September 20, 2023

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Fried Kapeek (khmer Food)

2 min read

While Khmer cuisine (Khmer: ; lit. “Khmer culinary art”) explicitly refers to the food of the Khmer people, Cambodian cuisine serves as a catch-all phrase for all ethnic groups in Cambodia. [1][2] Due to some of these common influences and interactions, Cambodian food has many similarities to the nearby cuisines of Thai, Vietnamese, and Laos. Over time, Cambodian cuisine has integrated aspects of Indian, Chinese, and more recently, French cuisine.

The cuisine of Cambodia may be divided into peasant, aristocratic, and royal cuisine, albeit the distinction between the two is not as stark as it is in Thailand and Laos.  In contrast to peasant food, which is prepared using easier-to-find components, royal and elite dishes employ a wider variety of higher-quality ingredients and more meat.

The two main sources of nutrients in the Cambodian diet are rice and fish, particularly freshwater fish, due to the country’s geographic position. A staple item like rice is often consumed at every meal. It is thought to have been grown on Cambodian soil between 5,000 and 2,000 B.C. The Khmer were able to harvest rice and other crops three to four times a year because to the sophisticated hydraulic engineering created under the Khmer Empire.There are over 2,000 native rice varieties to Cambodia, according to the International Rice Research Institute, which were developed over many years by the country’s rice farmers. One of them, “Malys Angkor” (, Mlih ngkô), is recognized as the greatest rice in the entire globe.

Around the second century, Indian traders brought several spices to Khmer cuisine. Around 400 AD, a Chinese traveller to Cambodia made notice of the Indian impact on Khmer food as well as other facets of their society. The coconut-based curries (, kari), as well as the cooked red and white desserts, show signs of Indianization. Beginning in the 13th century, the Chinese migrated to the Khmer Empire, bringing with them their food, from which the Cambodian cuisine developed a significant usage of noodles and stir-frying.

From the ninth through the fifteenth centuries, the expanding Khmer Empire’s culinary impact extended beyond of modern-day Cambodia into what are now Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Khmer royal cooks who were introduced to the Ayutthaya Kingdom greatly affected the Thai royal cuisine as the Khmer palace meal evolved into a sophisticated royal cuisine.

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