Cambodian Cooking Class

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One of the many wonderful things about travelling the world is discovering new dishes and cooking methods. The ultimate way to get to know a country’s culinary specialities is to take a cooking class, you will find these in almost every city or town you visit and they’re well worth spending a few dollars and a day or so of your time to take. In Battambang we took a half-day Cambodian Cooking Class and learnt how to prepare two Cambodian dishes, fish amok and chicken with lemongrass and holy basil.

Cambodian Cooking Class. Khmer food.

This class was great for us as the children were welcome too, they cooked their own dishes right alongside the grown-ups, learning new skills and discovering greater confidence in their own abilities.

Cambodian food at the market
Touring the local markets is a big part of learning about the food in any country. Most good Cambodian cooking classes will include a market tour. This market is the old market in Siem Reap, dried meats, sausages, and fish.

We would highly recommend a  cooking class or course like this in Cambodia or any country for travelling families, it really was a great experience for the kids, and for us.

Eating bugs in Cambodia
They do, indeed, eat a wide waviety of insects and bugs in Cambodia. Deep fried spider is not good. There were no fried spiders on the cooking class menu!

We also highly recommend Battambang as a destination within Cambodia, read more about our unforgettable one day tour of Battambang here.

The Cambodian Cooking Class in Battambang

Cambodian food curry paste
Grinding curry paste for Cambodian food

We took a half-day Cambodian cooking class with Smokin’ Pot restaurant and Cookery School to try our hand at two traditional Khmer dishes.

Could you save this to Pinterest? Thanks.

Smokin’ Pot have a restaurant on Battambang’s low-key Pub St. ( nothing like Siem Reap’s version) and a rooftop cooking school at a separate location, not far away. This cooking class gets 5 star reviews on Tripadvisor if you’d like to read more. Unfortunately they don’t have their own website.

Coincidentally, the cooking school, Smokin’Pot on The Roof, was opposite our hotel in Battambang.

Smokin’ Pot were happy to accept children over 7 years of age onto the course.

The cooking class cost $10 per person and included a tour of the local market, a cook book each to take home, water and, of course, lunch.

To book a similar Cambodian cooking class, look here, this one is in Siem Reap, but there are cooking classes all over Cambodia, including Kampot and Phnom Penh.

Cambodia seafood
If you’d like to discover Cambodian seafood add Kampot to your itinerary. This town if also famous for Kampot pepper and sea salt.

The Cambodian Dishes We Prepared

Homeschool and travel learning while travelling classes
Typical ingredients for a Cambodian curry paste.

Both dishes started with a curry paste of garlic, lemon grass, salt, sugar, galangal, turmeric, soaked dried chillies (the kids omitted this) soy and fish sauces and kaffir lime leaves.

We did our fine chopping with a cleaver and wooden cutting board before smashing the ingredients to a paste with a stone pestle and mortar. All fingers remained intact.

Fish Amok

Making fish amok Cambodia
Preparing traditional fish amok in Cambodia

This traditional and unusual Khmer dish is steamed in a banana leaf “boat” until the coconut curry sets around the chunks of snake head fish and mushroom.

Fish amok was one of our favourite dishes in Cambodia, it is mild and creamy with coconut and the snakehead is a good eating fish.

We first tried this at, (our favourite) Garden Village Guest House in Siem Reap, it was always good.

Chicken With Lemongrass and Basil

chicken with lemongrass Cambodia
Chicken with lemongrass. Fried Cambodian style.

We ate many variations of fried chicken with lemongrass and basil in Cambodia. We felt it worked best with the lemon grass roughly chopped, rather than ground into the curry paste as it was in the cookery class. (Try this in Kampot at Dara market’s Dara Win BBQ).

This is a dish I will most certainly be preparing back home in Australia, where lemon grass grows like weeds.

The children enjoyed this in restaurants, ordered in its “no spicy” form.

The Cambodian Market Tour

food for sale cambodia
A typical Cambodian food market.

Markets in South East Asia are great, but not for those of a sensitive disposition. You will see things that maybe you’d rather not. If you don’t like gore, death, disembowelment and interesting smells, probably best that you don’t go.

I’m not going to put the more bizarre and gruesome photos in this post, Ill put them in this one  (click through) so you can choose what you can’t unsee. A huge variety of unusual ( to us) living things are used in Cambodian cooking.

All up, a great morning and a great lunch.  A special memory and  a top-notch educational experience that I’m sure will stay with the kids a long time. We’ll be looking out for more family cooking classes around the world, this sure beats Domestic Science!

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

5 thoughts on “Cambodian Cooking Class”

  1. Thanks for your great blog! We have noted this down for our next visit to Cambodia. On our last visit my family and I took part in a private cooking class in Phnom Penh we learnt to cook Fish Amok alongside another few recipes. The chef, Veasna, uploads videos of his Khmer recipes to his website.

  2. Ha, we were supposed to do our cooking lesson at The Smoking Pot but our teacher never showed up ;-(. In the end, my daughter, Emma, and I raced to catch another class at Nary’s. It was a blast. We made Fish Amok as well. I wonder how close the recipes are to each other. If interested, I posted the recipe we used here:

    Thanks for the post. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  3. This is so awesome. The thing that scares me is how do you find out about how to do these things and get them sorted out with the language barrier? I just imagine myself wandering aimlessly around then leaving again having missed everything.

    • There is really no language barrier in Asia usually, everyone speaks English to a decent level. China is the only country where we’ve had problems, resorting to pointing to phrase book words.

  4. Looks awesome ! I have a cooking-phobia, so I don’t think I would be any good at this, but you guys all inherited Chef’s genes I think!!


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