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Phnom Penh’s best street food

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According to CNN, Phnom Penh is one of the greatest street food cities. So don’t hesitate and try one of delicious Cambodian threats!

Phnom Penh

phnom penh street food

Cambodians like to snack throughout the day, so it’s no surprise their capitol is teeming with street-food choices.

Depending on what time it is, you’ll find scores of different types of street cuisine being sold by roving vendors or at stationary street stalls that cook on small charcoal grills.

The local markets are also a good source of Khmer snacks, particularly Central, Kandal and Orussei, as well as the streets around the city’s many schools and universities.

Breakfast time and early evenings are particularly busy, as hungry students flood the streets, looking for fried noodles, Cambodian sandwiches and sweet treats.

1.Phnom Penh_Num pang_A classic with a Cambodian twist.

1. Num pang

Baguettes are a lasting legacy of the French colonization of Cambodia — as in Vietnam, they are used for street-side sandwiches that are filled with a mixture of Eastern and Western ingredients.

In Phnom Penh the sandwiches are filled with pate, butter or homemade mayonnaise, spicy red chili paste, crunchy pickled green papaya and carrot and a type of pork bologna and served with soy sauce and fish sauce on the side.

Try it at: Outside Kandal Market, Street 5, Phnom Penh

2.Phnom Penh_Nom-banh-chok_Breakfast that travels to you.

2. Nom banh chok

This popular breakfast food is often called the Cambodian national dish.

It’s usually sold by women carrying the ingredients in baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The noodles are made from fermented rice and topped with aromatic green fish curry gravy, flavored with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric root. Fresh herbs, bean sprouts, banana flower and cucumber are added for a pleasant, refreshing crunch.

Try it at: Russian Market, Street 440, Phnom Penh

3.Phnom Penh_Num plae ai_Eat at your own risk.

3. Num plae ai

These yummy small, round rice dumplings are filled with liquid caramelized palm sugar and topped with fresh coconut shavings.

They’re sometimes called nom somlap pdey, or “dessert that kills your husband,” because the smooth, chewy texture makes num plae ai easy to choke on if you eat them too fast!

Try it at: Top of street 258 and Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

4.Phnom Penh_Bai-sach-chrouk_Get in early.

4. Bai sach chrouk

Bai sach chrouk, or grilled pork with rice, is a simple and delicious breakfast food sold by numerous Phnom Penh street vendors, who usually sell out by 8:30 every morning.

Thinly sliced pork that’s been marinated in coconut milk or garlic is grilled slowly over warm coals.

It’s served over steamed rice, sometimes with a fried egg, a side of freshly pickled daikon radish and cucumber, and a dab of spicy chili paste.

Try it at: Kandal Market, Street 5, Phnom Penh

5.Phnom Penh_Coconut water_Ask for the food and drink combo.

5. Coconut water

Vendors walk around Phnom Penh with carts piled high with young, green coconuts. They slice the tops off to order so customers can drink the coconut water with a straw. Cambodians believe that coconut water is extremely healthy, and many locals try to drink a coconut every day.

Once you’re finished, you can ask the vendor to slice the coconut open so you can access the flesh inside.

Try it at: Sihanouk Boulevard and Street 51, Phnom Penh

6.Phnom Penh_Fresh fruit_Made to order.

6. Fresh fruit

One of the simplest but most delicious street foods that Phnom Penh has to offer is fresh ripe fruit. Vendors sell juicy pineapple, papaya, dragonfruit, watermelon, guava and green mango out of glass cases.

When you order, they’ll offer to cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces, which are eaten with a wooden skewer, and sprinkle it with entirely unnecessary MSG, sugar and chili.

Try it at: Top of street 258 and Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

7.Phnom Penh_Mi char_Keeps the kids happy.

7. Mi char

Fried noodles are popular with students looking for an afternoon snack once school lets out.

Most noodle sellers carry a few options in their cart — instant noodles from ramen packages, soft yellow egg noodles, or short, thick rice noodles.

They’re stir-fried in fish sauce and soy sauce with beef and greens, and usually a fried egg is added to the equation. Most Cambodians choose to eat mi char with mild, sweet chili sauce.

Try it at: Central Market, Street 53, Phnom Penh

8.Phnom Penh_Kuy tiev_Origin unknown.

8. Kuy teav

You’ll find similar noodle soups in Vietnam and Thailand, but kuy teav is believed to have originated with Chinese immigrants in Cambodia.

Whatever its origins, the soup is a hearty breakfast made with pork or beef broth and thin rice noodles, and topped with fried shallots, green onions and crunchy bean sprouts. Sometimes the soup will also contains prawns, beef balls or pork liver and is served with red chili sauce with vinegar and sugar.

Try it at: Across from Pencil, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

9.Phnom Penh_Ngeav Chamhoy_Eat with beer.

9. Ngeav chamhoy

Cockles steamed with chilies, fragrant lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal are an enticing late-night snack sold street-side and by roving vendors pushing carts with portable steamers.

Ngeav is the Khmer word for a type of native clam known as the blood cockle due to its red color, caused by hemoglobin similar to that in human blood.

Ngeav chamhoy taste best accompanied by a spicy chili sauce and washed down with a cold beer.

Try it at: Street 13, Phnom Penh

10.Phnom Penh_Num sang khya l'peou_Things are bound to get messy.

10. Num sang khya l’peou

This treat is as tasty as it is impressive. A pumpkin’s seeds are removed and then it’s filled with egg yolks, palm sugar and coconut milk. The top is put back on and the whole thing is steamed for half an hour.

When it’s done, it’s sliced to best show off the contrasting orange pumpkin flesh filled with smooth, creamy custard.

Try it at: Orussei Market, Street 182, Phnom Penh





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