Interesting Facts About Cambodia

posted in: Mom's Musings | 3
  • Where we call ourselves Americans, They call themselves Khmers.
  • Their primary sports include Cambodian kickboxing, soccer (many follow the English Premier League), and petanque or boules similar to bocce that we play.
  • Many people and businessmen enjoy exchanging business cards.
  • The Cambodian greeting is the “sompiah,” which looks very similar to the “wai” we demonstrated earlier in our Thai etiquette video.
  • Most houses have a Buddha shrine to pray for luck.
  • Extended families are close and often live together.


Khmers may eats crickets, spiders, beetles, ants, frogs – nothing is out of bounds. Food is either nutritious or sustaining, or it isn’t. It either tastes good or not. They’ll try anything at least once.

  • You may eat with a fork and spoon or chopsticks, but don’t leave your chopsticks in a V shape in your bowl, this is a symbol of death.
  • A popular street snack is the unborn duct fetus. They look like little white duck eggs – containing the duckling, feathers and all.

Baguettes like we have in the USA are prevalent because of French colonialism (when the French were in control of Cambodia). They are the national bread.

  • KFC is the only fast food chain we saw, but don’t expect the same chicken flavor, it is a bit more spicy. They do have ice cream cones there though!
  • Unlike the common practice in the US, you don’t put your name on a list if there is a wait at a restaurant, you just wait in line.
  • You can eat the ice in Cambodia because of local ice factories started by French, but do not drink the tap water.
  • Diet coke (or as they call it, Coca Cola Light) costs more than coke (about 50cents more).
  • Often salads are not cold and may seem more like a soup almost.
  • Mango, rambutan, mangosteen, banana, pineapple, coconut, jackfruit, and stinky fruit called durian are common, and fruit smoothies are a treat


Traditional musical ensembles include the (arek ka) too khmae (three stringed fiddle), khsae buoy (single-stringed bowed instrument, and (skor break) drums. Many young people also like pop and rap music from the US and France.

Cambodian Etiquette

  • It is polite to remove your shoes before coming inside a house.
  • Do not point the bottom of your feet at people, and especially not at a buddha statue.
  • Similar to the USA, remove hats inside.
  • If you use a toothpick after a meal, please cover your mouth with one hand while using toothpick with other.
  • If beckoning to someone or calling taxi, keep your palm down and wave toward yourself.
  • Keep your thighs and shoulders covered. As in the USA, some people are more modest than others, but this is especially important when visiting wats.
  • Most houses have a shrine to pray for luck.

3 Responses

  1. Laura

    I thought the bugs were gross until I saw the duck fetus. NASTY! And they EAT that! Blech!!!!!
    Did any of you try any of that??

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