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Phnom Penh’s Best Street Food

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Phnom Penh’s Best Street Food

Phnom Penh’s Best Street Food

It’s so much more than just chicken feet and fish balls.

Compared to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodian street food gets a bad rap. But look beyond the identikit fried chicken stands and those cockles left out in the sun all day, and you can find some delicious gems at a fraction of restaurant prices.


Iced Coffee With Milk

On a sweltering day in the city, nothing beats an ice cold cup of delicious Cambodian coffee stirred through with condensed milk. Proper Mondulkiri coffee is unbelievably delicious – hot or cold, black or white, it blows a $3.50 barista latte right out of the water. But mixed with creamy, sugary condensed milk, it’s practically dessert.

chive cakes

Num Kachay (Chive Cakes)

These flattened rice-dough patties are stuffed with chives and sometimes other greens, like spinach, and fried up in huge pans. You see them all over the city, especially in the markets. They’re either round or square, and either way they’re delicious – especially with a dollop of chilli sauce. They’re pretty oily, though, so if you’re worried about the fat content, keep an eye out for the baked equivalent, Num Crok. Oh, and bear in mind that the broth they’re often served with is probably made with boiled animal bones, so if you’re a veggie, you might want to go without.

kuy teav 4

Kuy Teav (Noodle Soup)

This satisfying and very tasty Khmer classic consists of (surprise!) noodles in a flavoursome broth-like soup. Kuy Teav can be prepared with vegetables, egg and/or a variety of meats, and makes for an extremely popular and satisfying breakfast. Again, though, if you’re vegetarian, you might want to check that the broth is, too.

beef skewers

Anything Grilled on a Stick

Cambodians love a bit of barbequed anything and stalls abound selling skewered pork, beef, squid and a variety of other meats and seafood. The most popular of these are the beef skewers, which are marinated in a fragrant Kroeung (“base” paste) and served in a baguette. Kroeng recipes for the skewers vary, but typically involve any combination of ground-up kaffir lime leaves, ginger, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, turmeric, sugar and thyme.

fish banana leaf

Grilled Fish Mousse in Banana Leaf

These simple, tiny parcels are super cheap and make a great snack when you’re out and about. Essentially, they’re just chunks of ground-up fish made into a paste, wrapped in pieces of banana leaf and grilled on the barbeque. Unlike Otak Otak (the Indonesian equivalent), they aren’t usually mixed with many spices though, so they taste best with a little chilli or fish sauce.


Mie Char / Lort Char

Fried noodles – whether with greens, veggies, tofu, chicken, shrimp and/or pork – are a simple and dependable staple. Depending on where you get them from, the actual noodles might be short and fat, flat and yellow or instant-ramen style, and if you’re lucky, you might get a fried egg or deep-fried garlic on top. Also, if you’ve just moved to the city and are wondering what on earth that clip-clopping noise is that you hear late at night in the street… that’s nocturnal noodle-sellers advertising their wares. Perfect for a midnight snack.

steamed buns

Steamed Buns

A Cambodian take on a Chinese classic, these filling, hot steamed buns are sold everywhere, stuffed with pork and egg. Don’t forget to peel the paper off the bottom before you eat them, though!

fruit seller


No, really – Cambodian fruit is amazing. Local favourites include under-ripe mango wedges dipped in salt and chilli and pickled papaya, guava, cucumber and apple, but you can also pick up fantastic fresh produce extremely cheaply on market stalls, especially if you stick to what’s in season or locally grown. Delicious, readily available fruits include rambutan, mangosteen, pomelo, pomegranate, papaya, pineapple, durian (hold your nose) and watermelon, and at the right time of year – usually around April – Cambodian mangos are so divinely tasty you won’t want to eat anything else.

Refreshing Coconut Water Coco Cocktail Drink

Fresh Coconut

Health food fanatics the world over go bonkers for coconut water, often paying crazy prices for a carton of the stuff. Here in Phnom Penh, for under a dollar, a machete-wielding grandmother will happily hack off the top of one for you and stick a straw straight in. It doesn’t get fresher, tastier or more refreshing than that!

Have we missed out your favourite street food snack? Have any recommendations for where to find the best street food in Phnom Penh? Let us know in the comments section below!






  1. Wayne Egnatinsky

    January 15, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Where can you find the fish in banana leaves. My favorite is the pork fat in rice steamed then grilled in banana leaves but I rarely find them which is disappointing. But most of the time when I see grilled banana leaves it is with rice and banana, not my favorite. Would love to try the fish…where can I find it? And if you know where to get the rice and pork fat steamed/grilled too that would be great. Thanks!!

    • Lindsey Kennedy

      January 17, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Where I used to live near Olympic Stadium there were loads of little old ladies selling the fish ones… I think the tiny parcels tend always to be fish. Funny you say that about the pork and sticky rice parcels – I only ever seem to see these ones around! There are definitely a lot of these on offer all around BKK Market, but I’ll look out for other hotspots and report back 🙂

  2. Francois-Xavier

    January 15, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    My all time favourite was sticky rice stuffed with banana, wrapped in banana leaves then grilled!

    • Lindsey Kennedy

      January 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Ooh I haven’t actually tried that combination – sounds great!

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