For the adventurous family, Cambodia offers the perfect blend of unique ecosystems and rich cultural landscapes. From its palm-shaded beaches to its verdant jungles and towering Khmer Empire monuments, there’s plenty of compelling heritage to keep you and your family occupied.
On a family trip to Cambodia, you’ll also enjoy the warmth and hospitality of locals while learning about the joint influences of Hinduism and Buddhism on the country at places such as the unforgettable, incredible stone religious complex Angkor Wat. But what do you eat when traveling Cambodia with children?
Fortunately, the cuisine proves tasty and offers many treats your kids won’t be able to get enough of. Here’s what to eat in Cambodia on a family vacation.
Cambodian Fruit 101
Cambodia is renowned for its many fresh fruits, which is a good place to start when introducing kids to its cuisine. From dragon fruits to mangosteens, you’ll be amazed by the wide variety of exotic sweet treats that grow here.
Before eating any fresh fruit in Cambodia, make sure that you wash it thoroughly and then peel it. That way, you’ll avoid the potential of an upset stomach. When looking for a restaurant, always scope out places with long lines. Popularity is a harbinger of good cooking and safe food preparation techniques.
Ready to learn more about the foods you’ll want to sink your teeth into in Cambodia? Let’s start with easily recognizable fruits before moving to the more exotic end of the spectrum.
The Many Fresh Fruits of Cambodia
You can’t go wrong with watermelon or pineapple, and you’ll find them everywhere in Cambodia. Ripened to perfection, they taste great in fresh juice and smoothie preparations, too.
Your family won’t be able to get enough mangoes either. One of the most delectable fruits in the world, they make a perfect snack for families on the go. Just peel back the skin and dive into the sweet, golden meaty fruit. Cashew mango smoothies are a thing in Cambodia. Creamy and sweet, you won’t regret giving them a try.
A delight for the eyes and the taste buds, dragon fruit comes with a characteristic bright pink skin. Inside, you’ll find a white, fruity pulp that tastes mild and refreshing. Since its black seeds are edible, you don’t have to stress over your little ones devouring them either.
Exotic Treats Worth a Try
Pomelos look like large grapefruits and have a refreshing, citrusy flavor. And if your kids are fans of apples and pears, then they’ll love sarays, which taste like a delicious combination of the two. Sapodillas look like kiwis with rough brown skin. Keep your eyes open for these lovely Southeast Asian gems. They are filled with a sweet brown pulp that tastes like a mixture between molasses and brown sugar.
Mangosteens represent another favorite, bursting with a juicy white pulp that your kids won’t be able to get enough of. Just be forewarned that their purple juice stains clothes and hands. Rambutans look like strange, furry red eggs taken straight from a Dr. Seuss book. But beneath the bizarre outward appearance is a yummy flesh that tastes like a mildly acidic grape.
Finally, durian remains a fruit that’s either loved or detested. There are no in-betweens. Its flesh tastes like a sweet custard flavored with almonds, but getting past the smell proves another thing entirely. While some people find the odor pleasant, others think it akin to rotting onions or turpentine. That’s why this divisive fruit is banned from many public spots in Cambodia.
Hearty Fare You and Your Kids Will Love
Besides fresh fruits and juices, Cambodian cuisine includes delectable coconut milk-based curries and rice dishes your whole family can get behind. Many of these recipes capitalize on the same flavors and ingredients used in Thai cooking.
Not sure what to order? Khmer chicken soup remains a crowd pleaser when it comes to children. Made with lemon or lime, coriander, and garlic, kids love its savory flavor.
Spring rolls represent another go-to menu item when traveling Cambodia with kids. They are served in two ways: fresh or fried. Fresh spring rolls are covered in rice paper soaked in water and stuffed with meats and/or veggies. Deep fried spring rolls include the same fillings encased in a crispy, golden shell. Either way, your rolls should come with a sweet dipping sauce.
If you’re having trouble getting a picky eater interested in trying something new, then order them num ansom chek. A kid-friendly favorite, num ansom chek includes a rice cake piled with bananas and wrapped in banana leaves. Or, stick with the time-honored classic sticky rice and mango. Imagine sticky rice covered in shredded coconut, palm sugar syrup, and freshly sliced mangoes.
A Delicious Family Trip to Cambodia
Cuisine in Cambodia draws on many influences, from French colonial preparations to the food traditions of neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. Whether exploring the wide variety of fresh fruits or tasting yummy curries and soups, you and your kids will find plenty to nibble on while traveling this Southeast Asian jewel.
Ready for your own family trip to Cambodia? Join us on our upcoming Thailand and Cambodia Family Adventure, an immersive, authentic way to experience Cambodia for children. And while you’re at it, download our free Around the World in 12 Recipes cookbook. Featuring kid-friendly recipes, your whole family will delight in preparing and enjoying these international flavors together.
At Our Whole Village, we craft tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.