Let’s take a look at Neang and Rachana’s daily lunch! Fried Pork with unripe mango fish sauce and more.
Japan Foundation staff from seven Southeast Asian countries and Japan report with pictures and videos about what they had for lunch for five days. You will hear “Delicious!” in each language in the video. Catch a glimpse of their local food culture while you enjoy the reports.
Fried Fish with Tamarind sauce and raw vegetable
The fried fish is so crispy and its taste is salty and sweet (fish’s meat). We don’t add many ingredients while frying the fish; just a little bit of salt will do. The dish’s flavor depends on its sauce, which is a little bit sour because of Tamarind and also a bit salty because of fish sauce. We usually eat this dish with rice. It is a provincial dish, not city food, and a dish suitable for home-cooking. We eat the fried fish, vegetables and sauce together in one bite. All the flavors, salty, sweet and sour, come together in our mouth, and then we eat the rice. It tastes so refreshing and delicious. For this dish we can also use another kind of sauce called “Toek Trey Koh Kong,” which uses lemon or lime instead of tamarind. It is a bit spicy and has a sour taste from the citrus. Most sauce in Khmer cuisine have chilli in them. It has a heavy taste with a lot of flavors combined together. And the balance of those flavors is what makes the food delicious. (Writer: Neang)
Micha Bontas Dek
In this dish we do not use any meat. We use only vegetables and noodles. It tastes so good, although a little bit oily. Alas, it is oil from vegetables that does not affect our health. The dish does not have a heavy nor strong taste like other Khmer dishes.
The taste is a bit salty and sweet, mixed together with the oil from the vegetables. In the picture, it might look like there is fried meat in the dish, but it is not meat. It is a kind of mushroom that is deep-fried. It actually tastes like fried meat. People might confuse it as a meat if they were not told. So, we eat this dish when we don’t want to eat meat. (Writer: Neang)
Kuy Teav Soup Ko
When we are tired, we might think of having this beef soup noodle.
This soup is made by boiling cow’s bone and has a strong taste of beef. In the soup are meatballs that are also made from beef. Vegetables like carrots and radish are added while boiling the stock, and lemon glass and galangal are added for fragrance. And when we eat it, we add bean sprout and spinach that is half-cooked. Eating this soup will make us gain a lot of energy and stamina. Its beefy smell could be quite strong; some people like it and some people do not. To reduce the smell, we add fried garlic and some herbs. But I personally totally like the taste and the smell. This food takes a long time to cook, so we usually eat it in a restaurant. We rarely make it by ourselves at home, only for special occasions like big family gatherings. (Writer: Neang)
This is a popular dish that can be eaten at home or in a restaurant. We eat it with rice, and sometimes a fried egg is added on top. A sauce thickened with rice flour is poured on the dish at the end. It is served with another sauce that’s made from lemon or lime with black paper and salt . Most of the time we use beef to make this dish. It is eaten with raw vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, mixed with a little onion. Its taste is so refreshing because of the lemon and black pepper sauce. I like it because it has a good balance between meat, vegetables and the refreshing sour sauce. It is a dish that I would like to introduce to foreigners the most, because I think they might enjoy the great flavor. (Writer: Neang)
Fried Pork with unripe mango fish sauce
Today I had fried pork with unripe mango fish sauce for lunch. The fried pork is a bit crispy and oily, but it doesn’t have much flavor because it is seasoned with only a bit of salt and sugar. It tastes good when we eat it with mango fish sauce and rice. The mango fish sauce is refreshing and a bit spicy. It is made with unripe mango, fish sauce, and other ingredients like sugar. We feel so refreshed when we eat this dish. So, it is often recommended to eat this when we feel unwell. We can have mango fish sauce with other foods like grilled chicken, duck or fish, and other kinds of fried meat. Khmer food often uses sauce made with mango, lime, tamarind and lemon with a refreshing taste. This might be Cambodian people’s favorite flavor. This food is a provincial food, and it is usually made at home. We rarely see it on restaurant menus. (Writer: Rachana)