Everything we read about Cambodia before our trip said that the food wasn't such a highlight. In the end, we were pleasantly surprised by the Khmer food we tried and we also found a lot of great Western restaurants too. Here's a look at some of the dishes we enjoyed:
Banana flower salad
A delicious fresh salad made with shredded banana blossom and chicken that has the same elements as the more well known Thai dish som tam, sweet carrots, sour lime, crunchy peanuts and savoury fish sauce.
This is Cambodia's national dish. I hate to admit it, but I didn't actually try this owing to my irrational hatred of coconut milk (I love coconut in all other forms ... yep, it doesn't make sense, I know), but Colin assured me it was delicious. The fish is steamed in a banana leaf and soaked in a light coconut curry. It's a must-try dish in Cambodia (unless you're me!)
Beef lok lak
Lok lak is a sort of Khmer sweet and sour dish. Tender beef cooked with onions in a sweet sauce, served with rice and pepper sauce, sometimes with a fried egg on top too. It's a filling and tasty dish that we had a few times during our time in Cambodia.
Pepper is big in Khmer cuisine and Kampot pepper is considered to be the best in the world (it has been awarded a geographical indication). We visited a pepper farm while we were in Kampot and tried the different types, green, red, white and black. The peppercorns drying in the sun had the most wonderful smell and it really is on another level to the stuff you get back home.
Fried sweetcorn is a popular snack in Cambodia, flavoured with chilli, garlic and spring onions. It can come with meat or shrimps, but we had the vegetarian version – simple and delicious.
This had to be our favourite meal in Cambodia (read the full story here). The crabs were caught to order and on our plate within about 10 minutes – the freshest seafood I've ever had! The green peppercorn sauce was delicious and it was totally worth the hard work to get through those shells.