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Cambodian Beef Salad

February 11, 2023 - 63 views

If you are looking for some refreshment after tasting the must-try curry dishes in Cambodia, Cambodian beef salad is an excellent choice. It's a mistake if we don't mention this popular dish when we talk about Khmer cuisine. The dish is typically served before or after some heavy food (such as curry) as a refreshment to your meal.

Cambodian beef salad actually has two recipes with two different ways of cooking beef. The first one, Beef Ceviche (or Pleah Sach Ko) uses raw beef, and the other one - Grilled Beef Salad (or Nhoam Sach Ko) uses grilled one.

Beef Salad - A Popular Cuisine In Cambodia

Beef Salad - A Popular Cuisine In Cambodia

Both types will definitely delight your taste buds with the harmony of sourness and sweetness, and the perfect combination of the meat's soft texture and slightly crunchy veggies and peanuts. Locals usually cook it for weddings, family gatherings, or other festival occasions.

How To Cook

Cambodian beef salad includes beef (raw or grilled), shallots, lettuce, bean sprouts, basil, chili, and peanuts. All of these ingredients are mixed with a perfect amount of sweet, sour, and salty dressing, including fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and garlic.

Pleah Sach Ko

With Beef Ceviche (Pleah Sach Ko), people marinate the raw beef in lime juice and herbs for two hours. The juice will "cook" it, and the result for you is a fresh, tasty cold salad.

 Beef Ceviche - Pleah Sach Ko

Beef Ceviche - Pleah Sach Ko

  • Beef Filet
  • Tuk Prahok, Palm Sugar
  • Juice of 3 limes, divided into thirds
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic cut into slices
  • Peeled and finely-slivered galangal (change to ginger if you don't have galangal)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (remove central rib)
  • 2 carrot, and bean sprouts
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 red Fresno chili
  • Roasted and unsalted peanuts
  • 3 leaves of Thai Basil
  • 3 saw leaves (or regular basil)
  • Long beans (or green beans)
  • Yellow onion, cucumber, and cilantro leaves as garnish

Step 1: Two teaspoons of tuk prahok, and two tablespoons of palm sugar, blend with the juice of two limes in a bowl until the sugar has completely dissolved. Mix thoroughly before adding the lemongrass, shallots, onion, basil, saw leaves, and garlic. Add the beef slices, cover, and freeze for a minimum of one to two hours.

Step 2: Combine the third lime juice with the remaining tuk prahok. Add the remaining palm sugar, and mix until it dissolves.

Step 3: Put the beef slices, drained of any remaining liquid in a clean bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except garnishes and dressing. Toss with the dressing, garnish and serve immediately. Place the beef slices in a clean bow (after being drained of liquid). Add other ingredients (except dressing and garnishes).

Step 4: Mix the combination with the dressing and garnish.

Once you try it, you'll feel the sourness of the lime and the herbal aroma (especially the lemongrass). The same recipe is also applied for fish or seafood instead of raw beef. The key to making successful Beef Ceviche is the quality of the meat (usually sirloin). It should be very fresh and well refrigerated.

Nhoam Sach Ko

On the other hand, Grilled Beef Salad (or Nhoam Sach Ko) is made with grilled beef. In this recipe, the beef is shortly marinated and quickly grilled over charcoal. The tip is not to marinate it for too long to keep the softness of the meat.

After fast searing, the beef is combined with slightly cooked vegetables, herbs, dressing, and some dried shrimp or peanuts on top.

Grilled Beef Salad - Nhoam Sach Ko

Grilled Beef Salad - Nhoam Sach Ko

Ingredients Dressing
  • 500g tenderloin steak
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • ½ bunch of anise basil leaves
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 2 tbsp bean sprouts
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic

Step 1: Marinate - Combine the beef slices with 1 tbsp fish sauce & 1/2 tbsp of lime juice, and wait for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Briefly grill the meat slices over charcoal.

Step 3: Blend the dressing ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 4: Whisk the other ingredients, excluding the peanuts, in a separate dish. Stir well after pouring the dressing over.

Step 5: Add the lettuce leaves first, and then add the remaining ingredients (The salad should be topped with peanuts). Enjoy the dish with other grilled foods like grilled pork ribs and beef skewers.

The process of preparing grilled beef can be different depending on the chef's preference. Some prefer marinating the whole steak and sliding it after cooking or sliding it into thin slices before marinating and fast searing.

You can also find a version of grilled pork salad, as pork is a cheap ingredient in Cambodia. No matter what way it's cooked, you still feel the typical sourness and incredible match of texture between meat and vegetables and some crunchy peanuts.

Reason To Try 

A Healthy Dish

Like other Southeast Asia countries, Khmer cuisine usually is rich in vegetables and herbs. You can easily find dishes including nutrition from all different sources, creating a balanced food consumption. 

Cambodian beef salad is a great example where the dish is not dry and overwhelmed by meat structure but in harmony with other green ingredients. 

Besides, it's infused with fresh fragrant herbs, adding a comfortable smell to its colorful look. If you travel to Cambodia and still want to keep your diet, there's no better choice than the Khmer beef salad.

A Balance To Your Meal

Cambodian beef salad is an inevitable dressing to your meal as it gives you a necessary refreshment when enjoying your curry or hot pot. The dish is usually brought to you as a starter or assembled after the main dish. 

The salad consists of lime juice, which the acidity helps your stomach digest the food better. Besides, the added herbs are said to be good for your health and create relaxation when consuming a proper amount. 

Its sourness and cold serving style make the dish a balanced element to your hot and spicy meal. 

Affordable Price

Cambodia attracts tourists for its beautiful landmarks as well as affordable cuisine. It's not difficult to find local restaurants that offer you Cambodian beef salad at a reasonable price. 

With around US $5 - 10, you can enjoy a full, healthy dish of protein and fiber.

Where To Eat

1. Urban Tree Hut

  • Address: Street 27, Siem Reap 5555, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: 06:00 a.m - 11:00 p.m
  • Price Range: US $3 - 20

Urban Tree Hut Restaurant

Urban Tree Hut Restaurant

Urban Tree Hut is a great choice if you're looking for a great, luxurious indoor and leafy garden outdoor setting and superb food. They have a long menu, including the tasty Cambodian beef salad. Furthermore, the restaurant is a suitable place for family travelers.

2. ST 63 BASSAK Restaurant

  • Address: # 02 Street 308 At Bassak land area in front of white building apartment, Phnom Penh 12301 Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 11:00 a.m - 11:00 p.m
  • Price Range: US $4 - 7

ST 63 BASSAK Restaurant

ST 63 BASSAK Restaurant

ST 63 BASSAK restaurant is a common place visited by foreigners. They serve Cambodian, Asian and western cuisine. It's considered one of the best value-for-money options in Phnom Penh.

3. Mekhala Restaurant

  • Address: 1705 Korean-Cambodian Friendship Road 30 Krous Village, Siem Reap 17252 Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 06:00 a.m - 11:00 p.m
  • Price Range: US $6 - 23

Mekhala Restaurant

Mekhala Restaurant

Though located a little bit out of town, Mekhala Restaurant's ambiance, food, and service are worth your trip to go there. You'll not be disappointed with the long menu of authentic Khmer cuisine here. 

4. Malis Cambodian Restaurant

  • Address: 136 Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh 12101 Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 06:15 a.m - 9:15 p.m
  • Price Range: US $8 - 35

Malis Cambodian Restaurant

Malis Cambodian Restaurant

The restaurant has a strategic location (0.8 miles from Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum) and a good selection of local cuisine. The food is delicious at an affordable price. You can enjoy your meal in a very relaxing and charming atmosphere.


Cambodian beef salad is one of the most popular Khmer dishes in Cambodia, and super easy to make. Would you love to have a food tour to try the Cambodian beef salad? Contact BestPrice Travel right now, and we'll help you arrange the best food tour around the Kingdom of Wonder!

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Thu Trang

(Image source: Internet)

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