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Nom pao, Cambodia’s savory version of siopao

Nom pao on a saucer. An ubiquitous snack around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia

Cross-section, meatier, flavorful
One thing that I really like doing in Cambodia is this: EAT. The country is a food lover’s paradise and with the many kinds of food available, there’s always something new to discover.

While roaming around Kandal Market in Phnom Penh the other day, I saw a familiar steamed bun: can this be siopao? I was already hungry at that time and went to the saleslady. I asked what’s inside the bun and she said its meat. Pork, to be precise. Hearing that, I got excited and ordered one.

Nom pao. The lady told me. I removed the paper padding at the bottom, sunk my teeth into the steamed bun and was just delighted with what I had in my mouth. Savory, delectable and filling. It was much better than what I have been eating back home. And to think that even in streetside eateries, the Khmers don’t scrimp on the filling.

Unlike steamed buns from Manila, though, the piece of hard boiled egg is just plain, not salted egg. But no problem. I’ve been eating nom pao since the past few days. Price can vary from RH2,000 to RH4,000 ($1).

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