Cambodia, having a diverse and dynamic culture, also presents a variety of cuisine choices accompanied by its long history. The country has several delectable and savory food. Among these, ‘Ah Mok’, ‘Nom Banh Juk’ and ‘Kor Kou’ are the most popular. These three dishes are always serve in family gatherings and any other special ceremonies.
‘Ah mok’ is made by the mixing of coconut cream and galangal as well as fish, meat, vegetables and eggs. Other common types of ‘Ah Mok’ are made of fish, beef or chicken. This particular dish can be enjoyed even more by eating with palm, green beans, morning glory and other types of green. ‘Ah Mok is also known for its attractive coloring decoration and comes in different sizes.
‘Nom Banh Juk’ is another major culinary tradition in Cambodia. This kind of dish is not only loved by the local people but also tourists. This traditional dish is served by just mixing the rice noodles with curry soup mainly made from fish. To reap the maximum benefits of this food, we can mix the other different type of fresh vegetables such as cucumber, green beans, banana flower and other types of greens. Cambodian in different regions would love to create their local preferences of adding their local exotic vegetables. Not to mention, some provinces have their own ways of preparing rice noodle and the curry soup. As for this food, we can also add the lemon as well.
One of nutrient-rich dishes in the country is ‘Kor Kou’. It is the dish which can be prepared by adding many greens together such as spinach, gooseberry, Moringa leaves, pumpkin, banana, papaya, green beans, jackfruit, leach, and kanleng leaves. This dish can be made with either pork or fish. We must not forget the bowl of rice and ‘prahok,’ which is the national Cambodian ingredient. This food is full of protein and nutrients, and majority of Cambodians love to cook this type of dish for daily meal consumption. Among the vegetables to add while cooking, we can choose a few or just some. if not all types of vegetables are not available. It is necessary not to overcook this kind of soup since it can reduce the delicious taste of the fresh vegetables. Hard-to-cook vegetables should also be put first so that the dish can be finished with all ingredients not being overcooked.
Many Cambodian students, both in the level of undergraduate or graduate, often pick one of these dishes when participating in the cultural events, or partaking in the school culinary competitions or among Khmer living communities overseas. For tourists, it is also important to try some of those national dishes of Cambodian since they do not only represent the country but also the way of life of people.
By Malinenorine HENG, ASEAN Correspondent from Cambodia