Flavors In Khmer: 7+ Best Words To Learn Today!

When it comes to large quantities of fantastic cuisine, Southeast Asia is unparalleled. What about trying some authentic Khmer food? You see, the flavors in Khmer traditional dishes are truly unique, so we highly recommend that you not pass up the opportunity to try them during your trip. Want to learn more about it? Keep reading below!

Thai and Vietnamese cuisines may be the most well-known among southeast Asian countries. However, Khmer cuisine is also quite tasty, and you can enjoy rich flavors at affordable prices. Also, it has been heavily influenced by the cuisines of its neighboring countries, making their dishes quite interesting. Amok, for example, sounds quite similar to Hor Mok, a traditional dish in Thailand that shares the same appearance and ingredients as its Khmer counterpart. So now is your chance to learn about some of the top Cambodian foods before you visit the country.

Here’s some Khmer taste vocabulary to warm your appetite for the delicious content to get you started. Therefore, you can express your feelings about the meal and have the Cambodian chefs adjust their recipes accordingly.

Flavors In Khmer

Khmer WordPronunciationEnglish Definitions
ឆ្ងាញ់ពិសារchhnganh pisaearDelicious
ឡើងជូរlaeng chourSour
គ្មានរស់ជាតិkmean rsa cheateTasteless
flavors in Khmer - Fish Amok

Kroeung (គ្រឿង)

When cooking authentic Khmer food, Kroeung, this herbal paste is a must-have ingredient. The traditional method of making kroeung involves finely cutting and grinding the ingredients together. In addition, herbs such as lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, etc., are frequently used. Therefore, let’s study the Khmer language to determine how to use these necessary ingredients.

Cambodian Herbs And Spices

Khmer WordPronunciationEnglish Definitions
គ្រឿងkroeungSpice paste
ប្រហុកprahokFermented fish paste
ទឹមសkhtoem saGarlic
ម្ទេសក្រហមស្ងួតmtes kraham snguotDried red pepper
ទឹមក្រហមkhtoem krahamShallot

Cambodian Cuisine

The basics of a Cambodian meal include soup, salad, a fish meal, rice, and veggies. Khmer people usually finish their dinner with a traditional Cambodian dessert of fresh fruits and sticky rice. Generally, we can see rice and fish caught from freshwater sources in the traditional Cambodian dishes, which is typical for Khmer people to eat in everyday life.

Read on if you’re interested in learning more about Khmer cooking and trying some new recipes!

អាម៉ុកត្រី (Amok Tei) – Fish Amok

The term “amok” describes the method of cooking by steaming a meal in a banana leaf. And the Kroeung, authentic Cambodian spice pastes, are essential. The fish is marinated in coconut milk and the kroeung paste for some time before being steamed in banana leaves by local cooks. Then, if you’d want them to make it a little sweeter, they can put coconut cream on top.

សម្លម្ជូរ (Samlar Machu) – Sour Soup

A trip to Cambodia without eating this soup would be like missing out on authentic Cambodian food. While tamarind is traditionally responsible for the soup’s sour taste, additional acidic ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, are sometimes added for variety. Other than that, Cambodian cuisine offers a wide variety of tart soups, such as Samlar Machu Yuon (សម្លរម្ជូរយួន), Samlar Machu Srae (សម្លម្ជូរស្រែ), Samlar Machu Kroeung (សម្លរម្ជូរគ្រឿង), and Samlar Machu Ktis (សម្លរម្ជូរខ្ទិះ​).

flavors in Khmer - Beef Lok Lak

ឡុកឡាក់សាច់គោ (Lol Lak Sach Kor) – Beef Lok Lak

Beef lok lak, or “shaking beef,” is often regarded as Cambodia’s national dish. Beef is stir-fried with French-influenced Vietnamese ingredients, including cucumber, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepper, and soy sauce.

Pahut – Fish Cakes

Pahut, or fish cake, is a delightful food. Boneless white fish is used to make bite-sized pieces for this dish. It’s made with lemongrass, turmeric, and garlic cloves. Fish cakes are also commonly seen in Asian nations like Thailand and Vietnam; thus, visitors may notice the similarity. However, traditional Cambodian fish cakes have fewer ingredients and do not taste as strongly as Thai.

គុយទាវ (Kuy Teav) – Rice Noodles Soups

Rice noodle soup with meat, such as chicken, beef, or pork, is a typical Chinese Cambodian breakfast, and it’s sometimes topped with bean sprouts, scallions, coriander, fish sauce, lime, and sriracha.


Most of us study foreign languages because we are also passionate about eating and want to explore the world in search of new and exciting cuisines. Maybe you’re trying to learn Khmer because you enjoy Khmer cuisine like us. With the words we taught you above, you can now communicate with native Khmer speakers about what you’re eating by describing the various flavors. In addition, knowing how to prepare traditional Khmer food and the Khmer language can help you connect with the locals and make friends in Cambodia. As a result, your motivation to learn more about Cambodian cooking and Khmer communication will increase.

So next time, don’t leave Cambodia without trying Cambodian street food and telling street vendors ឆ្ងាញ់ពិសារ, pronounced as chhnganh pisaear, which means delicious in Khmer.

Learn Khmer With The Ling App

Learn Khmer with Ling

Do you wish to order authentic Khmer street food without making any embarrassing mistakes? Then it would help if you made an effort to improve your knowledge of the Khmer language.

The Ling App has a wealth of resources to help you reach your language learning goals, including mastery of the Khmer language. So that you can impress the locals with your knowledge of Khmer, you will not only learn the vocabulary for describing tastes in Khmer but also how to communicate your appreciation for people who make you good food. And you should listen to a native speaker’s language every day if you want to learn how to pronounce Khmer correctly.

Before traveling to Cambodia, be at ease using our mobile chatbot if you have no connections with the Khmer people. Conversations with a natural Khmer accent provided by our chatbot are available daily. That way, you can feel comfortable beginning conversations with the locals.

Need to feel comfortable ordering in Khmer at a Cambodian restaurant? So download the Ling App from the Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore now, and prepare to be fluent in Khmer very soon!

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