Khmer cuisine is similar to that of its Southeast Asian neighbors. It shares many similarities with Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine and Teochew cuisine. Cambodian cuisine also uses fish sauce widely in soups, stir-fried cuisine, and as dippings.
The Chinese legacy of Stir frying can be noted in the use of many variations of rice noodles; while curry dishes known as kari that employ dried spices such as star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and fennel were borrowed from the Indians and given a distinctive Cambodian twist with the addition of local ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, shallots and galangal.
Pork broth rice noodle soup known simply as ka tieu is one of Cambodia’s popular dish. Also, Banh Chao is the Khmer version of the Vietnamese Bánh xèo.
Khmer cuisine is noted for the use of prahok, a type of fermented fish paste, in many dishes as a distinctive flavoring. When prahok is not used, it is likely to be kapǐ instead, a kind of fermented shrimp paste.
Coconut milk is the main ingredient of many Khmer curries and desserts.
In Cambodia there is regular aromatic rice and glutinous or sticky rice. The latter is used more in dessert dishes with fruits such as durian. Almost every meal is eaten with a bowl of rice.
Typically, Cambodians eat their meals with at least three or four separate dishes. Each individual dish will usually be one of sweet, sour, salty or bitter. Chili is usually left up to the individual to add themselves.
In this way Cambodians ensure that they get a bit of every flavor to satisfy their palates.