First, the Cambodian language is called “Khmer”
Next, here are some common words you will need for food.
|How you say it||What it means|
While there are a few restaurants that speak English or serve western food, most (about 99.9% of all restaurants) are Khmer restaurants that serve Khmer food and speak only khmer. Most meals will cost you about USD $1. Most do not serve all Khmer food, they mostly serve variants of rice and noodle dishes. Most do not serve curries and sweet and sour dishes.
Look at the chart above. What do you want? Are you a vegetarian and want fried noodles with vegetables?
The you would say Som(please) Mi(noodles) Cha(fried) Bun-lie(vegetables)Ot(no)Site(meat)
Som Mi cha Bun Lie Ot Site
Do you want rice with pork (the most common Khmer dish). Say “Som(please) Bye(rice) Site(meat) Cha-rouk(pork).
Som Bye Site Cha-rouk.
Two things to remember when putting these words together. Begin each sentence with “Som” meaning please, as this is the common way of ordering – just like saying “could I have”. Next, if you want meat you must say the word meat before the kind of meat, if you skip this word in the last sentence and say Som Bye Cha-rouk, then you are asking for rice that the pig would eat. This will give them some good laughs, but it won’t get you any food.
Now go and practice, come back to this next section when you are ready for a more advanced lesson.