The complex, sour, spicy and sweet flavors of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine may be the rock stars of Southeast Asian food, but the Khmer dishes slung at Siem Reap food stalls and crafted over the coals of local restaurants are certainly worth sampling.
Hungry locals rise and shine with hearty portions of bai sach shrouk. This traditional pork and rice dish blends thinly sliced pork with coconut milk, ginger, pickled cucumbers and daikon. It’s served steaming hot at nearly every street corner with a small side of savory chicken broth.
In a region that’s famous for curry, Khmer red curry is a must-try. This less-spicy cousin of Thai curry is usually served on special occasions, and it’s perfect for travelers who love the rich coconut and spices of traditional curry but without the serious kick of heat. The thick saucy stew usually includes chicken, beef or fish, and it’s served with crusty loaves of bread rather than piles of rice—a nod to the French colonial times.
Pho lovers can tuck into piping hot bowls of nom bahn chok—popular Khmer noodles made from hand-pounded rice. Like bai sach shrouk, this dish is most often served at breakfast, but travelers to Cambodia will find street chefs whipping up bowls of this popular dish any time of day. Fresh mint leaves, crunchy bean sprouts, banana flower and spices are sprinkled across the fish-based green curry broth, giving a fresh flavor to this Khmer favorite.