Cooking Class in Phnom Penh: Top 3 for Authentic Khmer Cuisine

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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.

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Top Cooking Classes in Phnom Penh

La Table Khmere Cambodia Cooking Class Authentic Food Quest
Outside of La Table Khmère cooking school

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.

One class includes visiting a local market, which adds to the cooking class experience. And, the other class offers an immersive experience at a local village near Phnom Penh.

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

Cooking Class Group at La Table Khmere Cambodia Cooking Class Authentic Food Quest
Enjoying our Phnom Penh cooking class

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

Fish Amok Kmer Cooking Class in Phnom Penh by Authentic Food Quest
Cambodian Fish Amok steamed in banana leaves

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

Salad at La Table Khmere Cambodia Cooking Class Authentic Food Quest
Green mangoes salad in the making

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 La Table Khmer Cambodia cooking class Authentic Food Quest
Chek Ktis from our cooking class in Phnom Penh

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.

RELATED: The 14 Most Delightful Popular Vietnamese Desserts to Indulge In

Overall Impressions of this Phnom Penh Cooking Class

What We Loved

Rosemary at La Table Khmere Cambodia Cooking Class Authentic Food Quest
Guidance of an experienced chef
  • 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

La Table Khmere Workspace Cambodia Cooking Class Authentic Food Quest
La Table Khmere cooking class in a professional restaurant

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.

RELATED: 6 Surprising Phnom Penh Markets That Will Shake Up Your Senses

Alternative Cooking Classes in Phnom Penh to Consider

Khmer Cooking Class Half Day – Banana Cooking Class

Banana Cooking Class Khmer Cooking Class by Authentic Food Quest
Searching for local ingredients – Photo credit: Banana Cooking Class Facebook Page

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

Khmer Cooking Class in the Hinterlands by Authentic Food Quest
Authentic experience in the Hinterlands – Photo credit: Meet the Province Facebook Page

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
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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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64 Comments on “Cooking Class in Phnom Penh: Top 3 for Authentic Khmer Cuisine”

  1. We love cooking classes–it’s such a great way to get insight on new cuisine, and bringing home the recipes is always a plus too 🙂 This looks like a great one to take and I love that you had a small class size. The food you made sounds delicious!

    • You are so right Jenna, cooking classes are a lot of fun and full of insights. Where have you taken cooking classes before? Indeed the small and intimate classes do make a difference. Thanks for your comments.

  2. I love this article! Sluuurrrrp. 🙂 . The Cambodian Fish Amok looks quite delicious. It has also reminded of my own experience of trying my hand at Khmer Cooking. Best part was that was to be our lunch and I was glad to see my dishes were quickly gobbled up.

    • Sounds like you had a delicious experience making Fish Amok as well. We certainly devoured it happily after the cooking class. Taking a cooking class is truly a wonderful way to learn more about the local foods and flavors. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. La Table Khmère sounds like a great restaurant and cooking school! I would love to take the morning class to visit the markets 🙂 I love how the cooking experience is traditional and authentic down to hand grinding the ingredients for Amok. And the banana leaf bowls! Sounds like an incredible way to explore Cambodian cuisine 🙂

    • Thanks so much Meg. Indeed by taking the cooking class we really found out how difficult the Fish Amok is to make. We now have a new appreciation for it especially after all that pounding. Agree, taking a cooking class is a great way to explore a local cuisine. Cheers!

  4. This looks like so much fun and so delicious. I love a good Cambodian amok dish. After being told about palm sugar when we visited Cambodia 5 years ago I use it all the time in my cooking. Have you started cooking these dishes yourself now that you’re home?

    • That’s wonderful Jean that you also appreciate a good Cambodian Amok. It is truly delicious. Fish Amok is definitively on the agenda to be prepared at home, but it hasn’t happened yet 🙂 Will make it very soon. Palm sugar is quite an interesting and delicious discovery. Thanks for your comments!!

  5. I agree that a visit to a new place is kind of complete when you explore food, ingredients and local cooking methods. I don’t cook as much myself but food fascinates me and I would take up this class for the fun of it 🙂

    $25.00 per person is so so affordable!

    • Hi Victoria, indeed taking a cooking class does open you up to learning so much more about a local culture. Give it a go the next time you travel. You’ll have a blast!! Do come back and let us know where and what you learn how to make. Cheers!

    • Have a wonderful time in Cambodia. There is certainly lots to see and delicious food to explore. We had an amazing time at La Table Khmere and we most certainly recommend the class. Look into it and let us know what you think. Cheers!

  6. Oh this is great! I love to learn to cook and I love travel (I also love to eat!!!) I am going to Cambodia soon so this is super useful, I want to take this class

    • That’s awesome to hear Natasha that you’ll be traveling to Cambodia soon. You’ll enjoy your visit and the cooking class is quite an experience. We highly recommend it!! Do let us know how it goes!!

  7. Doing cooking classes in the country you are visiting is a great way to check out the local cuisine. Love this post. Want to try some Cambodian food now 😛

  8. Cooking classes are the best! That’s so cool that you have the option to go to the local market! I love mangos and love learning how to cook with them. In the Dominican Republic, I learned how to make a ceviche that had mango and Lion fish. so Yummy!

    • Appreciate your comments Tiara…just one simple question. Is there any reason why you have not taken a cooking class before? Give it a try. You’ll be surprised by how much fun it really is!! Let us know where you end up going!

  9. This reminds me of the cooking class my husband took in Korea. It looks like the cooking class you took was very informative and a lot of fun. I would love to take a cooking class to learn how to make a unique meal for entertainging guests.

    • Taking a cooking class is indeed a great way to learn more about the local foods and learn new cooking techniques. The next time you travel, take a class and impress your guests!! And then, let us know what you made and how it turned out!! Thanks for your comments.

  10. I have always wanted to try a cooking class when I’m traveling but all the sightseeing gets in the way, lol! Going to have to make the experience a priority because this looked like it was a lot of fun and then you walk away knowing how to do something new!

    • You are right Sophie, you have to “schedule” in cooking classes like you do seeing the sites. It is a different kind of experience because all your senses are engaged and you get to eat your wonderful creation as well. On your next trip, take a class and let us know what your thoughts!! Thanks for stopping by.

  11. That looks fantastic. It’s so nice to do a class where they actually let you make your own dish, rather than jut assisting the main chef. I bet it tasted all the better.
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipes (lord knows where I’ll be able to source banana leaves). I love fish amok so I’ll give it a good go!!

    • That’s awesome to hear Rosie that you will make the Fish Amok. Do let us know how it turns out. In terms of finding banana leaves, check your closest ethnic store. Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks again!

  12. Such a thorough description, both of the restaurant and of how the class is conducted. And the food pics look so very yummy! <3 Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is the second post that I have read today that involved taking a cooking class to immerse with the local culture. What a great idea! I have never thought of enrolling in a cooking class to learn about local cuisine, but I will in the future. 🙂

    • Glad to have inspired you to take a cooking class on your travels. It really does open you up to a new experience. Stop back and let us know where you end up taking it!! Cheers and thanks for stopping by.

  14. This looks so nice and tasteful! I’ve never done a cookingclass actually, but would love to do one. Also would love to go to Cambodia, so double reason for a visit!

  15. What an awesome way to truly immerse yourself in another culture! Next time I go abroad, I’ll have to research to see if I can find a cooking class like this!

    • Thanks Miranda and glad you enjoyed reading about the cooking class experience. Check out the cooking class page on the site for recommendations of classes and partners. Do let us know where you end up going. Cheers!

    • Appreciate your feedback Candy. And yes, indeed, do take a cooking class, you will find your experience to me much richer and deeper as a result. Let us know what you end up cooking! Don’t forget to check out our cooking class page for recommendations and partners. Cheers.

    • Hi Yuen, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your love for Khmer cuisine. We’ll certainly check out your website for more about Cambodian cuisine. We discovered new smells like Kreoung and enjoyed that process. A truly wonderful experience. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. What a fantastic post! I really enjoyed the photos – they complimented your post perfectly. It never occured to me to take a cooking class while traveling but after seeing this I definitely will consider it on my next trip. The food you made looks beautiful! What a fun experience!

    • Thank you so much, Tina, for your feedback. Indeed taking a cooking class allows you, we believe, to travel deeper. Take one on your next trip and see what you discover. Do come back and let us know how you found the experience. Cheers!


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