Our Cambodian meal was Chicken and Pickled Lime Soup, Pineapple Rice, Grilled Corn with Coconut Milk and Nom Plae Ai. The soup was really good. It was salty from the limes that we pickled in salt water for a week. We plan to make it again. We made pineapple rice because we had rice and some leftover pineapple and it seemed like it fit with the meal. We expected the corn with coconut milk to have a more flavor. Adding a little salt helped.
Making Nom Plae Ai was a process. We cooked palm sugar and water until the sugar was melted then added coconut flakes. Let this cool enough to form into little balls. We then mixed sticky rice flour and hot water to form a dough. This dough was wrapped around the sugar coconut balls. The hard part was making sure it was sealed really well. This was boiled and then rolled in melted coconut oil then flaked coconut. They were interesting. The dough was chewy which is how it was described. I’m not sure we got it exactly right though. By the next day they were to really hard to chew. Not something we would make again but we would like to find somewhere to try these and other authentic Cambodian food.
Cambodians eat mostly fish as their main source of protein. The World Rice Conference voted Cambodia as having the best rice in the world. They are Entomophagous which means they eat bugs. Bugs are low in fat and carbs, high in protein and cheaper than beef and chicken. We chose chicken. Here is a Youtube for those with a strong stomach -> Cooking and eating fresh tarantulas https://youtu.be/YYXRQmOMv0c
One fifth of the population was killed during the Cambodian genocide under the communist party Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. About 2.5 to 3 million people were killed, mostly the educated and religious leaders who were considered a threat. Because of this nearly half of the population is under the age of 24. Cambodia has at least 4 million active landmines that have caused over 40,000 amputees and there are 300 new amputees a month. Specialists have trained rats have to sniff out the mines. The rats are able to locate the landmines but are light enough to not detonate them.
Because the economy is unregulated there are a lot of pop up street venders that sell all sorts of items. For example street corner gas stations where gas is sold in recycled pop bottles.