Fish Amok | A Guide to Cambodian Cuisine

Fish Amok - Cambodia tour packages

Fish Amok is Cambodia’s national dish, this is a fragrant and flavorful curry that is made with fresh fish, coconut milk, and kroeung, a traditional Khmer spice paste. This Cambodian cuisine dish is steamed in banana leaves, which infuses it with a unique aroma and presentation. Explore the history and cultural significance of the dish, as well as where to find the best versions of it in Cambodia. Go Cambodia Tours will provide tips on how to enjoy the dish and recommendations for other Cambodian delicacies to try.

The History and Cultural Significance of Fish Amok

Fish Amok has a long history in Cambodia and is believed to have originated during the Khmer Empire, which ruled from the 9th to the 15th century. The dish was originally served to royalty and was considered a delicacy due to the high cost of the ingredients. Fish Amok’s popularity continued to grow over the centuries, and today, it is considered the national dish of Cambodia. The dish has a special place in Cambodian culture and is often served during festivals and special occasions.

Cambodia cuisine - Cambodia trip

The preparation of this Cambodian dish is considered an art form in Cambodia, and the dish is typically made with great care and attention to detail. The use of banana leaves in the cooking process adds a unique flavor and presentation to the dish, making it a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. Fish Amok’s popularity has also spread beyond Cambodia’s borders, and it is now enjoyed by foodies and travelers around the world. Despite its growing global appeal, it remains a beloved and integral part of Cambodia’s culinary heritage.

Ingredients and Preparation of Fish Amok

This traditional dish is made with fresh fish, typically a type of freshwater fish that is found in Cambodia’s many rivers and lakes. Other key ingredients in the dish include coconut milk, kroeung (a traditional Khmer spice paste made with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and other spices), fish sauce, sugar, and eggs.

Kroeung - Cambodia tour

The preparation of Fish Amok involves making the kroeung paste, which is then mixed with coconut milk and fish, and steamed in banana leaves. The banana leaves give the dish a unique aroma and also help to keep the fish tender and moist during the cooking process. Once the dish is steamed, it is typically garnished with a sprinkling of sliced chilies, and served with a side of rice.

Where to Find the Best Fish Amok in Cambodia

Fish Amok is a popular dish in Cambodia, and you can find it on the menu of many restaurants and street food stalls throughout the country. Some of the best places to try Fish Amok include:

  • Romdeng in Phnom Penh: This restaurant is part of the TREE Alliance, which helps to train and support disadvantaged young people in Cambodia. The Fish Amok at Romdeng is made with a freshwater fish called trey chean that is found in the Mekong River.

Romdeng in Phnom Penh - Khmer Restaurant

  • The Sugar Palm in Siem Reap: This restaurant is known for its traditional Cambodian cuisine, and their Fish Amok is a standout dish. The fish used in their version of the dish is typically catfish, and it is served with a side of steamed rice and pickled vegetables.

The Sugar Palm in Siem Reap - Cambodia tour

  • Angkor Wat Food and Market in Siem Reap: This street food stall is located near the entrance to the Angkor Wat temple complex, and serves up delicious Fish Amok to hungry travelers. The dish is made with a mix of fish and prawns, and is cooked to perfection in banana leaves.

Siem Reap Evening Street Food

No matter where you choose to try Fish Amok in Cambodia, you are sure to be in for a treat. The dish is a delicious representation of Cambodia’s rich culinary heritage, and is a must-try for any foodie or traveler visiting the country.

Tips for Enjoying Fish Amok in Cambodia

When trying this special Cambodian cuisine in Cambodia, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help you fully enjoy the dish. Here are some recommendations:

  • Eat with rice: The dish is typically served with a side of rice, which helps to balance out the strong flavors of the curry.
  • Use your hands: this is traditionally eaten with the hands, as it is served in banana leaves that can be easily peeled back. Using your hands can help you fully experience the flavors and textures of the dish.
  • Pair with a cold beer: A cold beer can help to cut through the richness of the dish and provide a refreshing balance.
  • Try other Cambodian delicacies: While Fish Amok is a must-try dish, Cambodia has many other delicious culinary offerings. Be sure to also try dishes like lok lak (stir-fried beef), num banh chok (rice noodles with fish curry), and kuy teav (noodle soup).

Fish Amok - Cambodian cuisine

Fish Amok is more than just a dish of Cambodian cuisine; it is a representation of the country’s rich history and cultural traditions. The fragrant and flavorful curry, steamed in banana leaves, is a must-try for any traveler or foodie visiting the country. From high-end restaurants to humble street food stalls, this special traditional dish can be found all over Cambodia, and each version offers a unique and delicious experience. So next time when you are on the Cambodia tour, be sure to add Fish Amok to your Cambodian culinary bucket list and savor every bite of this national treasure.