Despite not being the capital, Siem Reap is arguably the most famous city in Cambodia because of Angkor Wat. While you may be anxious to explore the ancient ruins, why not sample the local Khmer cuisine as well? Most people’s impression of Cambodian food doesn’t extend beyond amok – steam-cooked curry in banana leaves – so here are five more to add to your list:
#1 Pumpkin duck egg custard
An unexpectedly decadent dessert, the pumpkin duck egg custard is an intriguing piece. The pumpkin is first hollowed out to get rid of the seeds before a custard mix made with duck egg is poured inside. The whole thing is then cooked over a wood fire until the custard is done, then the dessert is served in slices as though it’s a cake. A perfect balance of custard and pumpkin, it’s satisfying without being overly sweet.
#2 Khmer herb cocktails
While Siem Reap doesn’t have its own signature cocktail, like some cities, there are certainly ones with a local twist. Cocktails such as Tamarind Sauce uses local ingredients like rice paddy herbs, tamarind and kaffir leaf as part of their ingredients, providing visitors with a unique beverage to accompany their evening.
#3 Korko soup
Once a royal dish fit for the king, korko soup is also known as vegetable or stirring soup. Its ingredients include a variety of vegetable and herbs which are continuously stirred, hence the name. While the name indicates this is a vegetarian dish, korko soup is often cooked with chicken and fish paste.
A fermented fish paste that can be eaten alone or as a condiment, prahok is a favourite local seasoning. Sometimes referred to as the salt of Cambodia, or Cambodian cheese, it was first introduced as a way to preserve fresh fish. While it is a favourite of the locals, the scent can often prove overwhelming for visitors.
Read also: 6 unforgettable things to do in Siem Reap
#5 Num banh chok
The breakfast of choice for the locals, num banh chok is a rice noodle dish with a herb-heavy coconut fish broth. The rice noodles are usually handmade from scratch, while the broth is brewed with lemongrass and other locally foraged herbs. The noodles are served with an abundance of raw greens on top that prove a refreshing mix. The dish is sold on the streets in little plastic bags in the morning.