Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia is known for its never-ending array of street food stalls, night markets and friendly vendors offering you just the right choice of food. Cambodian street food stands out because of its open-air markets and night markets that gloom with rustic food joints, wooden food carts, plastic stools and tables and a huddle of tourists walking through the narrow streets. What makes the food even more special is the way it is prepared. Some dishes are authentic Khmer cuisines passed down from one generation to the next while the others are crafted with a westernized twist to it.
Here are 15 street foods in Phnom Penh that will sneak their way into your heart!
1. Yakitori Chicken Skewers
Barbecue and grilled meat is the best way to end the night and skewers is just the best option for you. The stall on Phnom Penh’s Street 123 is best known for its mouthwatering Yakitori spit-roasted Chicken Skewers that are sold only during dinner time. The skewers are available with the options of chicken thighs, hearts, veggies, mushrooms, aubergines and cheese. Besides the skewers, the stall also serves a bunch of other dishes like chicken, rice, chips and salads throughout the day.
Where to Eat: 52, Street 123, Phnom Penh
Cost: KHR 2000(50 cents)
2. Bai Sach Chrouk (Pork and Rice)
What list of Cambodian cuisines will be complete without some pork and rice? Bai Sach Chrouk is a very famous breakfast option available throughout the country. But, a very famous vendor known as the Pork and Rice Man sells it in the evening from 5:30 PM onwards at Street 19. The man is known for his marinated pork which is the ultimate highlight of his stall. Locals and tourists visit especially to get their hands on the lip smacking pork and rice. You can also find more pork and rice eateries on Street 13 and 100 respectively.
Where to Eat: Street 19, Phnom Penh3. Cambodian Fried Doughnuts
Cost: KHR 4000 (USD 1)
The fried food stands on Street 9 sells savoury and delicious doughnuts at a cheap price. You can buy deep-fried fluffy doughnuts in different sizes dusted with sugar on top or glazed in sugar syrup. Along with doughnuts, Street 9 is famous for its variety of fried food options. The doughnuts are sold in the morning as breakfast alternatives while other fried foods are served in the afternoon.
Where to Eat: Street 9, Phnom Penh
4. Num Chet Chien
Also known as Cambodian Fried Banana Nuggets, Num Chet Chien is a very famous street food dessert around Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Banana fillings are wrapped inside spring rolls covered with sesame seeds, the rolls are then deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Num Chet Chien is served best with vanilla or Kampot pepper ice cream. This is a Cambodian version of the Scottish deep fried mars bars. While this dessert can be found almost at every corner of Phnom Penh, the food cart on Street 9 serves the best version of it.
Where to Eat: Street 9, Phnom Penh
5. The Best Khmer Coffee
As the name suggests, this coffee stall is located at the centre of Russian Market serving one of the finest Khmer Coffees in Phnom Penh since 1980. Khmer Coffee a.k.a Mondulkiri Coffee continues to thrive in Southeast Asia ever since it was first introduced by the French Colonists in the 1700's. The traditional way to prepare this coffee is to roast it with vegetable fat until it turns black. The coffee beans are then finely ground to brew a very dark and rich cup of coffee. At ‘The Best Khmer Coffee’ you will get to experience this brew at just 4000 RIEL (USD 1).
Where to Eat: Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
6. Num Banh Chok
It is almost impossible to walk a block in Phnom Penh and not find people slurping into Cambodia’s national dish Num Banh Chok (Cambodian Noodles). These fermented rice noodles are handmade in wooden mills and then topped with fish curry, vegetables, lemongrass, turmeric root and herbs like basil and mint. This dish is a must try and makes for a perfect breakfast or brunch! Orussey Market hosts a large food court with food stalls serving some of the best Khmer traditional dishes at cheap prices in Phnom Penh.
Where to Eat: Orussey Market, Phnom Penh
7. Rice Noodle Soup
The Night Market is a treasure serving the best street food at night in Phnom Penh. Offering a diverse nightlife, the streets are filled with stalls selling grilled meat, smoothies and fried seafood. Do not miss out on the very famous Rice Noodle Soup while you're here. What makes the night market even more special are the fusion stalls. Many stalls are owned by foreign ex-pats who sell Indian samosas, baba ganoush, dumplings and pizzas distinctively.
Where to Eat: Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
8. Toul Tom Pong Seafood
Everyday, the Russian Market in Phnom Penh overflows with food stalls and thousands of visitors. The stalls sell everything from fruit smoothies, seafood, Khmer Coffee and a mouthwatering variety of fusioned food. The tables and stools at the market are packed throughout the day leaving barely any space to walk through the market. At dusk, the parking area is converted into a seafood stall section where you will come across Toul Tom Pong Seafood. The wide range of menu has it all from stir fried squid and shrimp curry to a delicious crab soup to appetize you with the best seafood.
Where to Eat: Russian Market, Phnom Penh
9. Nompang Sak Koh
A relic left by the French colonists, you will find Baguette breads stacked on carts all over Phnom Penh. The Nompang Sak Koh comprises meatball gravy served with barbecued beef, pickled vegetables and lemongrass inside a baguette along with green chili sauce, perfect for your taste buds. You can snack over French-Cambodian styled delicacy at Phsar Chas or Old Market.
Where to Eat: Street 380, Phnom Penh
10. Khmer Fried Noodles
Num Banh Chok might be Cambodia’s most favourite dish, but fried noodles is the top choice when it comes to impromptu cravings. Phnom Penh is filled with abundant fried noodle stands with the best ones situated on the corner of Street 135 and Street 450 near the Russian Market. The mouth-watering fried noodles are mixed with beef, tofu and pickled veggies with a fried egg on the top at just 4000 RIEL (USD 1).
Where to Eat: Street 135 and Street 450 near Russian Market
Cost: KHR 4000 (USD 1)
11. Creepy Crawly Stands
Deep-fried insects and crawlies are amongst the famous street food snacks in Cambodia. You will spot stalls and food carts packed with a bunch of fried insects that are very common amongst locals. If you are courageous enough to try this unusual food then gear up, the deep-fried crickets, tarantulas and scorpions are waiting for you.
Where to Eat: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap
Food trucks and mobile food carts have become an emerging trend in Phnom Penh in the recent years. The iBurger food truck is parked at Street 51,outdoing in the burger stakes across Cambodia. You will find a wide range of burgers from Latin styled Nacho burgers filled with guacamole, jalapeño and salsa, rib-eye beef burger and classic American hamburgers served with sweet potato crisps and assorted dippings.
Where to Eat: Street 51, Phnom Penh
13. Cam’s Burrito
For a taste of Mexico in Cambodia, head to Street 172 at Cam’s Burrito for heavenly and authentic Mexican Burritos. The menu offers a wide range of Mexican delicacies like Fajita Chicken, Chalupa Chicken, Cali Fries, Jalapeño Omelette and overloaded Nachos all starting from 12,000 RIEL ($3). A second cart of Cam’s Burrito has also opened up in Toul Tom Poung on Street 454.
Where to Eat: Ly Yoat Lay, Street 172, Phnom Penh
Cost: KHR 12,000
14. Vietnamese Pho
Pho might be a common staple in Vietnam, but surprisingly it is also prominently available in Phnom Penh. This simple yet appetizing dish consists of fresh rice noodles topped with herbs, chicken or beef in a salty broth. Pull up a seat at the roadside tables arranged on Street 360 near Monivong Boulevard and dig in. The dish is filling, inexpensive and perfect for lunch/dinner.
Where to Eat: Street 360 near Monivong Boulevard
15. Kralan (Sticky Bamboo Rice)
A very rare vegetarian street food option in Cambodia, the Sticky Bamboo Rice is one of its kind. A savoury mixture of rice, beans, grated coconut and coconut milk is stuffed inside a bamboo stick which is then nicely roasted over a fire. The final product is crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. This popular dish can be found on any streets and markets in Phnom Penh.
Where to Eat: streets in Phnom Penh
16. Fish Amok
This is a Cambodian version of the famous Bengali dish called ‘Fish Paturi’ but with an altogether different spice-mix used. The fish moose and spices like kaffir lime, lemongrass and turmeric roots are wrapped inside banana leaf pockets which are slowly steamed for the flavours to seep into the dish. The famous spice in Southeast Asia ‘Slok Ngor’ takes the dish to another level. For the best quality Fish Amok, make sure you buy it from the stalls while you also enjoy the process of making it.
Where to Eat: The Sugar Palm, Siem Reap
17. The Lok Lak
A popular Vietnamese dish that made its way into Cambodia, the Lok Lak is just the right dish for foodies. Pork marinated in fish sauce, oyster sauce, tomato sauce, pepper and garlic is stir fried and served with onions, cucumbers and lettuce on the side. The best way to eat it is to just dig into it or make mini lettuce rolls with pork fillings, either way the taste will definitely fulfill your soul.
So fasten your seat belts and empty stomachs to this amazing journey of street food in Phnom Penh while you are in Cambodia. Do not miss out on these savoury Khmer cuisines and pamper the foodie in you!
Where to Eat: Khmer Kitchen, Siem Reap