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Taking a cooking class in Phnom Penh is one of the most delicious ways to dive into local food culture and culinary specialties.
While exploring the authentic food specialties in Cambodia, we took a Khmer cooking class to learn about the local dishes, including fish amok, the national dish.
Cambodian cooking classes in Phnom Penh are immersive experiences of the country’s flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques.
If taking a Khmer flavors cooking class is on your travel itinerary, dig in for a delightful experience.
In addition to the cooking class we took, we also offer alternatives with market and countryside visits.
Top Cooking Classes in Phnom Penh
Learning to make fish amok, the national dish of Cambodia, was high on our list while we were in Phnom Penh.
While we ended up choosing La Table Khmère for its intimate experience, there are two other classes we would have considered instead.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Besides taking a cooking class, going on a food tour with a local guide is a tasty way to dive into Cambodian cuisine. This ultimate Phnom Penh food tour by tuk-tuk takes you to several street stalls, local markets, and restaurants to discover Cambodia’s local culinary scene. Riding in a tuk-tuk, you’ll spend over 4 hours tasting more than 20 local foods and drinks.
Overview Of Our Cooking Class in Phnom Penh
The La Table Khmère cooking class is located within a modern Khmer restaurant. The class focuses on traditional Cambodian dishes.
The Khmer cuisine cooking class includes preparing a complete meal, including a starter, main course, and dessert.
The class was led by an experienced chef and an assistant. And, we each had individual cooking stations set into modern stainless steel countertops.
Under the watchful eye of the chef, we prepared and cooked three traditional Khmer dishes:
- Fish Amok
- Green Mango Salad
- Chek Ktis for dessert
At the end of the cooking class, we ate our meals in the main restaurant section.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If your travels take you to Siem Reap, this is another great place to take a cooking class. See our review of the Top 7 Cooking Classes in Siem Reap To Master Khmer Cuisine.
Highlights Of Our Cooking Class in Phnom Penh
Making Fish Amok – The Traditional Way
The traditional preparation of fish amok is by mortar and pestle. That means you grind most of the ingredients by hand, and it is much more involved than it may seem.
As we pounded away, making the curry paste, our instructor guided us each step of the way.
With learned the significance of each ingredient, like Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chilies, and others.
We also learned how to make banana leaf bowls for steaming the amok, which add subtle and fragrant aromas to the sauce.
Cooking in banana leaves also makes the dish juicy by keeping all the moisture during the steaming process.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: If you want to try fish amok at home, it’s actually quite simple. See our Easy Cambodian Fish Amok Recipe and delight in the flavors of this celebrated dish.
Other Dishes We Made – Green Mango Salad & Chek Ktis
Mangoes are native to Southeast Asia and are much loved in Cambodia. The green mango salad is a popular side dish eaten alongside grilled meats.
To make the green mango salad, we peeled and shredded two mangoes and one carrot.
In a mortar, we added sliced chilies, shallots, peanuts, sugar, and salt and then pounded them with a pestle.
The final step was mixing everything to make a fresh, crispy salad with hints of spice and citrus flavors.
Chek Ktis is a delicious banana dessert made warm with tapioca, gelatin, and coconut milk.
To make this dessert, we used Palm Sugar, a natural sugar popular in Southeast Asia cooking.
We sliced the bananas and cooked them in a deep pan with water, tapioca, coconut milk, sugar, and salt.
This dessert was relatively easy to make and a great finish to our meal. A sweet touch that was not too heavy.
Overall Impressions of this Phnom Penh Cooking Class
What We Loved
- Hands-on cooking class – This is an immersive experience where you prepare all aspects of the dishes with the guidance of an experienced chef.
- Intimate and small group – As we were only four in our La Table Khmere cooking class, we enjoyed personalized attention each step of the way.
- Leisurely enjoy meal at restaurant – As the cooking workshop is part of a restaurant, you get to enjoy your meal in a modern restaurant environment.
What Could Be Improved on this Phnom Penh Cooking Class
While we had a great time and enjoyed our La Table Khmere cooking class there are a few things that could have enhanced the experience.
- No market visit – Visiting the local markets in Phnom Penh and learning about Cambodian cuisine enhances the culinary experience. Unlike La Table Khemer, this Banana cooking class starts with a local market visit.
- No authentic cooking environment – The La Table Khmere cooking class, takes place in a professional restaurant. For a more authentic experience, this cooking class offered at a nearby Phnom Penh village immerses you into local village life.
Alternative Cooking Classes in Phnom Penh to Consider
Khmer Cooking Class Half Day – Banana Cooking Class
This Khmer cooking class offers a half-day or full-day experience where you learn to make traditional Cambodian dishes with an experienced chef.
Taking place at Banana cooking class, the experience goes beyond simply cooking. It’s a complete culinary experience where you’ll start at the local market to understand the local ingredients.
This cooking class is offered twice a day, at 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, and it includes a tuk tuk ride to the local market.
What To Expect From This Khmer Cooking Class in Phnom Penh
Some of the key highlights from this class are:
- Local market tour with an experienced chef
- Make a minimum of 3 dishes, including starters like vegetable rolls, fish amok for the main meal, and a banana-based dessert.
- Fun tuk tuk ride
Khmer Cooking Class in the Hinterlands
Immerse yourself in authentic Khmer food culture in a 4-hour cooking class in a village near Phnom Penh.
This unique experience takes you off the beaten path to a local village for an immersive cultural experience.
Together with your local guide, you’ll take the ferry to get to the village and start by visiting a local food market.
The cooking class experience involves making several traditional dishes, including chicken amok. The menu can also be adjusted for vegan or vegetarian diets.
What To Expect From This Cooking Class in Nearby Village to Phnom Penh
Some of the key highlights from this class are:
- Authentic experience in the hinterlands of Phnom Penh
- Guided local market visit and shopping for ingredients
- Traditional Khmer recipes with the ability to tailor for vegan or vegetarian dietary restrictions
- Enjoy your meal with a local family
Have you ever taken a cooking class in Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Which of these cooking classes would you like to take? Please let us know in the comments below.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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