Would you have a sweet and sour Cambodian curry or a dish of mild sushi from Japanese cuisine? The answer is not as easy as it seems.
Though both countries are in Asia, their cuisines differ greatly between each country.
In this article, we will compare Cambodian food and Japanese food to help you make the best decision for your taste buds.
When you think of Japanese cuisine, what comes to mind? There are sushi, sashimi, tempura, teriyaki chicken, and many other delicious dishes that are popular throughout the country as well as all over the world.
Japanese food is traditionally served with rice or noodles.
It focuses on the high quality of the ingredients, from vegetables to meat and seafood.
Since seafood like salmon and tuna are often eaten raw in sushi and sashimi recipes, and meat like Wagyu beef is cooked to medium-rare, they need to be fresh to ensure the sweet and natural taste.
They also prefer fermented (or pickled) foods, especially root vegetables like ginger or radish.
Japanese food often has a salty and umami flavor, and offers low-calorie options, making it perfect for people who want to eat deliciously but healthily.
Cambodian food is not a very popular cuisine in the world.
It has influences from different parts of Asia, so you will find the flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, India, and China in Cambodian dishes.
However, Cambodian food is subtler and not spicy like other aforementioned Asian cuisines.
It has a sour, sweet, and pungent flavor because indigenous people tend to use spices like fish sauce, vinegar, shrimp paste, soy sauce, coconut milk, and lemongrass in their cooking.
There are many curry dishes that feature freshwater fish from the Mekong flows in Cambodian cuisine.
They also make use of different kinds of meat like beef, pork, and chicken.
Cambodians use many tropical fruits like durian, kuy fruit, pineapple, jackfruit, banana, watermelon, mango, and papaya in both savory and sweet recipes.
One special thing is that there are many insect dishes that are sold on the street and grab the attention of any tourist who visits this country.
When it comes to comparing Japanese food and Cambodian food, there are some key differences that need a closer look at:
Japanese food is much more refined and delicate in taste and presentation, while Cambodian food is simpler
The first difference between the two cuisines is quite obvious.
While Cambodian food seems to be simple and more affordable, Japanese cuisine is reputed for being professional and high-quality.
Japanese chefs or even home cooks really focus on the origin and quality of their ingredients.
Some of the most expensive dishes in the world are featured in Japanese cuisine, including Wagyu beef, Matsutake mushrooms, Ruby Roman grapes, or fugu.
Japanese food isn’t sophisticatedly decorated, but the simple presentation makes their dishes look more elegant and professional.
Japanese often eats high-quality raw seafood like salmon and tuna, while Cambodians eat freshwater fish that is cooked in curries
Another difference between Cambodian cuisine and Japanese cuisine is that the Japanese tend to eat seafood whereas Cambodians eat freshwater fish.
The reason is Japanese people have access to many seas and oceans, so they have an abundant source of fresh and premium seafood like salmon, tuna, crab, or lobster.
Meanwhile, Cambodians catch fish from the Mekong flows to create curry dishes.
Another thing that sets Japanese cuisine apart from Cambodian cuisine is seaweed.
This marine plant is widely eaten in Japanese and Korean cuisines.
It comes in different forms, from fresh to dried or pre-seasoned, and can be served in numerous dishes.
Meanwhile, Cambodian cuisine doesn’t include this ingredient.
Japanese food is prized for its special umami flavor, which is known as the fifth flavor out of regular sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Umami flavor often comes from raw seafood, seaweed, and soy-based ingredients.
On the other hand, Cambodian food is sourer and sweeter.
They use more palm sugar and coconut milk to add sweetness, while vinegar, citrus juice, and fermented ingredients add sourness.
Cambodian food and Japanese food also share some similarities besides the aforementioned differences:
Rice and noodles are two staples in both Cambodia and Japan.
In general, most Asian countries feature these carb options, so it is no surprise that Cambodian food and Japanese food are traditionally served with rice and noodles, although they can be cooked in different ways.
The two cuisines share some spices like fish sauce, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric in their cooking
Another similarity between Japanese cuisine and Cambodian cuisine is that they share some common spices like fish sauce, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.
These seasoning spices provide a pungent and fragrant flavor without making their food too spicy.
They both have diverse cuisines with many dishes that are made from different fresh ingredients
The last thing in common between Cambodian food and Japanese food is that they are made from fresh ingredients.
These ingredients come from different groups like grains, vegetables, meat (red meat, poultry), seafood, freshwater fish, and fruits.
This makes their food more nutritious and healthier than other processed cuisines.
The choice is actually yours when it comes to picking out the best cuisine.
Cambodian food and Japanese cuisine each have their perks, so it really depends on what you are looking for in a dish.
We hope this article has given you some insight into the differences between these two cuisines to help make your decision easier.
Do you prefer the umami taste of Japanese food or the sweet and sour taste of Cambodian cuisine? Or do you like both?