Khmer cuisine (or, more generally, Cambodian cuisine is one of the world's oldest living cuisines. With an emphasis on simplicity, freshness, seasonality and regionalism,
Khmer food takes influences from a variety of countries. Cambodia was a French colony for many years and also has many Chinese immigrants, so both French and Chinese foods are widely found. In the west of the country, the cuisine is, naturally, influenced by the food of neighbouring Thailand while in the east the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine are more evident.
Cambodia's food is often all about the contrasts—sweet and bitter, salty and sour, fresh and cooked. It shares many dishes with its neighbors, and you'll find noodle soup similar to Vietnamese phở and sandwiches like bánh mì baguettes, Thailand's refreshing salads and sour soups, Indian-inspired curries, and noodles and stir fries handed down from years of Chinese migration. From Cambodia's days as a French Indochina colony, there's a national love of coffee, pate, and good bread. Baguettes are served with soup, made into sandwiches, and sold by men riding bicycles carrying baskets of long loaves.
Condiments and accompanists are important. The side plates of greens, herbs, peppers, limes or sauces that appear before you are always the thing that snaps your dish together. Sometimes this is a heap of fresh herbs and sliced vegetables; other times it's combination of fish sauce, chopped chilies, shallots, garlic, and palm sugar, or a make-it-yourself mix of black pepper, salt, and lime juice.
Cambodian food has won praise for its elegant and understated use of spice; its harmonious arrangement of contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures within the meal rather than a single dish; and its thoughtful and, at times, extravagant presentation of dishes with plenty of herbs, leaves, pickles, dipping sauces, edible flowers and other garnishes and condiments.
The staple food for Cambodians is rice. Rice is eaten all day long in the form of street-side snacks, such as deep-fried rice cakes with chives and spinach, for breakfast, as in Cambodia's famous rice noodle soup kuyteav or rice porridge, and in many desserts. Plain white rice is served with nearly every family meal, typically served with grilled freshwater fish, a samlor or soup, and an assortment of seasonal herbs, salad leaves and vegetables.
Cambodia’s climate, especially around mid-year, ensures that there are plenty of colorful, tasty fruits available.
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