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Cambodian Cuisine

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Cuisines of Cambodia Edit

Map of Cambodia

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Fish and rice are the main ingredients of the Cambodian, or Khmer cuisine and most of the Cambodian dishes are spicy and extremely exotic. Shrimp is a very common Cambodian ingredient, together with other sea food delicacies. A Cambodian meal usually includes soup (samla), served at the same time as the other dishes. Fish is a major part of the Cambodian cuisine and grilled fish is a local specialty. Fish in cut up into pieces, rolled in a lettuce and dipped into fish sauce and it is often served with other types of Cambodian salads. The diversity of spices is huge and you can expect to find herbs and spices like cilantro, mint leaves and lemon thyme in even the simplest Cambodian dishes. The French influence can be found in the bread that Cambodian chefs prepare, but also in the fact that frog legs are considered a delicacy. The regional setting of Cambodian also influenced the evolution of the Cambodian cuisine. Since more than two thirds of the cultivated land hold rice plantations, it’s only natural that this is the most popular ingredient in almost all Cambodian dishes. Although similar in many ways to other Asian rice coking methods, Cambodian rice cooking is quite superficial and the rice is often served after only a quick dip in heated water. Sauces and meat are always skillfully blended with the basic rice and the use of herbs and flavored spices makes each rice meal taste like a whole new dish. Nuoc mam is a traditional fish sauce that is diluted with water and seasoned with chopped red chilies – it accompanies many dishes that you will find in Cambodia or in international region-specific restaurants. .

Preparation Methods for Cambodian Cooking Edit

While many European or American visitors find Cambodia extremely exotic at a first glance, the truth is that globalization is also present here, and many of the traditional preparation methods were replaced by modern, faster and more effective cooking techniques. However, a dish like "golden sapek," small pieces of Pork tenderloin alternated with strips of Pork fat and rounds of Chinese Sausage which are cooked on a grill over hot coals – still retains that rural feel that makes it an even more attractive dish. Of course, traditional cooking methods for meat included hot coal cooking and you shouldn’t be surprised to find Cambodian restaurants that still use such cooking techniques – often visible to the viewers/clients. On the other hand, in a Cambodian home in the city you will most likely come across non-stick pots and pans and all the modern utensils you have in your own kitchen.

Special Equipment for Cambodian Cooking Edit

Most Cambodian dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. While rustic cooking methods are also very appreciated, they are mostly reserved for restaurants that wish to impress their clients with a traditional meal. In most places, Cambodian cooking uses the same standard instruments used in many European countries or in the United States of America. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Cambodian cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Cambodian dishes. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking “toolbox”. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Cambodian food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers.

Cambodian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Cambodian weddings traditionally consisted of ceremonies and celebrations lasting three days and three nights. Three is considered to be an especially auspicious number by Cambodians because of its association with the "three jewels" of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Sangha (brotherhood of monks), and the Dhamma (the Buddha's teachings). Breakfast is followed by the hair-cutting ceremony which is a must at all weddings. It is a traditional rite handed down from the old days to add merriment to the wedding. The dinner that follows is one of the most sumptuous meals you will find in Cambodia. Another interesting tradition is the Ayai - a popular art form that is held in high esteem by Khmer people all through Cambodia, particularly those living in rural areas. It involves two people pitching their wits against each other through singing. One singer poses a question or a quiz and the other sings an answer in response. Sometimes, like poems, Ayai verses are required to rhyme. Of course, when fun and laughter are present, so is good food. Alcoholic beverages are often present – to wash down the huge quantities of food present at this social event.

People in Cambodian Food Edit

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Because of their exotic tastes and looks, Cambodian dishes that can be enjoyed on an international scale. There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Cambodian dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Cambodian chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking samla or sea food meals or more sophisticated Cambodian dishes, such as the delicious sea fish filled with fruits, Cambodian chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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