Amphibian stuffed with pork is a popular combination at the Kingdom’s street-side restaurants. Post Weekend visited a local eatery to learn the secrets of a dish that many foreigners pass on
Unless you’re from certain parts of France or the American South, you probably haven’t got much of a taste for frogs. Like durian or prahok, it is one of those dishes that Cambodians often hear Westerners describe as “weird”. But if given a chance, pork-stuffed frogs cooked with traditional spices ought to be a winner for the pickiest of foreign diners.
On Stung Meanchey’s Street 271, you can find a stretch of road serving all sorts of local specialties. One place in particular – with the straightforward name “Fried Fish Meatball, Dried Buffalo’s Meat” – serves multiple frog dishes from the early evening hours late into the night.
Among them is a charcoal-grilled frog dish, known as kang kaeb baok in Khmer. It is a popular dinner choice not only because of the taste of the meat, but also for the special ingredients stuffed inside the frog’s abdomen (don’t worry, the entrails are cleaned out).
After the frogs are stuffed with Kroeung paste – which is made from lemongrass, galangal, turmeric and peanut – and minced pork and then barbecued, the result is a tender, light meat not unlike chicken that swells on the bone as it is heated.
Chhorn Yeurng, the restaurant’s 33-year-old owner, said that preparing the frogs was a time-consuming process.
“I spend half the day preparing the grilled frogs with pork stuffing, because I need to clean the frog meat, make the ingredients for inside the frogs, sun-dry the frogs, and grill them after that,” she said, adding that usual price for a frog ranged from 3,000 to 4,000 riel ($0.75-$1) depending on size.
But the dish, which she started serving five months ago, has proved popular. She said that she sells about 10 kilograms of the frogs a day to Cambodians and foreigners – in addition to other Khmer specialties, such as fried frog with ginger and the fish balls and buffalo meat for which the restaurant is named.
Some foreigners may balk at the idea of eating a slimy amphibian, but with a familiar chicken-like taste and spicy kick, kang kaeb baok is worth a try.
Fried Fish Meatball, Dried Buffalo’s Meat is located at #296, Street 271 and is open every day from about 5pm to the early morning hours.