Cambodia does not have a very strong dessert or snack culture, although we did try our best to sample as many Khmer desserts that we found mostly from street vendors. Here is a small selection of what Cambodian desserts you might encounter around the country.
Sankhya Lapov (Pumpkin Custard)
A delicious Cambodian dessert is pumpkin and coconut custard. Served after lunch and dinner, the dish is a sweet custard that is stuffed inside a pumpkin before being steamed. The tasty treat is usually reserved for special occasions.
These sweet snacks can also be found on the street, especially in the afternoon. Bananas are flattened and dipped into a batter with black sesame seeds, before being deep-fried.
A common sight in Cambodia is people clutching a plastic bag packed with a variety of pickled fruit. Ranging from papaya and apple to cucumber and guava, the snacks are served with a small side bag of dipping sauce made from salt, sugar, chilli and fish sauce.
Num Banh Duc
A pandan dessert made with rice flour and tapioca starch.
A yellow star-like dessert made of egg yolk, flour, and sugar.
Num Poh Peay
A glutinous rice flour dessert that is often called "cassava silkworms". The rice mixture is moulded into a worm-like shape and boiled, then topped off with coconut shavings, mung beans, and roasted sesame seed. It is eaten with sweet coconut milk.
Num Chak Chan
A pandan and coconut milk 4 layered cake that is steamed. It is a common Southeast dessert and also featured within the dessert banquet in Khmer weddings.
Saku (Tapioca Dessert)
A type of steamed dessert made from Chestnut flour, coconut milk, and cooked mung bean.
Num Kroch (Orange Cake)
A sesame ball of Chinese origin that is fried with a mung bean filling. It is called "orange cake" because of the shape and colour after deep frying.
A Chinese-Khmer cake that is popular to consume and give during the holidays. It is a speciality in the Siem Reap, Kampot, Phnom Penh, and Ta Khmau areas, and unique given the special red stamp on the top of the cake.
A popular beverage that is often served Iced or hot, a legacy of the French. It may be served black and strong or milked with condensed milk to add a sweeter taste. It is generally thicker and sweeter than its Vietnamese counterpart.
Kafe Teuk Doh Ko/Kafe Blanc = Coffee with Milk
Kafe Khmao = Black strong coffee
Sugar cane juice extracted from squeezing sugar cane plant (sometimes with kumquats to add a hint of citrus flavour), served with ice.
Num Ansom Chek
You can find this by looking for small banana leaf parcels on an open fire. Ripe banana is encased in sweet sticky rice before being wrapped in banana leaf and cooked over an open fire. Delicious, warm, soft and crispy all in one!
A good way to gain insight into the local food culture would be to join a food tour or cooking class.