodian Rice Noodle Soup – Kyteow
This was my breakfast today which I acquired at a food stall in Psar Chas. The Soup, was basically thin rice noodles in a clear broth with chunks of boned chicken swimming in with bean sprouts, potatoes and bell peppers. The soup's other ingredients I couldn't make out initially but later found out to be sliced gizzards and congealed blood – they made the soup appear sinister in hindsight but ignorance being bliss I quite enjoyed my soup.
Well I'll add stuff to this list as and when I do eat something new and interesting - Fried crickets anybody ?