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6 Amazing Foods to Try On Your Cambodian Holiday

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Cambodian cuisine has long been overshadowed by foods from neighbouring Asian nations – yet if you have ever been on a holiday to Cambodia, you know that once you try the food, there’s no going back! If you are planning a Cambodian holiday in the near future, here are some of the country’s most amazing dishes that will test your adventurous palate!   

1. Red Tree Ants with Beef and Basil

At a restaurant called Romdeng in Phnom Penh, bold travellers can try Cambodia’s infamous stir-fried red tree ants with a side of beef and holy basil. To prepare this dish, a generous helping of red ants is added to a stir-fry of ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallots and thin slices of beef. While the ants may be small, they help infuse the beef with a delicate and surprisingly tempting flavour.

2. Ang Dtray-Meuk (Grilled Squid)

Cambodia is blessed with an endless variety of fresh seafood, so it is no surprise that one of the most popular dishes here is grilled squid. In seaside towns, such as Sihanoukville, you will easily find street vendors and restaurants selling this specialty. After brushing the squid with lime juice or fish sauce, it is barbequed on wooden skewers and covered in a delicious sauce made from garlic, chillies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.

3. Kep Crab

If you love crab and are heading south on your holiday in Cambodia, check out the crab market in the town of Kep. This market consists of a series of restaurants next to the sea, where vendors simply wade in, grab a crab from inside a trap and cook it for you before your eyes! The crabs are usually sautéed with vegetables, like peppers and onions, along with Kampot peppercorns and other spices.

4. Lap Khmer (Khmer Beef Salad)

Lap Khmer is a popular and refreshing dish filled with thinly sliced beef that is 'cooked' by marinating it in lime juice. If you are not interested in eating raw meat, look for the same dish with grilled beef instead. The salad is then dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, basil, mint, green pepper, green beans and plenty of red chillies. While you can find this dish just about everywhere in Cambodia, it is especially good at the Phsar Chas Market in Siem Reap.

5. Grilled or Fried Bananas

Bananas are common in Cambodia, so it’s no wonder that locals have found various ways to dress them up a little. You will find bananas at just about any market in Cambodia prepared in one of two ways: either put on a skewer and grilled over a charcoal fire or fried in a coating of batter and black sesame seeds. Look for them at popular street markets, such as the Orussey Market in Phnom Penh.

6. Fried Spiders

While you can find fried spiders almost anywhere in Cambodia, it is definitely worth heading to the market in Sihanoukville to get your fix. As it turns out, the Skuon spider – a tarantula – is one of the tastiest insects around, especially when deep fried and served with garlic and salt. This is definitely a must-try dish on your holiday in Cambodia, especially if you are keen on true, cultural Cambodian experience!

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