Khmer cuisine, or more generally known as Cambodian cuisine, is Cambodia’s traditional method of cooking. The best Khmer restaurant in Phnom Penh typically serves more than one dish that varies in texture, temperature, and taste within the meal. This type of cuisine also makes use of plenty of leaves, herbs, dipping sauces, edible flowers, pickled vegetables, and other condiments and garnishes.
Just like its neighboring countries, rice is a staple in Cambodian cuisine. In fact, it is such an important part of every meal that Cambodians greet each other with “Nyam bai howie nove?”—which translates to “Have you eaten rice yet?
Vegetarian food is also a vital part of Khmer cuisine that is often favored by Buddhists. Thus, finding organic and healthy food in Phnom Penh should not be difficult if you ever visit there.
Where can you buy organic produce in Phnom Penh?
Organic products in Phnom Penh can be easily found anywhere. Even large grocery chains have a section devoted to organic produce. But if you want only the best, then head on over to Street 63 in BKK1 where there a lot of organic and all-natural specialty shops. There are also a few more stores surrounding the city. Even the best Khmer restaurant in Phnom Penh get their produce from these shops.
Here are just some of Phnom Penh’s best organic grocery shops.
Natural Garden, a proud member of the Cambodia Organic Agriculture Association (CorAA), is considered the godfather of organic groceries in Phnom Penh. They are the leading supplier of organic produce to many of the city’s restaurants and hotels.
They grow and sell chemical-free vegetables and organic rice. Aside from the ones they grow, they also source other organic produce from all over the country. From Kampot tangerines and Battambang oranges to Mondulkiri passionfruit and Siem Reap melons, their selection is probably the widest and the best in town. Green-O Farm
Green-O Farm, also a member of COrAA, gets their chemical-free products from farmers in some villages in Kampong Speu. They carry a wide selection of both locally-grown herbs, salad greens, vegetables, and safe imported vegetables. Some of the Cambodian-produced items they have are Mondulkiri coffee and Ratanakiri coffee.
Amarak Veggie Store
Amarak Farm grows certified chemical-free produce and is a member of COrAA. The fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables produced in the farm are sold in their outlet store, Amarak Veggie Store. The store also carries other locally-produced and organic products, such as Cambodian mango jam, Kampot pepper, and palm sugar. And if you’re curious to see how things are on a Cambodian organic farm, you are welcome to visit them.
Happy Farm is another place where you can get chemical-free and locally produced products in Phnom Penh. While they’ve closed their flagship store on Street 63, their shop in Toul Kork still carries a wide selection of herbs, vegetables, and produce.
Aeon supermarket offers a wide selection of both locally grown and imported organic vegetables. Their imported produce comes from everywhere around Asia, including places where there are more stringent standards when it comes to how they grow and label their organic produce. In addition to their large selection of organic produce, Aeon is actually a full-sized supermarket so you can do all your shopping here.
Can organic food can be found in Phnom Penh restaurants?
Approximately 95% of Cambodians are Buddhists. In fact, almost all ethnic Khmers practice this religion, so veganism is not new to them. But although they eat plant-based foods, they’re not eating as healthily as they should because of all the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used while growing the fruits and vegetable produce. That’s why a revolution to change the way plant-based foods are farmed started: foregoing the use of chemicals.
Over the years, the drive for healthy, organic food has become bigger and bigger. And the revolution has reached Cambodia. With so many shops selling organic produce in BKK1, it’s not surprising to find many restaurants that offer organic, vegan foods that are unbelievably delicious. And without a doubt, the best Khmer restaurant in Phnom Penh is also offering yummy organic food on its menu. For example, only organic and the freshest produce are welcome in the kitchen of Eleven One Kitchen.
Eleven One Kitchen serves authentic and healthy Khmer cuisine using ingredients sourced directly from local farmers. So you can be sure that you are getting only the freshest ingredients from the field straight to your plate. And on the plus side, the whole team behind Eleven One Kitchen are all staunch environmentalists. They have a strict zero-plastic policy, and they only use biodegradable materials for their packaging—even their straws.
Organic food Vs. Non-organic food
Organic and non-organic foods are very similar in both appearance and taste, but those are the only similarities they have. Unlike non-organic foods, the organic ones are not sprayed with pesticides. They also use natural fertilizers, which are free from artificial hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, or genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Likewise, for a food product to be labeled as organic, it has to be free of any synthetic food additives. This includes artificial sweeteners, coloring, flavoring, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Organic farming also helps conserve groundwater and improve soil quality, as well as reduce pollution. It also supports better farming practices and smaller local farming operations.
In general, organic foods are a healthier option than non-organic ones. All the chemicals used in growing the vegetable can remain on the vegetable even after thoroughly washing it. So, when you eat food from a non-organic source, you are also ingesting the chemicals sprayed on it.
What does organic healthy plant-based food do for your health?
Studies show that organic foods are rich in nutrients, such as iron, Vitamin C, phosphorous, and magnesium. There is also less exposure to pesticides and nitrate residues in organically grown vegetables, grains, and fruits when compared to conventionally grown products.
Aside from making you healthier, organic products also help reduce public health hazards to the farmworkers themselves and their families by reducing their exposure to persistent and toxic chemicals in their work environment.
More and more evidence is being uncovered that consuming various organic products have healthier nutritional profiles. For example, a study published in the Food Chemistry journal stated that soybeans grown organically have a healthier nutritional profile than genetically modified or conventionally grown Roundup Ready soybeans.
There used to be a time when people farmed their food naturally. But as technology became more advanced, the safety of plant-based foods has degraded due to modern farming techniques. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have been developed and abused in the farming industry, stripping many nutrients off of vegetables and slowly poisoning the planet. If more people start supporting businesses that use organically grown foods like Eleven One Kitchen, we could still save our health and the environment.
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