Siem Reap, the land of the former Khmer Empire, has turned itself into a hub of culinary business activities with food tours. It is safe to say all kinds of cuisine can be found there, from Khmer traditional to Middle-Eastern. Yet, the city has also been a safe haven for traditional recipes of street food, attracting adventurous foodies from around the world. Taing Rinith samples some street gems that you should not miss while cruising the streets of Siem Reap. Bon Appetit!
WE are going to start the street feast with a very original dish: Prahok Kob, also known as Kob, is a Khmer traditional dish, containing prahok (fish paste), small fish and kreung (spice or herb paste) wrapped in banana leaf and left to cook under pieces of rock beneath a fire or over the coals. It is best eaten as a dip with vegetables such as cucumber, eggplants and water spinach. Steamed white rice cannot go wrong with it either. But, the smell could a bit strong for picky eaters.
The food station in front of Angkor Wat sells the best Prahok Kob in town at only $1 per serving, plus rice. Order a takeaway and eat it in the shade of some big tree on the road to savour the feeling of a traveller during the Angkorian era.
Palm Juice at Angkor
While exploring Angkor Wat, especially under the hot sun, there is nothing more reviving than a sweet, cold drink. If you are not a fan of the sugary soft drink, why not try a glass of refreshing palm juice sold within the compound of the great temple complex. The juice, brought fresh from the tree in bamboo containers, contains antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, C, and the elements zinc, calcium, potassium, and iron, which are all good for health. Served at 2,000 riel ($0.50) per cup, it is an example of how enterprising Cambodians stop at nothing when it comes to benefits from their surroundings.
Siem Reap Sausage
Who says the signature dish of an area has to be invented there? When it comes to meat, Siem Reap is famous for its sausage, a food apparently brought by the Chinese immigrants. No one knows who discovered the recipe in the first place, but the hot and spicy or sweet and savoury ground meat stuffed in pork intestines for decades has been the target of foodies who visit the province. It is ordered with steamed white rice, porridge or baguettes, in street food stalls that serve breakfast to early birds and late-night supper to night owls. Of course, the sausages can also be found at the food station in front of Angkor Wat.
Mr Mab’s Grilled Duck
If you are in Siem Reap town, travelling on the National Road No. 6A, you are likely to encounter Mr Mab, a street food shop across from the Performance Art Theatre. It sells various grilled food but is famed for its grilled ducks. Priced at only $5 each, the duck, with tasty gravy and sauce, is a superb meal option for travellers and with steamed white rice should satisfy three people. The owner, a friendly man in his 30s, also handles a delivery service so long as the order comes from somewhere in town. Call: 012-515197.
Project Y Frozen Yoghurt
Strolling in Siem Reap’s Pub Street, which is synonymous with nightlife in town, on a summer evening, something cold and sweet should cool you down. Highly recommended is the frozen yoghurt from Project Y Yogurt stall. For $1, get 100gm of frozen yoghurt from the Project Y Yoghurt stall, with a choice of different flavours. You will also feel good, knowing that your cash will also go to local students’ education through the Cambodia Rural School Trust (CRST).