Exploring the great Variety of Food in beautiful country, Cambodia || Why Cambodian towns like Siem Reap & Phnom Penh are special for people who want to experience diverse food options

If your sensibilities are delicate when it comes to food, the advice is to proceed with caution. This post is a documentary about Cambodian food and does not mean to pass any judgements on anyone who consumes or does not consume certain kind of food. Travelling Camera believes in "to each their own" when it comes to food.

If your sensibilities are delicate when it comes to food, the advice is to proceed with caution. This post is a documentary about Cambodian food and does not mean to pass any judgements on anyone who consumes or does not consume certain kind of food. Travelling Camera believes in "to each their own" when it comes to food.  

Food markets in Cambodia can be a sensory overload especially if you are travelling from a food-wise considerably conservative place like India. That is why we begin with the photograph of a continental breakfast that was served to us at our hotel - The Chateau D'Angkor, in Siem Reap. This is a fairly standard affair of sausages, bacon, eggs, baked beans, hash brown and bread, with juice and tea/coffee. It is a familiar sight at most good hotels all around the world. However, this is also a symbol of standardization because of which you need to work much harder to experience the uniqueness of different places in the world.

Food markets in Cambodia can be a sensory overload especially if you are travelling from a food-wise considerably conservative place like India. That is why we begin with the photograph of a continental breakfast that was served to us at our hotel - The Chateau D'Angkor, in Siem Reap. This is a fairly standard affair of sausages, bacon, eggs, baked beans, hash brown and bread, with juice and tea/coffee. It is a familiar sight at most good hotels all around the world. However, this is also a symbol of standardization because of which you need to work much harder to experience the uniqueness of different places in the world. 

This is the ice-cream roll that we found in the night market of Siem Reap. It was available in many flavours and the process to make the rolls too was very interesting. Below is a video that we recorded of the process. It was a nice little snack for those of us with a sweet tooth. Four of us adults shared one cup of rolls whereas my nephew got his own cup.

This is the ice-cream roll that we found in the night market of Siem Reap. It was available in many flavours and the process to make the rolls too was very interesting. Below is a video that we recorded of the process. It was a nice little snack for those of us with a sweet tooth. Four of us adults shared one cup of rolls whereas my nephew got his own cup.  



Another good thing about Cambodia was that fresh tropical fruits, such as Mangoes, Pineapples, Pomelos were available everywhere. In the scorching heat of Cambodia, these fruits tasted so good and were so reasonably priced that we bought them almost at every turn. They were a savior really in the heat.

Another good thing about Cambodia was that fresh tropical fruits, such as Mangoes, Pineapples, Pomelos were available everywhere. In the scorching heat of Cambodia, these fruits tasted so good and were so reasonably priced that we bought them almost at every turn. They were a savior really in the heat.

  
Another sight that you came across often was arachnids, reptiles, and amphibians of various shapes and sizes being roasted and sold. While in some parts of the world these are considered delicacy, for us these were a bit of sensory overload that we couldn't get used to during our short trip. Some of our friends who have tasted frog meat told us that it really wasn't that different from chicken, but we couldn't bring ourselves to try it.   One of the strangest sights for me was the skewered snakes. At first I thought that it was probably something that looked like snakes. But yes they were snakes. Another food item I couldn't bring myself to try. Now that I think of it, I wasn't adventurous enough with food, while I was in Cambodia. May be next time I will try more things.

Another sight that you came across often was arachnids, reptiles, and amphibians of various shapes and sizes being roasted and sold. While in some parts of the world these are considered delicacy, for us these were a bit of sensory overload that we couldn't get used to during our short trip. Some of our friends who have tasted frog meat told us that it really wasn't that different from chicken, but we couldn't bring ourselves to try it. 


One of the strangest sights for me was the skewered snakes. At first I thought that it was probably something that looked like snakes. But yes they were snakes. Another food item I couldn't bring myself to try. Now that I think of it, I wasn't adventurous enough with food, while I was in Cambodia. May be next time I will try more things. 

 
Same was the case with Squids. I haven't tasted Octopus or Squid yet, but to me they don't sound too inviting. I can imagine that the texture will probably be rubbery, but I may be wrong, because again, there are people who swear by the taste of these non-vegetarian food items.

Same was the case with Squids. I haven't tasted Octopus or Squid yet, but to me they don't sound too inviting. I can imagine that the texture will probably be rubbery, but I may be wrong, because again, there are people who swear by the taste of these non-vegetarian food items. 


This was a shop in the Phnom Penh Central Market and it was selling pulses. Some really big rajmahs (Kidney Beans), black beans, and other pulses could be bought here. It was also in Cambodia that I had a black bean ice-cream and didn't like it much. Basically there are some things that our minds have slotted as savory and some as sweet. Especially in India, one cannot imagine sweet tasting rajmah or black beans, so this was another unfamiliar flavor that I couldn't bring myself to appreciate.

This was a shop in the Phnom Penh Central Market and it was selling pulses. Some really big rajmahs (Kidney Beans), black beans, and other pulses could be bought here. It was also in Cambodia that I had a black bean ice-cream and didn't like it much. Basically there are some things that our minds have slotted as savory and some as sweet. Especially in India, one cannot imagine sweet tasting rajmah or black beans, so this was another unfamiliar flavor that I couldn't bring myself to appreciate. 

 
We really enjoyed fruits in Cambodia. While we have had lychees many times in India, this was the first time we saw or tasted Rambutans or Longans that belong to the same family as lychee. We also had sweet tamarinds, plums, dates, kiwis and dragon fruits.

We really enjoyed fruits in Cambodia. While we have had lychees many times in India, this was the first time we saw or tasted Rambutans or Longans that belong to the same family as lychee. We also had sweet tamarinds, plums, dates, kiwis and dragon fruits.


Different types of fried meat balls and eggs were also being prepared and served at various places in Cambodia. In general, food, at least what we tried was good and street food looked safe in most places. However, general advice is to be careful and choose places where food is being cooked fresh and selling out fast.

Different types of fried meat balls and eggs were also being prepared and served at various places in Cambodia. In general, food, at least what we tried was good and street food looked safe in most places. However, general advice is to be careful and choose places where food is being cooked fresh and selling out fast. 


A shopkeeper selling various varieties of seafood and enjoying an afternoon siesta while doing so. Hammocks are a common sight in Cambodia and afternoon siesta an accepted norm. You will find tuktuk drivers sleeping in a hammock hanging inside their tuktuks, especially in the afternoons.

A shopkeeper selling various varieties of seafood and enjoying an afternoon siesta while doing so. Hammocks are a common sight in Cambodia and afternoon siesta an accepted norm. You will find tuktuk drivers sleeping in a hammock hanging inside their tuktuks, especially in the afternoons. 


You will find shops selling various types of eggs as well in Cambodian markets. Duck eggs, chicken eggs, quail eggs are commonplace. You will find black eggs and will wonder what that is all about. Those are preserved eggs, sometimes known as century eggs or millennium eggs because they are preserved for a log time (sometimes months) before they are ready to eat.

You will find shops selling various types of eggs as well in Cambodian markets. Duck eggs, chicken eggs, quail eggs are commonplace. You will find black eggs and will wonder what that is all about. Those are preserved eggs, sometimes known as century eggs or millennium eggs because they are preserved for a log time (sometimes months) before they are ready to eat. 


As a result of this preservation the egg yolk turns creamy and flavors become stronger. The egg white too darkens and becomes jelly-like. The white and yolk both turns black or dark green as part of this process. Another type of exotic Cambodian egg is the Balut egg, which is mostly fertilized duck egg, which is boiled or steamed before eating.

As a result of this preservation the egg yolk turns creamy and flavors become stronger. The egg white too darkens and becomes jelly-like. The white and yolk both turns black or dark green as part of this process. Another type of exotic Cambodian egg is the Balut egg, which is mostly fertilized duck egg, which is boiled or steamed before eating. 


Bugs of various types are another common food or snack item in Cambodia. In fact in Siem Reap, there is a pretty little cafe known as "Bugs Cafe"  that sells dishes made of various types of bugs.  The food markets were generally happy places where you could observe locals going about their lives. These were the places to hang out to get a taste of the culture even if you aren't too experimental with food. One general advice to people who photograph food in these markets is that they should ask for permission from the vendor. In most cases, people don't mind their stalls being photographed, but a couple of people did refuse, and it is of course everyone's right to say "no". Isn't it?

Bugs of various types are another common food or snack item in Cambodia. In fact in Siem Reap, there is a pretty little cafe known as "Bugs Cafe"  that sells dishes made of various types of bugs.

The food markets were generally happy places where you could observe locals going about their lives. These were the places to hang out to get a taste of the culture even if you aren't too experimental with food. One general advice to people who photograph food in these markets is that they should ask for permission from the vendor. In most cases, people don't mind their stalls being photographed, but a couple of people did refuse, and it is of course everyone's right to say "no". Isn't it?

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