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Food ordering guide for Cambodia.
Home / Countries / Cambodia / The basics: How to order food in Cambodia.

The basics: How to order food in Cambodia.


Your Khmer Guru
Your Khemer Guru

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
Som Please
Bye Rice
Me Noodles
Cha Fried
Soup Soup
Bun-lie Vegetable
Site Meat
Ot No
Psycho Beef
Cha-rouk Pork
Cha-guy Dog
Mon Chicken
Tri Fish

 *WARNING* Don’t say dog meat instead of pork unless that is really what you want.

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.

The basics: How to order food in Cambodia.

Hey, I’m Eric, is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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