Central Lowland - Phnom Penh, Cuisine

Take a Culinary Exploration from Traditional to Contemporary

Fish Amok, a major national culinary tradition in Cambodia (All Dreams Cambodia/shutterstock)
Fish Amok, a major national culinary tradition in Cambodia (All Dreams Cambodia/shutterstock)

Traditional Khmer dishes, lively barbecue joints, authentic street food and modern bistros — any mouth watering flavours you dream about will come to life in Phnom Penh and surrounding areas.

Start your day with nom banh chok — a breakfast staple of fermented noodles in a light, flavourful broth (you might also enjoy it as an afternoon snack). This satisfying dish is so linked to Cambodian culture you can also ask for it as Khmer noodles.

Continue your culinary journey with fish amok (amok trei), Cambodia’s signature dish of fish curry steamed in a banana leaf. Deep flavours emerge from a rich spice paste, yellow kroeung, that forms the base of many Khmer dishes. Pair it with a fresh, tangy banana blossom salad for a refreshing side dish.

French influences run strong in Cambodian cuisine, evident in the popular lok lak. Sink your teeth into this savoury stir-fried beef that’s served alongside a fresh green salad with tomatoes and cucumber.

Soria skybar at Phnom Penh Rosewood Hotel (All Dreams Cambodia / Rosewood Phnom Penh)

If you’ve brought your sense of adventure, the vibrant Psar Reatrey night market has plenty of local dishes as well as stalls serving up seasoned grasshoppers and other protein-rich insects. You may even encounter fried tarantulas on your journey! While these oversized, eight-legged creatures might be off-putting at first sight, the salty seasoning, deep-fried preparation and dipping sauce make them palatable and create a lifetime of bragging rights.

Make your way into a barbecue restaurant for a delicious platter of grilled meat washed down with a local beer. Beef, pork and chicken may be served right alongside crocodile, frog and snake.

Keep the festivities going into the night on a rooftop bar or in a trendy lounge in the Tonle Bassac district, order fun cocktails at a Riverside restaurant, or wander in and out of tucked-away bars on Bassac Lane. Wherever the adventure takes you, Phnom Penh’s dining scene will match your energy every step of the way.

What to read next