What is Fish Amok?

Fish Amok (or Amok Trey in Khmer) is a traditional and iconic Khmer dish, considered the national dish of Cambodia. ‘Amok’ refers to the steaming process used to make the dish.

The dish is a steamed fish curry with a mousse-like consistency, typically steamed in banana leaves, which gives it a unique and delightful flavor. The dish is traditionally served with rice.

To cook Fish Amok, it is started by creating a fragrant Cambodian Kroeung spice paste, made from lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, and more. Mix the Kroeung with coconut milk, and egg to form a smooth sauce. Next, the chef adds fish filets to marinate well in the texture and steams with banana leaves until tender. The result is a delightful savory dish infused with rich flavors. 

Origin of Fish Amok

The delicacy dates back to the Khmer Empire during the 9th to 15th centuries. Fish Amok was believed to be originally a royal dish and was served to the king and his guests. Today, it is a popular dish throughout Cambodia and is often served in restaurants and homes.

Fish Amok Ingredients

Fish amok cambodia

There are plenty of local spices used in Fish Amok

At first glance, you will see a dish neatly wrapped and nestled within a banana leaf, inside of which lies a creamy, golden-colored delicacy adorned with an alluring fragrance. Let’s check out the ingredients that have made up this dish:

  • The main ingredient is, sure, fish - fileted goby, snakehead, or catfish are traditionally used as they are freshwater fishes found in Cambodia, but other types of fish can also be used.

  • Coconut milk: This provides a slightly rich flavor for the curry.

  • Kroeung: This is a Khmer curry paste made with lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and shrimp paste. You can find this Kroeung paste used in many other Cambodian dishes such as Samlor Korko (Cambodia soup), Khmer red curry, Num Banh Chok (a type of noodle), etc.

  • Other ingredients: Sometimes, other ingredients are added to Fish Amok, such as mushrooms, vegetables, or shrimp.

How Fish Amok Tastes

Fish Amok is a mild, slightly sweet curry with a hint of spice from the kroeung. 

The tender and succulent fish, infused with rich and creamy coconut milk, creates a luscious and velvety texture. The aromatic spices of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal provide a refreshing and citrusy note. 

The dish strikes a perfect balance between the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk and the mild heat from the chili, resulting in a well-rounded and enticing taste. 

Fish amok texture

Fish amok has a mousse-like texture

Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown said: "Fish Amok is a must-try if you are ever in Cambodia. It is a light, refreshing curry that is perfect for a hot day. The flavors are complex and delicious, and the mousse-like texture is unlike anything else I have ever had."

Nong Poon Panich, chef, and author of The Hot Thai Kitchen: "Fish Amok is a classic Cambodian dish that is both delicious and easy to make. The flavors are simple but well-balanced, and the mousse-like texture is unique and refreshing. I highly recommend trying it if you're looking for a new and interesting curry dish.”

In general, this dish is highly praised for its well-balanced and flavorful blend of spices, the delicious aroma of the fish, and its mousse-like texture.

Expand your knowledge with our post about travel guide to Cambodia!

Where to Eat Fish Amok in Cambodia

fish amok in Cambodia

Places that served fish amok in Cambodia

In Cambodia, enjoying this dish at restaurants typically costs around USD $2 to USD $7, depending on the location and portion size. To facilitate your enjoyment of Fish Amok in Cambodia, we recommend some highly-rated establishments below:

  • Malis Restaurant (Phnom Penh): This restaurant is known for its authentic Cambodian cuisine, and Fish Amok is one of its most popular dishes. They also have a wide variety of other dishes to choose from, so you are sure to find something you will enjoy.

  • Khmer Surin Restaurant (Phnom Penh): This restaurant is another great option for trying Fish Amok in Phnom Penh. They have a slightly different take on the dish, using a combination of snakehead and catfish. The result is a flavorful and creamy curry that is sure to please.

  • Eleven 1 Kitchen (Phnom Penh): is a popular restaurant chain in Cambodia, offering a delightful blend of Cambodian and international delicacies. Renowned for its use of fresh and premium ingredients, the eatery takes a creative approach to traditional dishes. The restaurant has a chic, urban ambiance.

  • La’Baab Restaurant (near Vattanac Tower, Phnom Penh): The restaurant has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and serves delicious and authentic Cambodian meals in Phnom Penh.  

  • Khmer Taste Restaurant (Siem Reap): The restaurant is just a short walk from Angkor Wat. Khmer Taste Restaurant is a great place to go for a casual meal with friends or family. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, and the service is attentive.

  • Chanrey Tree House Restaurant (Siem Reap): Located in the heart of Siem Reap town, Their Fish Amok is made with a combination of catfish and shrimp.

Fish amok Cambodia

Fish amok is a must-try dish in Cambodia

Fish Amok is undoubtedly an impressive Cambodian dish. From the finest local ingredients such as freshwater fish and a variety of rich spices, the Khmer people have ingeniously created a unique blend of flavors that harmoniously combine slight sweetness and spiciness in this delicious fish dish. When you visit Cambodia, be sure not to miss the chance to savor this delightful delicacy. If you are looking for Vietnam and Cambodia package tour, please contact New Asia Tours for best experience!