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Cambodia -Culture and Cusine

Updated on March 29, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I love beautiful scenery and the changes of the season offer us some scenes of beauty and I love to travel. Learn from travel experience.

Fried Snakes

source mcdfamily
source mcdfamily


Cambodia cuisine could be described as Thai food without the heat. They take some of the best qualities of China, India and Thai cuisine and blend them into a unique culinary experience.

Cambodia is in Southeast Asia nestled between Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Rice has remained a main staple for centuries and is eaten up to three times a day, with noodles being an alternative. The Cambodians like seafood and fish. Beef, pork and chicken are eaten in smaller quantities and are usually sliced or minced and used more as a flavoring. Fruit and fresh vegetables are also widely used as ingredients, as are, lime juice and coconut milk.

Fish sauce and fish paste are also used which give Cambodian food its unique taste. Their favorite spices are Kaffir lime (a type of Lime grown in Eastern Asia), galangal (resembles ginger with a bit of heat), turmeric, garlic, lemon grass, tamarind and ginger which help create a subtle balance of salty, sweet and bitter, making their cuisine one of the most unique in the world. A typical meal consists of soup, salad, main fish dish, vegetables and rice. Desserts are usually based on sticky rice and fresh fruit.

Typical Cambodian Market

Photo Courtesy of flckr
Photo Courtesy of flckr

Typical Truckload of Cambodian People

source ramblen
source ramblen

Traffic on Road Typical of Third World Country

source flickr
source flickr

House in Cambodia

source commons wickimedia
source commons wickimedia

Samlor Machoo Saich Moan

This is a wonderful Cambodian soup with lemon grass and chicken.


  • 900 ml (3 3/4 cups) water
  • 2 stalks of fresh lemon grass
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 50 g (about 1/3 cup.) rice
  • 5 cm fresh galangal or 1 tsp. dried galangal (Find is an Asian grocery store)
  • Pepper
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, skinned and diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped basil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Chili paste (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. freshly chopped coriander
  • 5 Kaffir lime leaves (native to Southern Asia) or 2 tsp. of grated lime peel


Put water, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, rice, galangal and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add the chicken, mixing well and cook for 10 minutes, skimming off any white froth which forms.

Place the spring onions, basil lemon juice, chili paste, coriander and lime leaves in a large serving bowl and mix well.

To serve, pour the soup over the onion mixture in the serving bowl, mix well and serve immediately.

Delicious Fried Rice with Shrimp and more

source vuthasurf
source vuthasurf

Asian Shrimp, Fowl, Pork Fried Rice


  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. hot bean paste or hot bean sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil (olive oil a healthy choice)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 medium size garlic cloves chopped very small
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 6 to 8 small green onions cut cross ways in 1/2” pieces
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots cut cross ways very thin (you can purchase them shredded in the store which works well and cuts down on time).
  • 8 oz. can water chestnuts chopped
  • 1 10 oz package of frozen green baby peas thawed
  • 1/3 pound lean pork cut into 1/2” pieces (thin chops work well.)
  • 1/3 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into 1/2” pieces.
  • 1/2 pound small scrimp pealed and cleaned, more scrimp is sometimes better
  • 6 cups cooked rice chilled – Cook the rice early in the day so it cools and can be refrigerated.
  • 2 tbsp. snipped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 tomato cut in thin wedges
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • Cilantro


In small bowl stir together fish sauce and bean paste. Set aside (this is optional for a spicy fish taste which is the Cambodian type flavor.)

Preheat wok or large skillet over medium high heat.

Add 2 tablespoon cooking oil.

Scramble eggs very lightly, just until they are set, remove from wok and set aside.

Add 2 tbsp. cooking oil to wok, add carrots and water chestnuts, cook for about 2 minutes.

Add pork, chicken, and scrimp, cook until meat starts to change to white texture.

Now add onions, garlic and cilantro stirring lightly.

Add rice to mixture, it will be clumped together so stir well.

Add baby peas and mix well.

At this time add fish sauce and hot bean paste.

Add eggs and mix well.

Cover mixture and cook until hot and steam rises evenly, stirring about every minute.

Spoon meal onto serving plates and place cucumbers and tomatoes around edges.

Garnish with more cilantro if desired.

Use lime and soy sauce to achieve desired taste.

This makes 4 very large servings.

This recipe is fun to play with because you can add other vegetables like snow peas, zucchini sliced thin and so forth. You can also eliminate vegetable is you so choose. We have made this dish many times and it is delicious. It helps if you cut up everything a little earlier in the day, then when you are ready to cook everything is at your fingertips.

Knai Bang Chatt , Kep, Cambodia

Braised Tofu

Photo Courtesy of eCurry
Photo Courtesy of eCurry

Braised Tofu in Spicy Sesame, Peanut Sauce


  • 1/2 block of extra firm tofu
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Piece of fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2-3 hot chili pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion, Cut in to big chunks
  • 2 Teaspoons sesame seeds, (Lightly toasted)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chunky peanut butter (Use smooth peanut butter if desired)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Hot sauce, like Sriracha (to taste)
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tsp.oil (any cooking oil)


Dry off thetofu by gently pressing the block with a paper towel. Slice the tofu into rectangles.

Squeeze half the grated ginger to extract the juice & pour the juice over the tofu and let it sit for at least half an hour. The more the tofu marinates the better.

Roughly crush half the amount of the toasted sesame, with a rolling pin or in a mortar & pestle. Set aside.

Mince the garlic and the hot peppers and crush them in the mortar or pestle (or with rolling pin). Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, hot sauce, the crushed sesame, garlic, ginger, hot pepper & salt plus about 1/3 cup of water.

Whisk until well combined. This is going to be the sauce.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a skillet/pan.

Place the tofu slices in a single layer & cook each side for a couple of minutes at medium heat. Remove & set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil.

Add the chopped onions, broccoli, bell pepper (or any other veggies you desire) and quickly stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the tofu slices carefully, so they do not break.

Pour the ingredients for sauce in the pan.

Bring it to a light boil, and then reduce the heat and cover.

Cook for about 2-4 minutes.

Uncover & increase the heat till some of the water in the sauce dries off.

There still will be a few tablespoons of sauce left, enough to cover the tofu and the vegetables and a little bit more.

Garnish with the rest of the sesame seeds & more hot peppers if desired.

Working on Dirt Road

source common wickipedia
source common wickipedia

Harvesting Rice Field

source travelpod
source travelpod

Loaded Down Motor Cart

source flickr
source flickr


Cambodian people generally are hard working and live a relatively simple life. Eating rice three times a day would be to much for me, but many have no choice and have never lived in another area. Despite the poverty they have some very distinctive recipes; they appear to be basically healthy with their use of vegetables and only small amounts of meat.

Cambodia is a very interesting country with mountains and big valleys where they can harvest three rice crops annually. It would be a very interesting country to visit.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    poetryman, I would pass them along also. I have also had very good Thai food, but I avoid snakes and bugs in any cuisine. Thanks for he comments.

  • poetryman6969 profile image


    6 years ago

    I will pass on the fried snakes but they did get me to look.

    Since everything tastes like chicken I would not mind trying the chicken. I have had Thai food several times so maybe I could go for some of this.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    sunilkunnoth, I would love to visit there also. My son and his family visited there recently and loved it. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

  • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

    Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

    7 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

    Very interesting hub. Thank you for sharing. The pictures are so nice. Love to visit the place. Your hub only intensified my interest to reach the land as early as possible.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    kerlynb, My son and his wife had visited Cambodia twice and love it there. I hope I will be able to visit one day also. Thanks for your comments.

  • kerlynb profile image


    9 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

    This is a well-composed hub. I love the pics that you used and the way you described the Cambodian people - gentle. They really are. Hope many people would just try to go to Cambodia and discover its many beautiful places.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Loves to Read, I felt the same way and I think we are fortunate to have so many good choices of food. Thanks for your comments.

  • Loves To Read profile image

    Loves To Read 

    10 years ago

    As always a great presentation Pam. Although these recipes sound mighty good there are somethings on the menu that i could not see myself eating. I guess us westerners don't know what it is like to be really hungry. : ) The pics are great.

    God Bless

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, I like that one and we have had it several times. Thank you for your comments.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    10 years ago from Georgia

    Thanks for the great information and recipes. I would like to try the fried rice and shrimp. It looked really good.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, The food does look good and I think tofu isn't bad if it is fixed properly which I have been unable to accomplish at this point. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    10 years ago from Michigan

    The chicken with lemon grass looks delicious! I'm a rice fan myself and although I'm not a tofu fan, that recipe looks like it would taste great topped on rice. We could most likely learn some very good tips on how to make meat stretch from the Cambodian people. Hope they'll recover from poverty in the near future. Voted-up/rated!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Wearing Well, I don't fancy the snake either but thought it was an interesting picture. I hope your sister can use some of the recipes as it is difficult when living in a different country. Thanks for your comment.

  • wearing well profile image

    Deborah Waring 

    10 years ago from Lancashire U.K.

    Thanks for these great recipes.I shall be sending a link to my sister in Cambodia because she is loosing weight and possible just living on 3meals of plain old rice.However,I wouldn't fancy the fried snake!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Pop, Thanks for your comment.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    10 years ago

    Very interesting recipes, Pamela. Thanks.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Russell, Sounds like an interesting book and I might think twice about eating certain foods. Thanks for your comments.

    Bkcreative, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks you for your comments.

  • BkCreative profile image


    10 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    I can certainly do the braised tofu. That looks excellent.

    What an intriguing food hub - complete with great photos. Wonderful and thanks for such a treat!

  • Russell-D profile image


    10 years ago from Southern Ca.

    In the Cambodian chapter of my HUB book "A La Carte" (Russell-D), I describe the making of Cambodian Noodles in a small village; the same noodles that by the bail are shipped to Phnon Penh and as far as the supply can reach. The last step is taking the noodle to the nearby Meking River for a dip to "add taste". There are some other foods I saw harvested and "prepared" for market that might change a few tastes - and certainly minds - before the chop sticks fly. David Russell

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, Thank you for your comments. I hope you like the fried rice.

    Audry, I have seen that in the Caribbean Islands also. They load any vehicle beyond imagination and it is considered normal. Thanks for your comments.

    Judydianna, That's exactly what I tried to do and I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your comment.

  • judydianne profile image


    10 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

    You have given us a "feel" for Cambodia and the food there. Very nice hub and recipes. Best wishes to your mum!

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    10 years ago from Washington

    What a market! I might go into sensory overload if I attended one of those. Fascinating cultures that we are so far removed from. Gotta love them biking all about with tons of bags (and people) on board. I have trouble just staying upright on my bike - if I actually had to do something 'productive' on it, maybe I'd get better at it as in not break the groceries. Wonderful hub - good wishes to your mum as well!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    10 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for your informative hub and I like the fried rice and will try it. I don't like cooked rice but any fried rice I love it.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Miata, Thanks for your comments.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    10 years ago from US

    the food and culture which you have discussed are very informative, plus the added recipe, Thumbs up, Maita

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ecoggins, Thank you for all that information. I don't necessarily want to eat those items, but my son has been to Cambodia 3 times as a missionary (he does pastor and church conferences also) and he loves it there. He has talked of how wounded the people are because of Pol Pot and he has a special place in his heart for the people of Cambodia. That's why I choose that country for today's Hubmob topic. I would love to go there for a visit. Again, I appreciate all your comments.

    Darlene, Thank you so much for the compliments and all your comments.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    10 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    My Dear Pamela what an excellent hub, love the pictures it looks time stood still. Love what you did here, all is so perfect and clear, the food is not something I would like, but it reflects all different taste and people plus their cultures, this is just great. Love this hub, thumbs up, useful and beautiful

  • ecoggins profile image


    10 years ago from Corona, California

    have you ever eaten a cricket or tarantula? Many parts are edible! I have eaten everything in the first picture accept the chick eggs. Crickets, lotus pods, katydids, silkworm cacoons, swamp flowers, and tarantulas are just a few of the Cambodian dishes I have experienced. The katydids are quite meaty and not bad depending on the sauce they are cooked in. The crickets when fried in fat, I call Cambodian popcorn. Thanks for sharing this hub from my home away from homes. If you have never visited Cambodia, take a trip there to see the wonderful ancient architecture at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in the city called Siem Riep. The temples and palaces were once considered one of the seven ancient man-made wonders of the world. A two week trip can cost as little as $1600 to $2500 including depending on airfare and which accomodations you choose. lol.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Patriot, Hang on a couple of more days and you will have your wish. I appreciate your comments. I thought you might like the picture of the fried snakes.

    Coolmon. I hope you will get to try them. Thanks for your comments.

  • Coolmon2009 profile image


    10 years ago from Texas, USA

    The Cambodian Chicken recipe looks good; I like the shrimp and rice recipe too. Good article thumbs up.

  • profile image

    partisan patriot 

    10 years ago


    I’ve gained 10 lbs since you started on this rampage; it’s gotta stop. There’s too much at stake for the few of us out there that are willing to write Criticism after Criticism of the Obama Regime to be diverted by Food article after Food article.

    Come on the world’s at stake here not to mention my waist line; get criticizing!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Quill, Thanks for thinking of my mother and we hope she may come home today. Thank you so much for your comments.

    Tom, Yes, that picture makes a statement! At least this is one hub you don't go away hungry. Thanks for your comment.

    drbj, Thank you for the good wishes for my mother. And, thank you for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    10 years ago from south Florida

    Hi, Pam - Interesting recipes though I rather like the spice of Thai food. That shrimp and rice dish has me salivating.

    Hope your mother is doing well.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    10 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    Thanks for starting with the picture of Fried Snakes my appitite isn't out of control now!!!!!!!!!!!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Morning Pam... I do hope Mom ios better... thanks for the Hub... now Quill is hungry and its only 60:30 am... smiles... everything on the page looks good right about now.

    Have a blessed day and know the Father is close at hand as always.



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