If you go to Battambang in the morning you’ll see groups of Cambodians wide-eyed over Battambang’s nom banh chok, a dish of fermented rice noodles in a thin curry, which mixes prahok, (a fermented fish paste at the centre of many Khmer meals) with fresh fish and vegetables.
Condiments are abundant on every table – chilli sauce, dried chilli, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and pickles. Try experimenting with a breakfast bowl of Phnom Penh noodles, the delicate pho-like broth is a good canvas to discover the combination suited to your taste.
Lunch brings out the grittier, more boisterous dishes on the menu. Try the crispy chicken, a regional speciality in Battambang, and the fried pork intestines. You can get them sprinkled over almost anything; littered over fried rice with salted fish and Chinese sausage is a good option. The chicken, as succulent and crisp-skinned as they come, arrives on a bed of slightly sticky sweet-and-sour sauce.
Try Battambang’s lemongrass chicken curry with blood jelly and tender giblet wedges. Once the gravy shallows into a pool, use your bread to soak up the remnants. This may rock your fundamental understanding of food pairings, but if you’ve ever put leftover curry in a sandwich, you know what we’re talking about.