Cambodia is famous for a lot of things. For a start, it’s a premier travel destination as the home of the world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat, which is a 1,626,000-square-meter temple recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists also flock the country to visit the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia where Cham and Vietnamese communities live in floating villages around the lake. To top these off, there is a plethora of mouthwatering Khmer food that you will not find elsewhere in the world.
However, choosing food while traveling can be tricky. Allergic reactions and digestive problems are common issues that you can experience as a traveler if you are not careful. The solution? Only go for food that is prepared with fresh and natural ingredients.
Local cuisine plays a huge role in showcasing a country’s uniqueness. That said, you should ditch the comfort foods and ask yourself, “Where can I find a good Khmer restaurant near me that serves food that I can truly enjoy?”
Trying out Khmer food can take you back in time and let you know the country’s culture better.
The healthy & flavorful Khmer food in Cambodia
Traditional Cambodian food speaks a lot about the country’s biodiversity. The Mekong River, also called Cambodia’s liquid heart, nurtures the land and provides an abundant supply of vegetables, fruits, and freshwater species for food.
Khmer cuisine also shares the same flavors with its neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Nom Pang, the Cambodian version of the baguette, is the legacy of the French.
Khmer dishes are made with fresh ingredients. Dishes and some of the snack foods have that distinct tangy and pickled flavor. Rice is a staple and served in most meals, like in other Asian countries.
Good thing food trips in Cambodia doesn’t always have to be meat-based. There’s a wealth of plant-based foods that locals and foreigners can delight in.
As you traverse the streets of Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, take a break and give yourself a treat of the country’s best vegan meals and snack foods. You can start with the following:
- Khmer mango salad – A truly balanced salad that features the tangy taste of mango along with herbs and peanuts.
- Tofu or vegetable amok – Amok is a traditional Cambodian food that’s made with curry paste and coconut milk. Locals usually add tofu or vegetables to enhance the taste and make it more filling.
- Banana blossom salad – This dish is made of unblossomed banana flower that’s soaked, shredded, and mixed in spices. Locals usually pair this food with fried rice or fried noodles.
- Kralan – This food is made with coconut milk, grated coconut, red beans, and sticky rice stuffed in bamboo tubes roasted over charcoal. You need to peel back the bamboo and enjoy a delicious rice-based snack that has a crispy crust, but is soft inside.
- Corn on the cob – A common snack that features steamed, freshly picked corn with kernels that are still sweet and tender.
- Vegetable stir fry – Usually made of vegetables with lemongrass and pineapple.
- Deep-fried rice cake with spinach and chives – This is a typical Cambodian breakfast food and is usually served with veggies and seasonal herbs, such as chives.
- Sweet potato cakes – These are made of mashed sweet potatoes mixed with bread crumbs, herbs, spices, and sour cream molded into small circles and fried or baked.
As you tour Cambodia, don’t miss to taste these vegan foods. In this country, “delicious” is synonymous with “healthy”. And, the best part is that you can easily find these foods in almost all restaurants or local food places, such as Bong Bonlai at YK Art House in Phnom Penh. You can even find them along the streets in the city.
Why eating organic, plant-based, whole foods is the best way to enjoy a vacation
Creating an itinerary that will take you to different picturesque locations is a must. And, eating right while on the road is equally important.
For a start, you can observe a vegan lifestyle while traveling to steer clear from digestive problems. With the vitamins, minerals, and fiber content fresh veggies and fruits have, you can detox and stay healthy while on a holiday.
Going vegan while traveling can also help you boost your immune system. Organic, plant-based foods have high antioxidant properties, which can protect your body from harmful bacteria and viruses. By keeping your immune system at peak performance, you can stay healthy to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Eating locally grown whole foods is also a way to explore and appreciate the geography of the place. You can visit farms and even participate in local activities, such as fruit picking. In doing so, you’ll also get to meet locals, immerse yourself in their culture, and even learn their traditional cooking methods.
Opting for organic foods helps you see different perspectives of the world. Aside from seeing the sights, you’ll also know the people’s way of living and experience a culinary adventure to boot.
The good thing about Eleven One Kitchen
If you’re traveling to Cambodia, but only for a short vacation, you might find it difficult to fill some food trips into your itinerary. Nonetheless, it is not impossible. You just search on Google “Khmer restaurant near me” to find a decent vegan place to dine.
At Eleven One Kitchen, you can find a wealth of Khmer cuisine to binge on, including vegan dishes, desserts, and snacks. We serve fresh, homemade foods without monosodium glutamate (MSG) additives. Fresh fruit salads, stir-fried noodles, fried rice, chargrilled eggplant, vegan curry, and banana delights are just some of our best-selling items.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of picking unhealthy food when traveling, considering the many food options. But in Cambodia, that won’t have to be the case. You won’t have to spend too much time searching “Khmer restaurant near me” on Google because you can find a world-class restaurant in Phnom Penh, such as Eleven One Kitchen.
The high availability of plant-based Khmer cuisine assures you that there’s going to be a wealth of healthy meals to come across in the Land of the Khmer.
Now, are you now inspired to take on a vacation that focuses on healthy living?