The same vegetables are found on the markets all year round. Contrary to what the vision of a still very rural Cambodia might suggest, most of the market garden products available on the stalls are more than 70% imported, coming from the three major neighboring producers, Vietnam, China and Thailand.
Market gardening in Cambodia is roughly limited to two periods of the year, rice is planted after the harvest in November, as well as during the months of April and May. If you wish to promote local production, it is during the period December-January and during the month of June that you will have the best chance of obtaining vegetables from Cambodian agriculture.
The south of the province of Kandal, helped by its proximity to Vietnam, whose agricultural techniques have been acquired, and the province of Battambang are currently the regions that produce the most. Mondolkiri, enjoying milder temperatures than the rest of the country, is on the way to becoming an important region for growing vegetables.
Khmer cuisine is renowned for its richness of flavors, its use of exotic spices and its combination of varied textures. Vegetables play an essential role in Khmer cuisine, bringing freshness, bright colors and nutrients to dishes.
Eggplant, or “kantrop cabbage” in Khmer, is widely used in Khmer cuisine. It is often prepared as a curry, sautéed with spices and aromatic herbs, or grilled to add a smoky flavor to dishes. Eggplants are also used in soups and stir-fries, providing a creamy texture and delicate taste.
Wax gourd, known as “moun cabbage” in Khmer, is another popular vegetable in Khmer cuisine. It is often used in casseroles, soups and stews. Its tender texture and mild flavor go well with other ingredients and spices used in Khmer cuisine.
Leafy greens, such as bamboo shoots (“pka srei” in Khmer) and water lily stems (“sluk rieu” in Khmer), are also widely used in Khmer cuisine. They are often sautéed with garlic, ginger, and sauces to accompany main dishes. Their delicate flavors and crunchy texture add an interesting dimension to meals.
Konchaet, known as “krow-saa” in Khmer, is a root vegetable used in many Khmer dishes. It is often grated and used as a condiment, adding a slightly tangy, sour note to dishes. Konchaet is also used in salads and marinades, providing a crisp and refreshing flavor.
Finally, tomato (“sous-daem” in Khmer) and bell pepper (“mda-ko” in Khmer) are commonly used in Khmer dishes to add color, acidity and a touch of sweetness. They are often used in stir fries, curries and sauces, providing a pleasant combination of flavors.
In Khmer cuisine, these vegetables are creatively used to create balanced, colorful and tasty dishes. They complement meats, seafood and spices, adding welcome freshness and a variety of textures to traditional Khmer dishes.