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What do they eat in Cambodia?

Last Updated 21/12/2021.

I posted today about our cookery course in Battambang, Cambodia. It was a fabulous experience. As part of the tour we visited the local market, something we do often, but on this occasion we stayed longer than usual and took more photos. I’m publishing these photos separately because sensitive viewers may find them a little unpleasant.

Here is a quick tour of Battambang Market, Cambodia, in pictures, it goes some way towards answering the question, what do they eat in Cambodia?

What do they eat in Cambodia

what do they eat in Cambodia eels at a cambodian food market battambang

Fresh, live eels, fish and frogs writhe in bowls on the ground at the Cambodian food market.

meat section at a cambodian food market

As close as I want to get to the meat section. It was like an anatomy lesson in there. Every part of the animal is consumed in Cambodia.

snails at a cambodian market battambang

Huge snails, with green mangoes for scale. Tiny water snails are hugely popular too, you’ll see them sold on the street freshly cooked.

snake head fish at cambodian food market

Selecting live snake head fish for our fish amok, fresh from Tongle Sap lake.

killing fish in Cambodia. Food Market

Dispatched, gutted and scaled to order.

do they eat bugs in Cambodia yes cambodia food market

Water bugs or cockroaches? I’m not sure. We saw these cooked and ready to eat, right next to the tarantulas, crickets and silk worm larvae.

snake cambodian food market battambang

Snake, python, cobra and water snake. I have never seen this anywhere else in the world. Update, I now have in Sarawak Malaysia. We also saw python for sale in local food markets there.

Just as there is blood and gore in the meat section, there is beauty in the fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers and spices. Occasionally jasmine or kaffir lime leaves mask the smells of fish and meat.

food for sale cambodia
vegetables food cambodia
what vegetables do they eat in cambodia

We found good food in Cambodia. Traditional Khmer dishes like amok and lok lak are truly delicious, lok lak featuring the famous Kampot pepper. I’m not a big meat-eater, so I find meat markets a little tough to take and reminiscent of my years in pathology.

My husband, the chef, loves all this of course and I think it’s great for the kids to see that meat doesn’t come into existence wrapped in plastic. From what I’ve read of the Pol Pot years, Cambodians ate anything they could get their hands on to survive. You will also see the French influence in Cambodia still, in baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolate alongside traditional dishes imported by the Chinese community. Of course, the huge tourist industry in modern Cambodia has brought everything from Italian to Mexican, you can find just about any cuisine you desire in large Cambodian towns.

Christian Taylor

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

My family and I have lived in Cambodia for 18 years. We raised our boys in Battambamg for 7 years until moving to a more remote part of the country. I will say that westerners need to get past their western conventions about food and get over it. I find cobra to be a bit rubbery. Fried bugs are a bit crunchy but tasty.Even our pickiest eater like a and eggs and roasted bee larvae. More people in the world eat like this than don't.

Alyson for World Travel Family

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

I don't think anyone wasn't "over it" . But feel free to vent.


Sunday 12th of April 2015

Cockroaches and water bugs...sounds delicious! On the other side, those fresh fruits and vegetables look delicious!


Wednesday 8th of April 2015

Cockroaches? OMG just no! I don't mind the snakes though as I've had snake meat before. It tasted lke chicken!

Jennifer @ Emulsified Family

Wednesday 1st of April 2015

What great pictures. I love seeing everything that you post. It's just so different than my reality here in the States. My husband would absolutely love to walk through markets like that. Of course then he would be bringing stuff home I would have to try, and I'm not quite so sure about trying some of that stuff in the pictures above. Lol.

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