A Girl’s Gotta Eat: Cambodia

Pairs Well With…Cambodia + Crunchy Critters + Cooking + Khmer Dishes (which made a memorable impression)

If you recall last month’s food challenge, I ate a lot of weird sea creatures, from snails to tiny shrimps, none of which tickled my fancy.  Month two’s food challenge was quite sea-based, different than the curveball thrown my way in month three: bugs.  As far as I can recall, I never ate a bug, not even as a kid.  I knew the bug eating was bound to happen either in Cambodia or Thailand, so I should have been ready.

Each monthly challenge consists of a minimum of five food oddities that are eaten routinely in the country. I’ve often found myself thinking, “Who the heck would actually eat this?”  Answer: people in third world or underdeveloped countries, where bugs are common “treat” – if you can even call them that. (For the record, crickets are sold at movie theaters as a show snack. I still hold firm that they taste like bacon.) During the month 3 challenge, I tapped out halfway through.  There was NO way in hell I was eating big ass cicada bugs, which were this month’s “Never Try, Never Know” food challenge finale.

Take a look at what month three’s food challenge looked like:

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Bugs aside, the “normal meals” each month continue to get better and better.  While I liked the food in Vietnam, especially the pho, I loved the fresh flavors of traditional Khmer recipes.  In fact, I found myself cooking a lot in Cambodia, both at home and with local chefs, which allowed me to learn traditional Khmer cooking techniques and recipes.  All this Khmer cooking inspiration has made its way into this month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Cambodia.

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Khmer cuisine, a type of cuisine foreign to me until recently, boasts a variety of flavors and textures and uses a heavy supply of fresh herbs and leaves within the recipes. Rice is a common denominator at pretty much every meal and is either playing peek-a-boo from under your dinner or side-eyeing your plate from the center of the table.  Little jars with various levels of heat are always delivered to your table for you to crank up your spice level if you like an intense flavor.  And if rice isn’t part of your main meal, it is likely to be part of your dessert. Rice is welcome for any occasion, morning or night, as well as with any meal.

Here are some of my favorite meals from last month:

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This month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Cambodia offers some really unique and fun recipes, but most of all flavorful without breaking the calorie bank.  (Okay, maybe just on the dessert front. Don’t hate.)  In any case, if Khmer food isn’t your thing, don’t forget to check out the past two editions of this wonderful foodie series!

A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Vietnam

A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Malaysia

I’ve been in Thailand for about two weeks now and the food here is AMAZING, especially the pad thai. There’s also a lot of weird looking, fried on-a-stick type things that just don’t look normal.  I’m already dreaming up recipes for next month’s guide, as it will be the last of the Asian food editions before it’s onto Europe.  Can you believe it? Until then, I’ll be scouting out all the rave about the fried scorpions.

6 Responses to “A Girl’s Gotta Eat: Cambodia”

  1. Behind the Board DJ (@djsbehindboard)

    I’ll say this much: while I’ve eaten things that my wife and children would never even consider, I’m not sure how easily it would be to talk me into trying out many of the things on this particular list (well, at least the bugs).

    I’m digging the accompanying slideshows that go with your written exploits; not only do they give a visual, seeing your facial expressions as you try out the insects is QUITE entertaining.

    Looking forward to reading your reaction to scorpions. 😉

    • pairswellwith@gmail.com

      I’ve got to be honest, ALL of this is quite out of my comfort zone. I have to jump some big mental hurdles. The people capturing these images die laughing every time because I freak out and my face shows it.

      Next month’s version will cover Thailand – and the scorpions! 😉

    • pairswellwith@gmail.com

      My next month’s version will cover where I’m at now, Thailand, and I’m already working with great locals for the best Pad Thai, among other great nibbles.


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