How to enjoy street food safely in Cambodia

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Whenever you look in Cambodia you will find locals enjoying the street food on offer. Many people will stop by the stalls on their way to work to grab a quick breakfast or a bite to each during their lunch break. Even school girls will stop for a tasty sweet treat with friends on their way home. However it is important to remember that we have weaker stomachs compared to our Cambodian friends and as a result we need to exercise more caution when it comes to our food choices. Here are some tips to help avoid getting that unpleasant bad tummy which confines us to our bathroom for several days and potentially ruins our holiday.

Try to avoid lettuce and raw vegetables, processed meats as well as uncooked meats, recycled curries and rice dishes from market areas. Instead choose to eat these in a restaurant where they are prepared on the spot. Obviously you want to taste those authentic flavours which you can still do by opting for stir fries where you can see the meat or seafood being cooked in front of you. Soups and noodle dishes are a favourite with the locals and would probably be less likely to have sat around for too long. Many dishes are accompanied by a baguette but eat your baguette without the butter because it is not the same as the butter we know as it is a mixture of raw egg and oil. If you choose to have a baguette sandwich make sure to avoid deli meats as their manufacturing processes are not as regulated as those in the western world.

Cambodia experiences intense heat and for that reason it is important to avoid fresh fruits which have already been peeled as they can spoil very quickly in the sun. Instead opt for unpeeled varieties and peel it yourself or ask the stall holder to peel it for you. Shakes and fruit juices should also be avoided as they might contain water which is often contaminated, including ice which has been found to contain bacteria and will make you very sick.

It is a regular sight to see women walking with big trays of cockles and shells. No matter how tempted you are to try them do remember that they may have sat in the sun for several hours. The shells may also contain pollutants and pesticides.

When it comes to Sweet treats and desserts you can safely enjoy the majority which are on offer such as pancakes, waffles and fried bananas but avoid the liquid based coconut desserts as they may also have sat around in the sun for too long.

Hopefully you will get a chance to sample all that Cambodia has to offer and by following some of the suggestions you can do this safely with no bad side effects.

If you have visited Cambodia and wish to recreate some of your favourite dishes or you simply want to experience Khmer cuisine do have a look at our Cambodian box of ingredients along with easy to follow recipe cards to help you create your authentic masterpiece in your very own kitchen.