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The variations of rice noodles show the influences from Chinese cuisine whereas curry dishes show the influences from Indian cuisine. Fish are cooked fresh, or eaten dry or salted. Cambodians like seasoning such as hot peppers, lemon grass, ginger and mint. Cambodians also use fish sauce. Fish sauce is used as a dipping sauce, is also used in soups, stir-fried cuisine The main ingredient of many curries and desserts are coconut milk. Cambodians like sweet desserts which are made from either fruit or rice. Now in Australia they eat less sweet to reduce the sugar level. Cambodians also drink tea and coffee with condensed milk which was introduced by the French. Cambodian food is influenced by Vietnamese and Thai food but it is not as spicy as Thai food. Cambodian use forks and spoons and chopsticks. Typically Cambodians have at least 3 or 4 separate dishes for every meal. Each dish has different taste, sweet, sour, salty or bitter.

Some of the Cambodian dishes are:

  • “Amok” - people steam catfish with curry in banana leaf cups.
  • “Sngow chroouk mwun” - sour chicken soup with herbs.
  • ‘Seang ktih’- fermented soy bean dip served with fresh vegetables.
  • ‘Samlor mchou kroeung sut ko’ – spiced beef in sour soup
  • “Sngow mureah” – soup with bitter gourd stuffed with minced pork.
  • “Num sang khya lpeou” – pumpkin custard made with egg yolks, palm sugar and coconut milk.
  • “Num Chak” – Sticky rice and coconut grilled in Chak leaf.

    Ingredients

    Spices

    Chilli, tamarind is a common ingredient for sour dishes, and is a common soup base. Star anise – a must-have when Cambodians have to caramelize meats such as pork in palm sugar. Other essential spices in are tumeric, galangal, ginger, lemon grass and kaffir lime. These spices are essential in stews and almost all curries.

    Cambodians also use Kroeung – a spice paste in their cooking, it is an important aromatic paste. It is a spice blend -combines of ingredients such as cardamom, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and tumeric [ originally from India] , these are blended with native ingredients such as lemon grass, galangal, garlic, shallots, cilantro and kaffir lime leaves.

    Vegetables

    Cambodians use vegetables such as winter melon, bitter melon, luffa and yardlong beans, squash in soups and stews. Whereas vegetables like mushrooms, cabbage, baby com, bamboo shoots, fresh gingers, Chinese broccoli, snow peas, bok choy are found in stir fry dishes. Banana blossoms are sliced and added to some noodle dishes like nom banh chok.

  • Fruits

    Some of the popular fruits are durian, mangosteen, sapodilla, pineapple, star apple, rose apple, coconut, jackfruit, papaya, watermelon, banana, mango, rambutans. Some ripe fruits such as water melon, pineapples can also be eaten with heavily salted fish and plain rice. Popular fruits for shakes are durian, mangoes and bananas.

    Fish

    Fish is the common diet in the Cambodian cuisine. Cambodians use dried salted fish, known as trei ngeat. It is eaten with plain rice porridge. Amok is a popular dish, Cambodians use catfish and steam it in a savory coconut based curry.

    Meat

    In Cambodian cuisine, beef and chicken are stewed, grilled or stir fried. Cambodians use pork to make sweet sausages known as twah ko. Rosted duck in Chinese bbq style is popular during festivals.

    Some of the Cambodian main dishes are sweet and sour soup with fish, it is popular in Cambodian kitchens fish, pineapple, okra, celery, tamarind powder, tomatoes, Asian rhubarb, bean sprouts, and lemon grass

    Herbs

    Following are some of the herbs used in the Cambodian cuisine:

  • perilla
  • Basil
  • Heartleaf [ houttuynia cordata]
  • Chinese chives [ allium tuberosum]
  • Coriander used as a garnish in many dishes. Eg. Beef noodle soup, congee