Eating, Drinking and Nightlife
Khmer cuisine is quite varied from Thai and Vietnamese food, but just as delicious and cheap. Those not so keen on regular Thai spices will relish in the milder Khmer sauces, which opt for black pepper rather than chilli, though spice fiends will still find a few chilli peppers next to their plate. Though not as spicy, the food in Cambodia has a strong, sour flavour, and you will still taste a few Thai and Vietnamese influences such as coconut milk and lime juice.
Prahok is the biggest staple of Khmer cooking, a local fish paste that has a strong, potent taste and is regularly used in sauces, or even eaten on its own after being steamed in banana leaves. Traditional dishes worth a try include Amok, a thick soup cooked with coconut, a variety of meats and different leaves, sometimes exotically served in a coconut. Or for a unique breakfast try K’tieu, a noodle soup made with fish sauce, sugar, chilli powder and lime juice. Khmer sweets, called Pong Aime, are regularly served from stalls, or you can treat yourself to a sweetmeat served with condensed milk, sugar water and ice. Fresh fruit is a favourite in Cambodia too, especially mangoes, which taste best during Khmer New Year.
Iced coffee is certainly a staple drink in Cambodia, created with freshly brewed coffee and a helping of sweetened condensed milk - Vietnamese style. Iced tea is a favourite too, served with lemon and sugar. For a fresh beverage, coconuts can be found everywhere, so grab one and drink straight from the fruit.
In the evenings, enjoy one of the more popular beers, Angkor, a lager style beer with a cheap price label of no more than US$1. Golden Muscle Wine is a well-known tipple too - made from deer antlers and herbs; it certainly has a potent taste that needs to be watered down with tonic water or coca cola.
Nightlife in Cambodia can be as chilled or as active as you desire. For chic nightspots with an added flair, head to Siem Reap, though Phnom Penh is certainly the party town, partying from dusk until dawn. The Riverfront in Phnom Penh is a favourite for revellers, adorned with lots of late night restaurants and rooftop bars. Restaurants typically match the nightclub closing times, so you’ll always be sure to get some grub way into the night.