Khmer Food Vs. Cambodian Food: Is Khmer Food The Same As Cambodian Food?

Khmer is known as the majority population of Cambodia.

Therefore, most people think Khmer cuisine and Cambodian cuisine are the same things.

In fact, Khmer food sets it apart from the national cuisine with some special features.

Let’s accompany us and figure out how these two kinds of food differ from each other and what best suits your taste buds.

What is special about Khmer food?

Many people are not familiar with Khmer food.

However, this Southeast Asian cuisine has some of the tastiest dishes that anyone wants to try.

Khmer is native to Cambodia, but this group of ethnic people also live sparsely in other countries in this region like Vietnam or Thailand.

Therefore, Khmer cuisine is a blend of different cultures in Southeast Asia.

Rice is a staple in Khmer cuisine.

It is an integral part of any meal and is served with other savory dishes.

Khmer food has a subtle taste as chilies are not included in their cuisine.

They tend towards the sweet and sour side by using coconut milk, palm sugar, vinegar, citrus juice, and fermented foods to flavor their dishes.

Freshwater fish plays an important role in the Khmer diet.

However, in other cuisines like Vietnamese or Thailand, there are many seafood and meat options among Khmer people too.

They also tend to eat more fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of their dishes.

What is special about Cambodian food?

Cambodian food refers to the cuisine of Cambodia.

Although it is not a popular cuisine in the world, Cambodian food still offers some tasty delicacies like amok, stuffed chicken wings, stir-fried beef with lemongrass, or Cambodian noodles (known as Nom Banh Chok).

Dishes from this country are often not spicy like other cuisines in the region like Indian, Thailand, or Vietnamese.

They do use chili peppers in their cooking, but not too much.

Other spices like turmeric, cardamom, tamarind, ginger, garlic, or star anise are more popular to provide a pungent and flavorful taste.

They eat different kinds of meat like beef, pork, chicken, seafood, but mainly freshwater fish from the Mekong River.

Fresh herbs and salads are often served in Cambodian meals to enhance the flavor of other dishes.

What are the differences between Khmer food vs Cambodian food?

Although Khmer food and Cambodian food are very similar as 90% Cambodian population is Khmer, these two cuisines also have some different features:

Khmer cuisine is more diverse than Cambodian cuisine because Khmer people also live in other Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam besides Cambodia 

Khmer cuisine refers to the culinary tradition of Khmer people from different countries.

Although this ethnic group mainly lives in Cambodia, they also locate sparsely in other regions of Vietnam and Thailand.

Therefore, Khmer cuisine is generally more diverse than indigenous Cambodian cuisine as it has been influenced by other Asian cultures where they live.

Khmer cuisine includes rice and noodles, while Cambodian cuisine contains more sticky rice

Another difference between Cambodian cuisine and Khmer cuisine is that Khmer people serve a lot of rice and noodles in their diet whereas Cambodians tend to eat more sticky rice.

Khmer noodles can be cooked in soups, while Cambodian noodles are typically served without a liquid to be eaten with raw vegetables, herbs, meat or fish, and a sweet and sour dipping fish sauce.

What are the similarities between Khmer food vs Cambodian food?

As already mentioned, there are many similarities between Khmer food and Cambodian food that make a lot of people refer to them as one cuisine.

Both cuisines use fish sauce, coconut oil, and fresh herbs to flavor their food

Khmer food and Cambodian food have a fragrant flavor and pungent taste, but not too spicy.

They use fish sauce as the main condiment to provide a salty, savory, with a hint of fishy and sour taste.

Coconut oil is also widely used to add a creamy texture and sweetness.

Fresh herbs are often eaten with other savory dishes like meat or fish to enhance the flavor of these foods.

Rice and freshwater fish play an important role in both Khmer and Cambodian cuisines

Another similarity between these two cuisines is that rice and freshwater fish are integral parts.

Rice is often steamed to eat with other savory dishes, while freshwater fish, which is mainly caught from the Mekong River, is cooked in curry recipes.

Khmer and Cambodian dishes are made from fresh ingredients, making them healthy choices 

One more common thing between Khmer food and Cambodian food is that they are made from fresh ingredients that are often locally sourced.

This is also a characteristic of Asian cuisine that sets it apart from the processed American cuisine.

Which one is better?

Khmer cuisine is not to be confused with Cambodian food.

They are two separate entities that differ in several ways, including regional differences and cooking styles, although they are also very similar.

You may find one of the cuisines better suits your palate than the other, but you can never know until you try them both! In the end, do you prefer Khmer food or Cambodian food?

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