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Cambodia is a great place for food. Though Khmer is close to Thai food, the influence of the French and Vietnamese is strong, making it relatively easy to find a wide range of dishes that will match up to a high standard. Here are a few experiences to inform your Khmer culinary education:
1. Wet Market. The Wet Market is found in the Old Market and is the place Cambodians source their meals. It’s called a wet market because the meats and foods are picked up and the stalls are washed down with water every night.
2. Street 11. This is an accessible street food environment where you can eat among locals and tourists alike. If you’re feeling timid, order the fried rice, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there are local delicacies like tripe and pigs trotters to try.
3. A cooking class. Cambodian cooking classes are very popular. Often involving a trip to a local market, they are a great way to learn about the culture and eat some great food at the same time.
4. Shakes. When you’re in Southeast Asia and it’s hot, there isn’t anything quite like a refreshing shake to hit the spot. Try a blended carrot shake, which is as delicious as it is healthy.
5. Fruit. Southeast Asia has an incredible variety of seasonal fruit that will intrigue you, even in this globalized world. If mangosteen (small, round, purple fruit with green tops) are in season, you are in for a treat. If you see any other strange looking fruit, have a try. You won’t regret it, unless it turns out to be durian, and then it depends whether the smell entices or repels you.