Cambodian Food Culture: Subtle spices and delicate herbs
Unlike the culinary colossuses that are its neighbours, Cambodia is not that well known in international food circles, but all that looks set to change. Just as Angkor has put Cambodia on the tourist map, so too amok (baked fish with lemongrass-based kreung paste, coconut and chilli in banana leaf) could put the country on the culinary map.
Cambodia has a great variety of national dishes, some similar to the cuisine of neighbouring Thailand and Laos, others closer to Chinese and Vietnamese cooking, but all come with a unique Cambodian twist as we learned from local people.
As well as eating the notorious tarantulas of Skuon, Cambodians also like to eat crickets, beetles, larvae and ants. The latest was the only one we were proud enough to try. The tarantulas with its hairy legs were just too much for our culinary curiosity.
Cambodia is a crossroads in Asia, the meeting point of the great civilisations of India and China, and, just as its culture has drawn on both, so too has its cuisine. Whether it is spring rolls or curry that made us fancy, we found it all in Cambodian cooking.
As soon as we were about to really like and enjoy the culinary diversity of Cambodia, we left the country already again and headed off to Bangkok, the food capital of SEA.
But until then, so long…