1. Siem Reap Street Food
At Phsar Chas, the Old Market, you can get a feel for a real Cambodian market and local Siem Reap food.
Baskets of spices, multicolored arrays of fresh produce, crispy fried tarantulas and meats from octopus to chicken feet create a bizarre foodie circus.
If you're looking for something a little tamer, there are hawkers selling fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on the cob, or banana-chocolate pancakes (the vendor at the corner closest to Warehouse has a loyal following).
If you're too busy temple-touring during the day, you can still get the market experience at the Angkor Night Market.
2. Bai sach chrouk: Pork and rice
Bai sach chrouk or pork and rice is typical Siem Reap food and the most popular dish for breakfast which is served early on street corners all over Cambodia. Bai sach chrouk is also one of the simplest and most delicious dishes the country has to offer.
Thinly sliced pork is slow grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork is marinated in coconut milk or garlic -- no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.
The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, added with freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger.
On the side, you'll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.
3. Fish amok
Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes and famous food in Siem Reap. You will find similar dishes in neighboring countries but it is slok ngor (a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor) that separates the Cambodian version from the others’.
Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.
At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.
4. Khmer red curry
Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand, Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based but without the overpowering chili. This dish is a very popular food in Siem Reap. The dish is served with beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.
This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of the departed.
Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.
5. Lap Khmer: Lime-marinated Khmer beef salad
Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.
Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.
A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef to be nearly raw -- but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.
6. Nom banh chok: Khmer noodles
Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."
Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food in Siem Reap and other provinces, and you'll find it sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.
It looks like Vietnamese Pho but it tastes far different. Nom banh chok consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.
Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that's usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.