If you’re planning on visiting a Cambodian restaurant, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some Khmer restaurant vocabulary and basic phrases. Khmer cuisine is an integral part of Cambodian culture, much like in the rest of Southeast Asia. And by mastering a few essential words and phrases, you’ll not only impress the locals but also make ordering your desired food and drinks more effortless. Let’s learn more about that in this post!
Khmer food (អាហារ or ahar) is an integral part of daily life for the Cambodian people. Throughout the day and night, the smells of cooking pervade the air. In fact, food is so central to Cambodians that the first thing a foreigner might be asked when meeting a local is whether they have had anything to eat yet. For the locals, this is a polite way of asking how are you? Ready to learn more? Keep reading below!
Khmer Restaurant Vocabulary
A world of food and drink awaits you as soon as you step out of the door and into a tuk-tuk. From tasty street food to delicious menus in cafes and restaurants., it’s impossible not to find yourself drooling with all the flavors in the air. Here are some basic words to get you started.
|Breakfast||អាហារពេលព្រឹក||Ahar pel preuk|
|Lunch||អាហារពេលថ្ងៃ||Ahar pel thnai|
|Dinner||អាហារពេលល្ងាច||Aha pel lngeach|
|Hunger||សេចក្តីឃ្លាន||Sech kdei klean|
|Thirst||សេចក្តីស្រេកទឹក||Sech kdei srek teuk|
|Drink||ភេសជ្ជះ||Phes sa cheak|
|(to) Cook||ចំអិនម្ហូប||Chamen mhoub|
|Bon appetit! / Enjoy your meal!||រីករាយជាមួយនឹងម្ងូប||Rikreay cheamuoynung mngoub!|
|Cheers! / To your health!||លើកកែវឡើងដើម្បីសុខភាព||Leuk kev laeng daembi sokhpheap!|
When ordering various dishes off the menu, knowing the Khmer word for how you would like your food to taste is useful. Here are five words in the Khmer language everyone coming to Cambodia should learn before ordering food.
Basic Cutlery In Khmer
In Cambodia, it’s uncommon to be provided with a knife to eat with, unlike in the West. Instead, the standard way to eat Khmer cuisine is using a fork and spoon. To help you navigate through the restaurant and order your desired meal with ease, we’ve listed some useful words and phrases for cutlery in Khmer below.
|Cutlery||កាំបិតផ្សេងៗ||Kambet pseng pseng|
|Mug||ពែងធំមានដៃ||Peng thom meandai|
If you are in Cambodia for more than a few days, you may hanker for some Western fare. Here are a few basic words to help you get by when the spicy noodle soup gets a bit much.
|Roll||នុំគូតខ្យង||Nom kut kyorng|
|French fries||ដំឡូងចៀន||Damlaung chien|
To complete your Cambodian culinary experience, you’ll need a refreshing drink to accompany your delicious dishes. That’s why we’ve listed below some essential Khmer drink vocabulary to equip you with the necessary language skills.
|Mineral water||ទឹកបរិសុទ្ធ||Teuk borisoth|
|Soda water / sparkling water||ទឹកសូដា||Teuk soda|
|Still water||ទឹកធម្មតា||Teuk tomda|
|Juice||ទឹកផ្លែឈើ||Teuk ple cheu|
|Champagne||ស្រាសាំប៉ាញ||Sra sam panh|
|Milk||ទឹកដោះគោ||Teuk dos koh|
|Cocoa||ទឹកក្រូចកូកា||Teuk kroj coca|
Khmer Meat And Fish
For the carnivores among you, here is a handy list of meat and fish words in the Khmer language.
|Small sausage||សាចក់្រកតូច||Sach krak tauch|
|Ham||សាច់ជ្រូកបន្ទះ||Sach chrouk banteah|
Khmer Fruit And Vegetables
If meat isn’t your thing, then here is a list of fruit and veg words to start learning so you don’t have to speak English to your waiter or waitress when choosing your meal.
|Strawberry||ស្ត្របឺររី||Stro beu ri|
And what about a tasty dessert? No meal is complete without something sweet. Cambodians have a bit of a sweet tooth, so here are some important words to use when you fancy a treat.
Learn Khmer With Ling!
At first, learning Khmer restaurant vocabulary may seem intimidating. However, with a bit of practice, you’ll quickly be able to order food like a pro. You may even impress some locals with your newfound language skills.
If you’re keen on expanding your Khmer vocabulary and learning more about Cambodia’s culture and people, the Ling app has a wealth of helpful learning tools and informative blogs, just like this one. Check out the Ling app or download it from Google Play or App Store. Enjoy your Khmer adventure, and bon appétit!