Some people argue that Cambodia’s cuisine is nothing to write home about and a poorer cousin to Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. While we understand that view when judging the food offered on the streets of Cambodia, it is completely untrue.
The real, traditional Khmer food has a long history. In more recent times, the cuisine of Cambodia has been influenced by nearby countries as well as by the French. But go back 1,000 years when the Khmer Empire ruled over most of Southeast Asia. Hence, many of the Thai and other regional dishes were itself influenced by Khmer cuisine.
In recent years, the number of new cooking classes have sprung up in Cambodia and expect more to open their doors in coming years. Join a cooking class to learn preparing authentic and delicious Khmer dishes and to learn more about the ingredients from local experts.
Here we describe all available cookery classes in Cambodia. For addresses, telephone numbers and website links, click on the markers on the map at the bottom.
Cooking Class in Phnom Penh
Cambodia Cooking Class
Undoubtedly, the most popular class in Phnom Penh: market tour by tuktuk, hands-on action in this cooking school and traditional methods of food preparation, particularly the use of mortar and pestle to pound and grind herbs and spices to enhance their flavours and nutrition. You’ll make everything from scratch with the freshest ingredients.
Conveniently located just behind the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. The contact address is frizz restaurant on Street 240 in Phnom Penh, while the actual location of the cookery class is nearby on a breezy rooftop terrace.
The class runs every day, except Sundays. In the tourist season, it is strongly advised to book your course in advance, as demand is high and capacity is limited to 10 people.
Cost: flat rate of $20 for a full day and $12.50 for a half-day
A more upscale cookery class in Phnom Penh, limited to a maximum of four participants. For those that are really keen on learning Khmer cooking, two or three day courses can be organised which would include teaching about the different types of rice that can be purchased and cooked.
Cambodia Uncovered is not only about cooking classes, they specialise in individual tailor made tours in and around Phnom Penh. Not cheap though.
This also is a cooking school mainly training Cambodians to become professional cooks. However, they also provide a cookery class for tourist, in the afternoon only.
There are mixed reviews about this cooking class. Some participants have complained they merely sit and watch a demonstration, instead of cooking themselves.
Cooking Class in Sihanoukville
Traditional Khmer Cookery Class
The only cooking school in Sihanoukville, set up along the lines of the above mentioned Cambodia Cooking Class in Phnom Penh (the owner send his staff to see how that cooking school was run and then set up his own). Three different set courses. Closed on Sundays.
Cost: $25, including tea, coffee, lemon juice, wine or beer with your lunch.
Cooking Class in Siem Reap
Le Tigre de Papier
The most popular cooking class in Siem Reap. Runs three different sessions of Beginner Khmer Cooking course each day. You can pick your favourite dishes (1 starter, 1 main dish, 1 dessert) from the menu. The class includes a 1 hour market tour and two hours preparation and eating your creations.
Khmer Food Lovers
Organized by the Paul Dubrule School, which provides hospitality training to underprivileged Cambodians. The cooking classes for foreigners can be done with or without a guided trip to the market. At the school you will be shown how to prepare these delicious dishes. The School is vegetarian and vegan-friendly and runs in the morning only.
The River Garden
They call it the Cooks ‘n Tuk Tuks Tour, which basically means you are going to the market by tuktuk, which most cookery classes offer. The tour of the local market includes an introduction to local culinary culture, foods and ingredients, and cooking equipment, followed by a cooking class at the restaurant. This cooking class runs daily but in the morning only.
The Peace Cafe
Centrally located in the Wat Bo area, this vegetarian restaurant holds regularly scheduled veggie cooking classes. The class runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only and is a quite condensed class, commencing at 11am and finishing two hours later. Yet, they offer four dishes (Fresh Spring Rolls, Papaya Salad, Amok, Black Rice with Mango), so it’s probably not all from scratch.
Beyond Unique Escapes
This one is different from most other cooking courses. Instead of going to the market, this course commences with a visit to a local family. Along the way you will learn about the herbs and vegetables grown at most Khmer households and used in daily cooking. The visit is an opportunity to learn about food preparation in a Khmer home. Your guide will also let you know about food customs, superstitions and beliefs. Afterwards, you’ll return to the pavillion to start cooking yourself.
This class runs in the afternoon only.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
The most expensive and upscale cooking class in Cambodia. It is more of a demonstration class, then hands-on cooking. You have exactly one hour to prepare no less than six dishes. You can imagine this is more like putting together the ingredients than real cooking by yourself.
Cooking Class in Battambang
The Smokin’ Pot
Until quite recent, this was the only cooking class in Battambang. It is run at the restaurant of the same name and in the mornings only. Due to its long standing and good reputation, it is very popular, so be advised to book your cooking class in advance. The only drawback is: their fish amok is not exactly in traditional style, but more like a condensed fish curry.
The latest addition to the cooking class options in Battambang is also attached to a restaurant, which has received great reviews for the quality of their Cambodian food. Hence, the cooking classes have rapidly gained in popularity. You can choose from a number of set menu’s. Classes are half-day, but run both in the morning and in the afternoon.
Probably the funniest cooking course in Battambang, preparing your dishes in a family house. Ch’Ngainh means ‘delicious’ in Khmer (and is one of the more difficult Khmer words to pronounce right). After doing shopping at the local market, you go to a family house where a very charming couple help you cook some delicious Khmer dishes. Chances are you also get some snake wine to drink!
See the locations of cooking classes in Cambodia. Zoom in to view a particular city. Click on markers to view more information and contact details of the cooking school.