Cambodian BBQ

Cambodian BBQ served with dips and rice. Vegetables and noodles to be cooked.

Cambodian BBQ

Cambodian BBQ

During our trip to Cambodia this summer, we spent a week in Siem Reap, exploring the archeological sites at Angkor and delving into Khmer cuisine at the local restaurants. On our last evening we walked around looking to try the local BBQ. It was a difficult decision as there were so many cafes and restaurants to choose from. We decided to sit in a popular BBQ café located along Pub street, which had many BBQ joints. Pub Street presents café diners a pleasant vista of young foreign students and expats having fun and street performers to entertain you. We were spell-bound by a very talented group of blind musicians who played haunting traditional Khmer music.

The local BBQ, called phnompleung (translated as“hill of fire”), is a wonderful, do-it-yourself table top grilling experience (with a little help from the waitress!) This cooking probably came from the Chinese, and reminded me of my childhood experience in Malaysia dining out at the stalls with my family and enjoying a dish we called “steam boat.” Our restaurant offered a BBQ experience that included choices of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, squid and exotic meats such as crocodile, frog’s legs, snake and ostrich. The main ingredients were sliced thin and cooked on the heated dome- shaped BBQ grill, which we regularly coated with a piece of pork fat to flavor the foods. When the main ingredients were cooked, noodles and vegetables were placed in a heated broth that formed a moat at the bottom of the cooker around the cooking dome. I guess we weren’t adventurous that evening and played it safe picking the regular meats. (We decided to leave for a later visit the local delicacies of snake and crocodile).Our BBQ was accompanied by a bowl of glutinous rice and various dipping sauces. The dips included seasoned fish sauce, lemon sauce and herb sauce that were simple but delicious. As we enjoyed our meal, the local musicians were replaced by salsa and rock music playing from a nearby bar with tourists dancing in the street.

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Categories: Cambodia, Spotlight, Tastes

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