10 Must-Try Cambodian Dishes

Cambodia offers more than just temples and spectacular ancient ruins - visitors are given the opportunity to experience the ultimate gastronomic indulgence throughout their stay here. An average meal in this region typically consists of dishes of contrasting textures and flavours, served with an obligatory bowl of freshly steamed local rice.

Each dish is heartily prepared using numerous types of herbs and pickled vegetables, and dipping sauces of all colour sorts are always readily sitting on the tables, acting as a magical taste-enhancing potion that must not be disregarded during meals.

While there are countless Cambodian dishes worth mentioning, listed below are 10 of my top picks which I think you should definitely try!

Table of Content

10 Must-Try Cambodian Dishes

Num Banh Chok

Behold the culinary embodiment of Cambodian mornings: Num Banh Chok. This dish, a testament to the delicate art of handcrafted cuisine, catapults one into a simple, heartening gastronomic journey. At the break of dawn, the rhythmic hum of stone mills echoes through the air, as it churns out velvety strands of rice noodles, marking the first act of this culinary spectacle. The following scenes involve a sumptuously ambrosial fish gravy, carefully cooked to embrace each noodle lovingly.

The grand finale? A burst of vibrant, ethereal freshness—with the convincing crunch of banana blossoms, the whimsical flutter of water lily stems and the intoxicating fragrance of freshly plucked herbs. Num Banh Chok, in all its authentic simplicity, is a truly gratifying feast, dancing between tradition and innovation, and a veritable exploration of cultural Cambodia on a plate.

Nom banh chok
Nom banh chok in Cambodia

Khmer Red Curry

This captivating dish dances a different rhythm to it's Thai cousin, embracing a subtle, less fiery charm. Hallmarked by its creamy base of fresh coconut milk, this culinary treasure marries it with a symphony of Kroeung, Cambodia's fragrant secret weapon of marinade.

Now, picture this - succulent pieces of beef or chicken swathed in this exotic mix, harmoniously entwined with the zesty punch of lemongrass and the smokey notes of eggplant. And for the grand finale, the soft crunch of beans meets the earthy goodness of potatoes. But here's the clincher: don't reach for your spoons, my friend. In the true spirit of Khmer tradition, this delightful curry is best savoured with a side of soft, pillowy bread that's waiting to soak up every drop of flavour.

most popular cambodian street food
Khmer Red Curry

Lok Lak

Nestling comfortably at the top of our personal favourites, this hearty meal holds within its flavours the historic footprints of cultural exchange. The tale unravels across time; from the distant kitchens of Vietnam, through the French, and ultimately, delivered into the hungry bellies of Cambodia.

At the heart of Lok Lak is lush, tender meat—be it beef, chicken or fish, and here's the beauty of it, the choice is yours. Once decided, this chosen one is treated to a smoky, stir-fry waltz with robust soy sauce and the renowned Kampot pepper—a dance in the culinary world that creates a symphony of flavours. To balance out this vivacious number, Lok Lak is served atop a bed of crisp lettuce and succulent tomatoes, making every bite a melodious blend of textures and taste.

Lok Lak in Cambodia
Lok Lak in Cambodia

Fish Amok

'Amok,' a term that adds a beautiful rhythm to the dish, stands tribute to the ancient cooking technique of steam-baking a symphony of exotic flavours encased in the cradle of a banana leaf. Think of it as a tender, aromatic present, waiting to be unravelled.

Typically, the star of this gastronomic ballet is fish, although the delectable dance of beef or chicken in its place is not unheard of. Swimming in the dreamy concoction are tantalising attendees such as the subtly spiced galangal, rich, creamy coconut cream, and the zestful whisper of lemongrass. Together, this ensemble elevates the hearty amok to an experience that is as vivid and immersive as Cambodia itself.

Fish Amok in cambodia
Fish Amok in Cambodia

Grilled Frog

Whether charred to perfection over a blazing, open grill or crisped to a golden hue in simmering oil, frogs are no stranger to the gastronomic scene of this captivating land. Sourced responsibly from the wild, these humble amphibians are celebrated as nature's little powerhouses of protein. As each morsel bursts with earthy flavours, imagine yourself absorbing the vitality of the Cambodian wilderness. Breaking through cultural boundaries and opening your palate to local delicacies such as this can be both an enlightening journey and a spirited adventure in itself.

Grilled Frog in cambodia
Grilled Frog in Cambodia

Kampot Pepper Crab

This dish is a vibrant explosion of flavours, brimming with Cambodia's famed fiery peppercorns, grown right in the heart of the nation. Nestled on Cambodia's sun-kissed southern coast, the bustling town of Kampot is renowned not just for its brilliant gold mines of pepper but also for being a beacon of fresh, succulent seafood. Imagine biting into tender crab meat, only to be greeted by a tongue-tingling punch of peppery zest; it's a taste adventure you won't soon forget!

Kampot Pepper Crab
Kampot Pepper Crab in Cambodia

Fish on the Fire Lake

Leap into the fiery lap of local delicacies with Trei Bung Kanh Chhet, affectionately known by foreign tongues as 'Fish on the Fire Lake'. Diving into a bubbling cascade of boiling oil, each catch is deep-fried to crispy perfection, gifting each mouthwatering morsel with a delicate balance of crunchiness and succulence.

Emerged from its fiery baptism, the golden-brown fish takes a delightful dip into a lush coconut curry. This fragrant concoction is no ordinary curry – it's a symphony of hot chilies, tender cabbage, and golden-yellow kroeung, a local Cambodian spice paste. The result? A dish that dances with the daring fusion of flavours, teetering on the thin line between sweet, savoury, and a subtle undercurrent of heat.

Fish on the Fire Lake
Fish on the Fire Lake in Cambodia

Red Tree Ants with Beef Stir-Fry

Paint your plate with one delicacy that tops the menu—Red Tree Ants stir-fried with succulent slices of beef. This dish, my friends, isn't just about the daring fusion of meat and critters; it's about defying the recipe norms and finding flavour harmony in the most unexpected ingredients.

Taking a leaf from the book of healthful salads, this audacious stir-fry is generously littered with a vibrant medley of aromatic vegetables. Imagine teasing bites of fiery ginger, tangy lemongrass, fragrant holy basil leaves, crunchy shallots, fragrant garlic, all playing with a mind-tickling mix of chilies.

Red Tree Ants with Beef Stir-fry
Red Tree Ants with Beef Stir-Fry in Cambodia

Morning Glory

A versatile green that twirls its way into an array of dishes, this unassuming gem is the secret backbone of curries, salads, soups, and stir-fries alike. Picture feathery, tender leaves clinging to buoyant, hollow stems, where each gentle crunch reveals a wholesome burst of mild, grassy goodness – not unlike the embrace of fresh spinach. But Tra Kuen is not just another leaf in the garden; it shares a story that dances across our taste buds, drawing a vibrant map of culinary delights, as we meander through the scrumptious canvas of Southeast Asian fare.

Morning Glory recipe in cambodia
Morning Glory dish in Cambodia

Bai Sach Chrouk

Seemingly simple with its humble ingredients of pork and rice, this dish has proven that sometimes, the most extraordinary flavours are born of simplicity. Tender pork steaks, carefully marinated in a seductive blend of aromatic garlic and rich coconut milk, are then lovingly grilled over hot charcoal. 

Every piece is transformed into perfectly seared steaks boasting an addictive charred exterior that wraps around tender, flavourful interiors. Paired with a humble serving of fluffy rice, Bai Sach Chrouk is more than just a dish—it's a national love-affair served on a plate!

Bai Sach Chrouk
Bai Sach Chrouk in Cambodia

Have a feast to celebrate your days in hot, exotic Cambodia! Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


  1. never been to cambodia. hopefully after the pandemic. all the food look yums except one . lol. have u try the grilled frog?

  2. I never been to Cambodia. Most of my friends have travelled there. They said Cambodia is a very interesting country.I would like to travel there too after this pandemic ends. thank you for sharing this list of food.

  3. I remember when I was in Siem Reap, I was less than impressed with the local food. But maybe that's because I didn't try any of these delicious-looking food you shared here. I must pay another visit.

  4. Betul ke orang Combodia ni suka makan ikan, kebanyakkan menu mereka semua ikan?.. Fish Amok tu pernah tengok youtube orang masak, nampak sedap..

  5. lolak dan fish amor yang i ras abetul2 nak cuba kalau ke cambodia...tak pernah lagi sampai ke sini..hope one fine day...boleh lawat negara yg kaya dengan sejarah peperangan ini

  6. Wahhh this is important lists for me to keep it for my next trip.. I never been to Cambodia before.. Already in my plan but ya dont know when only can fulfill it...

  7. woww nampak sedap masakan cambodian ni..iena tak pernah makan lagi masakan cambodian ni ..lepasni boleh la cuba :D

  8. Tak pernah makan makanan dan pergi ke cambodia. Boleh cuba kalau ada di Malaysia

  9. Nampak menarik terutamanya ikan tu... tak pernah lagi makan makanan Cambodia ni..

  10. Never had a chance to try Cambodian food. All looks so delicious and yummy except the fried frogs 😅.

  11. lok lak tu nampak sedap dan macam mudah je nak cuba masak kalau jumpa resepinya

  12. I have been there once, the fish amok is delicious its like otak otak in Malaysia but with more fresh fish inside


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