Trying the local food is a highlight to travel, which is why a cooking class in Siem Reap is a must whilst you are in the ancient city. 

Whilst in Siem Reap, we headed to Paper Tiger (previously known as Le Tigre de Papier) – one of the best cooking courses and restaurants. You can choose which meal you want to cook, head to a local market and get cooking. Classes start at 10am, 1pm and 5pm in English with the 5pm course also catering to french speaking tourists. Each course lasts for 3 hours plus the time to eat your dishes.

In the first hour, we were taken to the Psar Chaa Old Market to discover the fruits, spices and vegetables available for our meals. Visiting the local market is one of the most intersting things to do in Siem Reap besides the temples, so we would highly recommend visiting, even if you are not on in class.

As someone who had (until recently) been a vegetarian, I admit I was a tad squirmy walking through the market – in fairness, a fish did jump off a plate towards me! Anyway, we walked around with the cooking staff who explained the different ingredients and shared interesting facts along the way. There was a stall that sold nearly every part of the pig, bringing light to Calum’s random saying (he is full of these) “You can eat everything but the squeal”. The pig brains were an interesting item for sale but looked far too human!

We then headed back to the kitchen and were talked through how to prepare our own individual starters and mains. Calum and I had chosen some fresh spring rolls for a starter and the lady was so surprised to see that Calum was amazing at cutting up veg and crushing stuff in the mortar and me…not so much. She did actually tell me off when I explained that Calum does the cooking at home.

Next, Calum had a Chicken and Cashew stir fry that he managed to cut and cook in like 10 minutes (note to self: choose trickier meals during a cooking class). I chose the Khmer Lasagna – intrigued by the Cambodian take on a favourite dish of mine. It was an interesting take, using egg plant instead of Lasagne sheets but still having a load of cheese on top before popping it into the Stone Bake Oven to give it the crispy, gooey texture. Amazing! For dessert, the staff asked if we wanted to make either a Mango Sticky Rice or a sweet Pumpkin thing (not entirely sure on the actual name I do apologise). Anyway, the people we were with chose the Pumpkin and if I am honest, it wasn’t quite to my liking but hey, when in Cambodia…

Once you have made all the dishes, you are taken down to a table in the restaurant and served each dish. We were with a few different couples and a solo traveller so it was nice to get to know and make friends with other travellers in the area.

This place is great value for money, with the 3 hour course only costing $14 plus drinks with your meal. The staff are incredibly professional and taught the techniques of cutting and cooking as well as how to prepare the Khmer meals.

A great experience, even for those (like me) who can’t cook!

Have you ever tried to cook and Cambodian style meals? What’s your favourite dish? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. I love learning to cook foods from around the world. I think my favourite has been in Vietnam where I was taught how to make tofu taste nice πŸ™‚
    I love that you got to go to the market first, this is something I missed out on in Vietnam. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Amazing, I love your photos. Even though I just had dinner, your post made me hungry again πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. We only did one cooking class on our trip around the world (in Chiang Mai, Thailand), but we should do it more. So much fun indeed! Don’t worry, Brecht does the cooking as well, and I clean up after him. πŸ˜‰

  4. That is really cool that the cooking class includes shopping at the local market. One of my favorite, and most intimidating, experiences is to visit local markets. The final dishes look delicious.

  5. Oh this looks fun! I actually did a cocktail making class while I was in Siem Reap! I just love these local cooking classes!

  6. Cooking classes seem like a great way to get to know the culture of a place. As a vegetarian, I am always a little leery of them. I love that you got to choose what you made.

  7. I never had Cambodian food, but love Asian food in general so I am sure I would enjoy that, too. I am a vegetarian and that fish woud freak me out, though, haha. Interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  8. Yummmm, Cambodian food is so good! What a great experience to get to take a cooking class – the Chicken and Cashew stir fry sounds so delicious!

  9. I have to admit, if you had asked me which food is associated with Cambodia – i wouldn’t have had a clue. This really looks like a fun thing to do whilst travelling and I like that you were taken to a local market to choose your ingredients. The meals look delicious!

  10. Yes! We’ve been doing market tours + cooking classes when we travel and it is an amazing way to get to know a city and peek into a culture. It looks like you had a great (and delicious) time!

  11. I would have loved to do something like this when I was in Cambodia! I did a cooking class in Vietnam, and I really missed the food from Vietnam when I was in Cambodia because it didn’t seem as good. This might have helped me identify some better things!

  12. I always wanted to do a cooking class, but never really got to while in SEA. Thanks for the inspiration for my next visit, haha. Khmer Lasagne sounds like a definite must try!

  13. I never did a cooking class in Cambodia but it looks like a lot of fun. I have done cooking classes in China and Peru so maybe next time I visit Cambodia I will give it a try. I love the food there, so would be good to learn how to cook it πŸ™‚

  14. Great course! Love the fact that they took you at a local market to pick up the ingredients. Pig brains? No thanks πŸ™‚ Anyway, it looks like an awesome experience that resulted with some delicious dishes πŸ™‚ Amazing post!

  15. I totally agree with the first line. Able to taste different types of food is one of the best parts of traveling. I am going to Thailand in Feb, hoping to get into a cooking class there.

  16. I have always wanted to go to cambodia and try their food. Never considered attending a cooking class myself and you have totally inspired me

  17. It looks so tasty! I would eat fresh spring rolls any time! Thank youf or sharing – I haven’t heard much about Cambodian cuisne!

  18. I totally agree ,the best part of travel is getting to eat a variety and cooking the same surely makes it intresting. i love combodian food..full of flavours and distinctive aroma .

  19. Wow, this looks like an awesome experience. Discovering new food dishes is one of my favourite things about travel so a cookery class would be right up my street. The chicken and cashew stir fry sounds amazing!

  20. This is what I would do one day when I mellow down from hiking up mountains. I was in Siem Reap and enjoyed the food there so I don’t doubt attending the cooking class ended getting you to experience an awesome meal.

  21. I love your photos and post!! This looks like so much fun and delicious as well! Love all types of ethnic cuisines especially Asian but never tried Cambodian. Although now my mouth is watering for some! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Love a cooking class! Your comment about trying to cook harder things made me laugh – we made ceviche in Peru! This is definitely going on the Cambodia list.

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