What is meant with Khmer food is Cambodian food. Cambodians call themselves Khmer, which dates of course from the Khmer empire that expanded all the way in Siam (now Thailand) and into parts of Vietnam too. Those times are gone and although in some eastern parts of Thailand the people can still speak Khmer, it’s mostly centered in Cambodia.
What is Khmer food? You can compare it with Thai food. Rice and some sort of curry. The only thing different is that Khmer food isn’t spicy, unless you add some yourself from what’s put on the table. Of course, not all is a rice/curry meal. There are other items to be found too. Most can be found in both Vietnam and Thailand. Therefore it’s more just a label by restaurants (especially in tourist area) to call it Khmer food to attract customers. Only a few food items can be found only in Cambodia.
Amok & Lok Lak
These are two different food items which can be found only in Cambodia, but it’s almost identical to any rice / curry over the world. The Amok spice makes it typical Khmer food. Amok is one of the cheap Khmer food items as main course. Beside the Amok spice, the curry will have ingredients as some veg/fish/pork/chicken/beef. Amok can be served in different ways and designs, from a simple bowl to inside a coconut and more.
In tourist areas it’s labeled as traditional Khmer BBQ, although a neighbor restaurant can have a sign of the same thing but then called Khmer hotpot. You can find it all over Thailand too and as per our knowledge, it comes actually from Korea. In some places they put it on gas, but the best is the system whereby they put briquettes under the BBQ/Grill. The price is really cheap, between $5 & $7 for unlimited food. The bit higher price is when you include seafood like crab.
The system is as you can see in pic. A half ball shape with holes in it and around it a ditch with boiling water for the items that need to be boiled rather than grilled. Although not really only Khmer food, surely worth to try or take.
Banh Chao & Micola
Ban Chao is also called Khmer pancake. A yellow sort of crepe made from rice, filled with chicken mince and beansprout. A light meal but when you take it in a local restaurant, it cost you less than $1. The pancake is laid on a bed of green, lettuce, branches with mint and other herbs.
Micola is a noodle and beansprout with on the side some meat of choice and boiled egg. It comes with a salad bowl and cost you in a local restaurant around $1.
Beside all given more or less Khmer food items, by name or in real, there are the items like spring rolls fried or fresh and other items which can found in other countries too. Try the soy milk white or green or try the fresh made Sugarcane drink. Makers can often be found on the pavements and a $0.25 for a healthy drink is cheap. Another popular item to eat is insects. On the streets you can buy them (pay for pic taking). Scorpions, spiders, crickets, cockroaches and more. Try them and you’ll find that most of those insects taste like nothing. Some are just crunchy like Lays, only harder to get down. Other are more juicy so to say but all in all, nothing to be scared about, but no taste either, proteine or not.
Cambodia offers all in all a variety of food and drink items, no matter if it’s really traditional Khmer food or not. An impression video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgGYwU0KsVA