• Jan Ghisoni

Cambodian Table Etiquette

Updated: Nov 13

Whilst in Cambodia you may have the pleasure of being invited to the home of a local or even if you are just dining at a local eatery, there are some important points to be aware of as your dining habits could be considered disrespectful and offensive to those around you. Although Cambodian people are some of the most understanding people in the world. Here are some tips for ensuring that your dining experience is made easier.


  1. Wait to be told where to sit.

  2. Big sharing platters will be placed in the middle of the table along with condiments which may include fish sauce, garlic flakes, soy sauce, chilli jam and pickled green chillies.

  3. Cutlery will be placed in a glass of water which can be wiped with a paper towel. It should be noted that Cambodians eat with just a spoon and fork and they only use chopsticks to pick the meat out from soup dishes.

  4. Cambodians do not use knives.

  5. It is considered impolite to put your fork in your mouth as it is only to be used to push food on to your spoon which should only be held in your right hand.

  6. Never use cutlery which has been placed in your mouth in the shared platters.

  7. It is customary for the eldest person at the table to start eating before everyone else but generally once everyone has rice on their plates you can begin your meal.

  8. Always use your right hand when putting food in your mouth because your left hand is seen as unclean.

  9. If you are sitting on the floor you will notice that the older people in your group cross their legs whilst the young adults and children tuck their legs to the side with their feet pointing behind them.

  10. It would also be polite to switch off your mobile phone during dinner.

  11. Try not to put too much food on your plate in one go because Cambodian people are very mindful of food wastage.

  12. Remember to compliment your host/hostess on their wonderful dishes.

  13. Offer to help clean up afterwards.