3 Cambodian Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Meals

What is better to eat during the holidays than a meal that warms your heart? During the holidays, my family always sticks to non-traditional holiday meals. Instead of fruitcake, eggnog, candied yams, and roasted potato, we have traditional Khmer meals. There is nothing that can warm my heart more than a meal that reminds me of my heritage.

  1. For the main course, instead of having beef wellington or a roasted turkey, we have Yao Hon. Yao Hon is a Cambodian Hot Pot. Each Khmer family makes their Yao Hon differently, but my family makes it from chicken stock (we also have an abundance of vegetables to cook within the hot pot). It is a quick meal to make since we only need to prep the stock and the sides to put in the pot.

  2. For an alternative to a warm cozy bowl of soup, we have Nombajok. Nombajok is similar to ramen, but the noodles are made from rice. Nombajok has different types of broth: the traditional Khmer broth is made from fish, but throughout the years, Cambodians have picked up different spices. It all depends on the family; for example, some Cambodians put curry in their nombajok.
  3. For dessert, instead of fig pudding, we have Nom Som Jayt, which translates to dessert banana. It looks like sushi but is considered dessert. It is made from rice, mixed from condensed milk, banana, and beans, then wrapped in banana leaf. When you leave the Nom Som Jayt out for a while, the banana turns purple and becomes much sweeter to eat.