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Cambodian Street Food

For now, Cambodian street food is overshadowed by those of its neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam. But, Cambodia’s street food recognition is growing every day thanks to the flocks of tourists visiting the Kingdom.

As you drive or walk through the streets of Cambodia, you’ll be tempted to try some of the appetizing roadside delicacies. They look good, and they taste good.

You do have to pay attention to cleanliness. But, it should be pretty easy to tell if the particular food stall is unclean because there is no hidden kitchen.

To quote Robyn Eckhardt from the New York Times,

“Street food has two advantages over food cooked in restaurants: transparency and immediacy. When you eat on the street nothing is hidden; you can judge whether or not the person handling your food, the surface on which it’s prepped and the plate on which it will be served is clean.”

Where to Find Cambodia’s Unique Street Food

Cambodia street food can be found just about anywhere. You’ll see mobile vendors traveling the city throughout the day with carrying poles, push carts, and moto-stalls. Head inside local markets and search for the spots with crowds of people.

Don’t be afraid to be an adventurous eater. Cambodian street food comes in all shapes, textures, and flavors! Crunchy stir-fried insects, bamboo sticky rice, and various deep-fried cakes await!

Here are three of our must-eat Cambodian street foods.

cambodia street food vendor

Top 3 Must-Eat Cambodian Street Foods

1. Very popular Cambodian street food snacks: Deep-fried potato, bread, and shrimp cakes

You’ll be struck by the abundance of fried foods in roadside spots and local markets. You could make a whole meal out of them: appetizer, main, and even dessert! That may not be the best idea for your health though.

Cambodian street food vendors generally prepare several types of fried cakes:

  • Fried Potatoes
  • Fried Sweet Potatoes
  • Fried Potatoes with Shrimp
  • Fried Shrimps
  • Friend Fish & Shrimp topped Potatoes
  • Fried Breads
  • Fried Bananas

These all make great snacks especially as you make your way through the bustling markets. The fried cakes are delicious, particularly with a bit of fresh lime and chili sauce on the side.

2. Exotic Cambodian street food: All types of insects and creepy crawlies

Cambodian street food vendors selling crickets, beetles, spiders, worms, and other insects in baskets

Beetles and crickets are two of the most popular bugs you will find in Cambodia. Ants and worms come in at a close second place. Some places will even serve up bee larvae.

You’ll also find spiders and scorpions, though these creepy bugs tend to be for adventurous tourists and rural folk.

Many insects are stir-fried with the regular seasonings and spices and are quite tasty. The flavor is generally mild and they are a great source of protein!

We suggest pairing them with your alcohol of choice. Surprisingly, insects make awesome drinking snacks. They’re also cool to impress your friends!

3. Cambodian fast street food: Num Pang

cambodian num pang sandwich with meat and vegetables

You’ll quickly notice several French elements during your trip. One is the baguette.

The baguette was brought over by the French during the colonization period. Cambodians call it Num Pang. Pang sounds very similar to pain (french for bread).

Num Pang is Cambodia’s super fast street food, kind of like burgers in the United States. The sandwich is served with a homemade sauce, meaty ingredients, and refreshing pickled vegetables.

The meats can vary from pate (also very french), ham, chicken, pork, or fish. And, these can all be paired differently with pickles, cucumbers, pickled salads, carrots, chives, and onions.

Cambodian street food is quite diverse. It gives you a unique perspective into the kingdom’s food culture.
What Cambodian street foods have you eaten? Are there any you’re afraid to try?