A Healthy Selection of Authentic Khmer Food
Cambodia has some wonderful locally grown produce, from the seasonal fresh fruit for your smoothies and shakes, to the home-grown vegetables and herbs which add aromatic and spicy flavors to the traditional dishes. Khmer food is making its name again in the world-wide stakes and a lot of it is very healthy!
Here is a list of some of the healthiest Khmer food to sample during your visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Khmer Mango Salad
Using the green unripe mango this is an explosion of flavor in the mouth! With sour and spicy flavors as well as sweet balanced beautifully, this is definitely a healthy addition and works well with a side of rice. (Keep the rice brown for that extra healthy kick and fiber boost).
Banana Blossom Salad
This is truly unusual for those that have not traveled to Southeast Asia before, the un-blossomed buds of the banana plant happen to make a delicious treat when soaked and shredded. With a hint of spice, this is a great dish to bring variety from your standard fried noodles or fried rice.
Cambodian dishes often have very healthy vegetables in them. Pumpkin is used a lot and is a great source of Fibre, Potassium and Vitamin C. Bitter melon is another vegetable which you may not know has many benefits including lowering blood sugar, lowering cholesterol as well as being great for your skin and even anti-cancerous. Other vegetables include water spinach (full of vitamins), oyster mushrooms (full of iron), cabbage (contains calcium and plenty of vitamins) and Chinese broccoli (containing Vitamin A, C and K).
Due to the Mekong River and the Great Tonle Sap Lake, fish is abundant and when steamed or grilled, it is extremely good for you. It is a great source of Omega 3, an essential fatty acid which we can not make ourselves in the body and so needs to be consumed in the diet. The traditional dish of Amok Curry is traditionally served with chunks of fish in it and presented beautifully in a banana leaf, such a treat for the eyes as well as the body!
Cambodians know how to make a great broth! These can vary from sweet and sour, to spicy, to mild and full of vegetable goodness. Add a handful of rice noodles and you will have an extremely healthy dish at any restaurant!
Tips on Ordering Cambodian / Khmer Food
When you order drinks, smoothies or juices, ask for no sugar as often this is automatically added in. If you are buying street food and get the pleasure of watching them make it, check if any of the their tubs contain sugar and stop them just before they put that ingredient in. Stick to restaurants which specify no MSG, as Mono Sodium Glutamate is often added to dishes here to enhance the flavor (and makes the food very more-ish) but is a very unhealthy addition.
Be adventurous and try the local dishes which you may not always find on the beaten track! Bon Appetit or as the locals say “’ânhcheunh pĭsaa ôyy ban chhngéanh” (Best of luck pronouncing that one!).
Join a Siem Reap Cooking Class
Join a Siem Reap cooking class and learn how to cook your favorite Khmer food. Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap’s only resort and wellness retreat offers an exceptional culinary journey where you are guaranteed of a hands-on cooking class and an opportunity to witness Cambodian rural life. You will begin your journey with our Chef who will take you to an organic farm to pick your ingredients needed for the day. Hop on to an ox-cart for a quick trip to the farm with refreshing coconut on the way. The cooking class will take place at our resort where a kitchen station is set up by our beautiful gardens. When the preparation is over, lunch will be served at our restaurant or by our gardens for you to savor the delectable dishes you have just prepared. A copy of the recipes is provided, so you can bring back home and recreate your favorite Cambodian dishes.
If you are a guest staying at our Siem Reap resort and would like to sign up for a Cambodian cooking class, you may visit the concierge to organize your culinary journey. If you would like to book in advance, kindly email [email protected]