Although Cambodia's cuisine shares some similarities with its neighbors, many of its dishes make generous use of a fermented fish paste called prahok, which gives Cambodian food its distinctive flavor. Another way Cambodian food derives its flavor is from the use of herbs and ground spices, though it tends to be less spicy than some of its near neighbors. Lemongrass in particular is one of the signature flavors of the local cuisine.
It would be difficult to talk about Cambodian gastronomy without mentioning its two staples, fish and rice. The freshwaters of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake provide an abundance of fresh fish and other seafood is available from the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodians are said to eat more rice than any other people in the world; in Cambodia both steamed rice and sticky rice are popular though the latter tends to be used in dessert type dishes.
In Cambodian there are lots of fried rice and noodle dishes, in fact noodle soup is often eaten as a breakfast dish. Also, French breads are widely available, a legacy of the time when the French controlled the country, though the Cambodians have added their own unique twist sometimes covering a baguette with sweet coconut oil to be eaten as a snack. Another unusual food snack that you may run across is women walking around with trays of barbecued and marinated spiders. It may not appeal Western taste buds, but it definitely makes for an interesting travel photo at the very least.
One of the more famous Cambodian dishes is Kampot Pepper crab, which has both a sweet and smoky flavor. Amok, a coconut curry dish with vegetables and meat is popular with travelers. Pork or chicken fried with ginger is available everywhere. Salad lovers will want to try the beef and vegetable salad, which includes beef thinly sliced and covered in lime juice, mint and peanuts served over cabbage, carrots and tomatoes.
Fruit is widely available and delicious; some of the more exotic types include longan, choko, jackfruit and mangosteen. On nearly every corner in towns visitors can find small stands offering fresh fruit shakes. In addition to shakes, soft drinks are readily available, though in addition to well-known brands, other flavors are also available which are much different than what you can get in the U.S. Some of the more unusual flavors you can try include lychee and pineapple sodas.