Thứ Tư, 16 tháng 5, 2012

5 Cambodian dishes you've got to try

Squished between culinary heavyweights Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to food. But once you've sampled Khmer cuisine, you won't turn back.

Here are 5 dishes to start you off.

1. Bai sach chrouk - pork and rice

 Served on street corners all over Cambodia early every morning, bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes that the country has to offer.

Thinly sliced pork is slowly grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork will be marinated in coconut milk or garlic -- no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, with a helping of freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger. On the side, you'll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.

Try it at: 786 St. 474, Phnom Penh

 2. Fish amok

 Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you'll find similar meals in neighboring countries.

You won't find the same enthusiasm for the dish outside of Cambodia, though, or the addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor.

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.

At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Try it at: K'nyay, Suramarit Boulevard between Sothearos Blvd. and St. 19, Phnom Penh; +855 23 225 225

3. Khmer red curry

 Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand, Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based, but without the overpowering chili. It's much easier to enjoy.

The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.

    This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of their ancestors. Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.

4. Lap Khmer -- lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

 A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef be nearly raw -- but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.

Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.

Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.

Try it at: Romdeng, 74 St. 174, Phnom Penh; +855 92 219 565

5. Nom banh chok -- Khmer noodles

 Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."

Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you'll find it being sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.

Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that is usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Try it at: Russian Market, Phnom Penh

Source: cnngo

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