Are you wondering what to eat in Cambodia? Just like any other major cities in Southeast Asia, Cambodia offer you the options to eat in restaurants or enjoy street food made to order fresh on street stalls. Every afternoon Cambodian students sit down to enjoy some of their country’s most delicious dishes: its street food. But for expats this is one of the least savored facets of Cambodia’s generally under-appreciated cuisine.
Many expats believe that the Kingdom’s roadside delicacies consist of little more more than deep-fried tarantulas and stir-fried crickets. Concerns about hygiene also keep some foreigners from indulging.
But the best street food isn’t about bugs–either the edible or intestinal kind–and it’s too good to miss. You just need to choose wisely. The safest street foods are those that are cooked in front of you and served hot, which kills off bacteria. And despite what you may have heard, the ice in Cambodia is generally safe to consume. “Street food has two advantages over food cooked in restaurants: transparency and immediacy. When you eat on the street nothing is hidden; you can judge whether or not the person handling your food, the surface on which it’s prepped and the plate on which it will be served is clean,” said food journalist Robyn Eckhardt, who has written extensively about street food in Asia and Turkey for international publications. “And because the time from stall to table is just seconds, you can be confident that your food hasn’t languished long enough to collect the odd bacteria.”
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are the country’s culinary centres, boasting excellent Cambodian food and international cuisine. Towns with a well-developed tourist infrastructure will usually have a number of restaurants serving a mix of Cambodian, Thai, Chinese and Western dishes.