Blog

Mango: Nutrition, Health Benefits and How to Eat It

Mango Nutrition, Health Benefits and How to Eat It

In some parts of the world, mango (Mangifera indica) is called the “king of fruits.”

It’s a drupe, or stone fruit, which means that it has a large seed in the middle.

Mango is native to India and Southeast Asia and has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. There are hundreds of types of mango, each with a unique taste, shape, size and color.

This fruit is not only delicious but also boasts an impressive nutritional profile.

In fact, studies link mango and its nutrients to health benefits, such as improved immunity, digestive health and eyesight, as well as a lower risk of certain cancers.

Here’s an overview of mango, its nutrition, benefits and some tips on how to enjoy it.

Packed With Nutrients

Mango is low in calories but full of nutrients.

One cup (165 grams) of sliced mango provides:

  1. Calories: 99
  2. Protein: 1.4 grams
  3. Carbs: 24.7 grams
  4. Fat: 0.6 grams
  5. Dietary fiber: 2.6 grams
  6. Vitamin C: 67% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  7. Copper: 20% of the RDI
  8. Folate: 18% of the RDI
  9. Vitamin B6: 11.6% of the RDI
  10. Vitamin A: 10% of the RDI
  11. Vitamin E: 9.7% of the RDI
  12. Vitamin B5: 6.5% of the RDI
  13. Vitamin K: 6% of the RDI
  14. Niacin: 7% of the RDI
  15. Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  16. Riboflavin: 5% of the RDI
  17. Manganese: 4.5% of the RDI
  18. Thiamine: 4% of the RDI
  19. Magnesium: 4% of the RDI

It also contains small amounts of phosphorus, pantothenic acid, calcium, selenium and iron.

One cup (165 grams) of mango provides nearly 70% of the RDI for vitamin C — a water-soluble vitamin that aids your immune system, helps your body absorb iron and promotes growth and repair (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Mango is low in calories yet high in nutrients — particularly vitamin C, which aids immunity, iron absorption and growth and repair.

High in Antioxidants

Mango is packed with polyphenols — plant compounds that function as antioxidants.

It has over a dozen different types, including mangiferin, catechins, anthocyanins, quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, benzoic acid and many others.

Antioxidants are important as they protect your cells against free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can bind to and damage your cells.

Research has linked free radical damage to signs of aging and chronic diseases.

Amongst the polyphenols, mangiferin has gained the most interest and is sometimes called a “super antioxidant” since it’s especially powerful.

Test-tube and animal studies have found that mangiferin may counter free radical damage linked to cancers, diabetes and other illnesses.

SUMMARY

Mango has over a dozen different type of polyphenols, including mangiferin, which is especially powerful. Polyphenols function as antioxidants inside your body.

May Boost Immunity

Mango is a good source of immune-boosting nutrients.

One cup (165 grams) of mango provides 10% of your daily vitamin A needs.

Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system, as it helps fight infections. Meanwhile, not getting enough vitamin A is linked to a greater infection risk.

On top of this, the same amount of mango provides nearly three-quarters of your daily vitamin C needs. This vitamin can help your body produce more disease-fighting white blood cells, help these cells work more effectively and improve your skin’s defenses.

Mango also contains folate, vitamin K, vitamin E and several B vitamins, which aid immunity as well.

SUMMARY

Mango is a good source of folate, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins A, C, K and E — all of which help boost immunity.

May Support Heart Health

Mango contains nutrients that support a healthy heart.

For instance, it offers magnesium and potassium, which help maintain a healthy pulse and your blood vessels relax, promoting lower blood pressure levels.

Mango also contains a unique antioxidant called mangiferin.

Animal studies have found that mangiferin may protect heart cells against inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis.

In addition, it may lower blood cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acid levels.

While these findings are promising, research on mangiferin and heart health in humans is currently lacking. Therefore, more studies are needed before it can be recommended as a treatment.

SUMMARY

Mango contains magnesium, potassium and the antioxidant mangiferin, which all support healthy heart function.

May Improve Digestive Health

Mango has several qualities that make it excellent for digestive health.

For one, it contains a group of digestive enzymes called amylases.

Digestive enzymes break down large food molecules so that they can be easily absorbed.

Amylases break down complex carbs into sugars, such as glucose and maltose. These enzymes are more active in ripe mangoes, which is why they’re sweeter than unripe ones.

Moreover, since mango contains plenty of water and dietary fiber, it may help solve digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea.

One four-week study in adults with chronic constipation found that eating mango daily was more effective at relieving symptoms of the condition than a supplement containing a similar amount of soluble fiber.

This indicates that mango has other components aside from dietary fiber that aid digestive health.

SUMMARY

Mango has digestive enzymes, water, dietary fiber and other compounds that aid different aspects of digestive health.

May Support Eye Health

Mango is full of nutrients that help support healthy eyes.

Two key nutrients are the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These accumulate in the retina of the eye — the part that converts light into brain signals so your brain can interpret what you’re seeing — especially at its core, the macula.

Inside the retina, lutein and zeaxanthin act as a natural sunblock, absorbing excess light. In addition, they appear to protect your eyes from harmful blue light.

Mangoes are also a good source of vitamin A, which supports eye health.

A lack of dietary vitamin A has been linked to dry eyes and nighttime blindness. More severe deficiencies can cause more serious issues, such as corneal scarring.

SUMMARY

Mango contains lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A — which support eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin may protect from the sun, while a lack of vitamin A can create vision problems.

May Improve Hair and Skin Health

Mango is high in vitamin C, which promotes healthy hair and skin.

This vitamin is essential for making collagen — a protein that gives structure to your skin and hair. Collagen gives your skin its bounce and combats sagging and wrinkles.

Additionally, mango is a good source of vitamin A, which encourages hair growth and the production of sebum — a liquid that helps moisturize your scalp to keep your hair healthy.

What’s more, vitamin A and other retinoids migrate to your skin and protect it from the sun.

Aside from vitamins A and C, mango is high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants.

These antioxidants help protect hair follicles against damage from oxidative stress.

SUMMARY

Mango contains vitamin C, which gives your skin its elasticity and prevents sagging and wrinkling. It also provides vitamin A, which promotes healthy hair.

May Help Lower Your Risk of Certain Cancers

Mango is high in polyphenols, which may have anticancer properties.

Polyphenols can help protect against oxidative stress, which is linked to many types of cancer.

Test-tube and animal studies found that mango polyphenols reduced oxidative stress and stopped the growth or destroyed various cancer cells, including leukemia and cancer of the colon, lung, prostate and breast.

Mangiferin, a major polyphenol in mango, has recently gained attention for its promising anticancer effects. In animal studies, it reduced inflammation, protected cells against oxidative stress and either stopped the growth of cancer cells or killed them.

While these studies are promising, human studies are needed to better understand mango polyphenols anticancer effects in people.

SUMMARY

Mango polyphenols may fight oxidative stress, which is linked to colon, lung, prostate, breast and bone cancers.

Delicious, Versatile and Easy to Add to Your Diet

Mango is delicious, versatile and easy to add to your diet.

However, it can be difficult to cut due to its tough skin and large pit.

A good idea is to cut long vertical slices 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) away from the middle to separate the flesh from the pit. Next, cut the flesh into a grid-like pattern and scoop it out of the rind.

Here are some ways you can enjoy mango:

  • Add it to smoothies.
  • Dice it and add to salsas.
  • Toss it into a summer salad.
  • Slice it and serve it along with other tropical fruits.
  • Dice it and add to quinoa salads.
  • Keep in mind that mango is sweeter and contains more sugar than many other fruits. Moderation is key — it’s best to limit mango to no more than two cups (330 grams) per day at most.

SUMMARY

Mango is delicious and can be enjoyed in many ways. However, it contains more sugar than many other fruits. Enjoy mango in moderation by limiting it to under two cups (330 grams) per day.

The Bottom Line

Mango is rich in vitamins, mineral and antioxidants and has been associated with many health benefits, including potential anticancer effects as well as improved immunity, digestive, eye, skin and hair health.

Best of all, it’s tasty and easy to add to your diet as part of smoothies and other dishes.

Health risks and Benefits bananas

Health risks and Benefits bananas

Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. Eating them could help lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of cancer and asthma.
Today, bananas are grown in at least 107 countries and are ranked fourth among the world’s food crops in monetary value. Americans consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined.

With the world consuming so many bananas, it’s not surprising that people are asking the question: are bananas good for you?

This article will take a look at the potential health benefits of bananas, such as improving heart health and promoting regularity. It also examines the possible health risks associated with them.

Fast facts about bananas

  1. Bananas are rich in potassium and fiber.
  2. They may help prevent asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and digestive problems.
  3. Ripen bananas at room temperature and add them to cereal for a tasty breakfast.
  4. People who use beta blockers should not suddenly increase their intake of bananas.

Health benefits

Listed below are the possible health benefits associated with bananas. It is important to note that more high quality studies are required before these health benefit links are proved definitive.

Blood pressure

a doctor measuring blood pressure of older adults
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.

Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.

Asthma

A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.

Cancer

Consuming bananas, oranges, and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. As a good source of vitamin C, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.

In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).

High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

Digestive health

Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. They are part of an approach known as the BRAT diet; this stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can replace these lost nutrients.

Bananas can also help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.

Preserving memory and boosting mood

Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.

Potassium

Bananas are rich in a mineral called potassium. This mineral is important as it helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.

Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure.

Potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones forming as people age. In turn, healthy kidneys make sure that the right amount of potassium is kept in the body.

One medium-sized banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium. It is best to try to get potassium from dietary sources such as bananas. Otherwise, potassium supplements are available to purchase online.

Nutritional profile

One serving of banana is considered to be about 126 grams. One serving of banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.2

Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:

  1. Vitamin B6 – 0.5 mg
  2. Manganese – 0.3 mg
  3. Vitamin C – 9 mg
  4. Potassium – 450 mg
  5. Dietary Fiber – 3g
  6. Protein – 1 g
  7. Magnesium – 34 mg
  8. Folate – 25.0 mcg
  9. Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
  10. Niacin – 0.8 mg
  11. Vitamin A – 81 IU
  12. Iron – 0.3 mg

The recommended intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 milligrams per day.

Bananas in the diet

The warmer the temperature, the faster bananas will ripen. However, to slow ripening, bananas should be refrigerated. The outer peel of the banana will darken but the banana itself will stay intact longer.

To encourage faster ripening, place the banana in a brown paper bag at room temperature.1

In 2008, a popular diet fad known as the Morning Banana Diet recommended eating a banana in the morning along with water, eating a normal lunch and having dinner before 8pm.

Add a sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast.

Like apple sauce, ripe mashed bananas can be used in baked goods to replace oil or butter. Mashed bananas lend a moist, naturally sweet flavor to muffins, cookies and cakes.

Peel and freeze bananas for a great addition to any smoothie.

Add sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal, or take a banana with you on your way to work or school for a healthy, portable snack.

Risks

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as bananas should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

Dr. Peter S. Gelfand, who practices Internal Medicine in Long Beach NY, says:

“Certain medications used for heart disease and hypertension have the potential to increase potassium levels. Examples include certain beta-blockers such as Labetalol, medications that work by blocking the actions of the hormone aldosterone such as Lisinopril and Losartan, and certain diuretics like Spironolactone and Eplerenone. This is a partial list only, and you should consult with your doctor if potassium levels become a concern.”

Some people may have an allergy to bananas. If anyone with a banana allergy eats a banana, they may experience symptoms in the mouth and throat such as itching, hives, swelling and wheezing.

Bananas may trigger migraines in some people. People who often experience migraine headaches are advised to eat no more than half a banana daily.

Bananas also contain a lot of fiber. Eating too much fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

The Top 10 Healthiest Foods on Earth (And How to Eat Them)

Healthy foods

Eating healthy has oodles of positive benefits – for the body and the mind alike. When we eat well we feel good, when we feel good we’re happier, when we’re happier we’re more productive… and the wonderful cycle continues. Increasingly, shops and restaurants around the world are getting on the healthy eating bandwagon – making it easier for people to treat their bodies right. This list of 10 of the healthiest foods in the world is just a beginning guide – a way to understand the essential vitamins and minerals the human body needs to stay functioning at its best. And as an added boost – these healthy foods are all downright delicious!

1. SPINACH

This nutrient-dense green superfood is readily available – fresh, frozen or even canned. One of the healthiest foods on the planet, spinach is packed with energy while low in calories, and provides Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and essential folate.
EASY EATING TIP: Sauté with onion and add to an omelet for an easy, healthy meal.

2. BLACK BEANS

Filled with super healthy antioxidants, black beans digest slowly – keeping you feeling full for longer. These little beauties are full of calcium, protein and fiber, and they also taste great!
EASY EATING TIP: Think Mexican food! Burritos, nachos, tacos… whatever tickles your fancy.

3. WALNUTS

With more antioxidants than any other nut, walnuts are also brimming with Vitamin E, and rich in plant serums, omega 3 oils, and healthy fats.
EASY EATING TIP: Keep a supply in your bag for an easy, healthy snack on-the-go

Both beets and walnuts made the list of the world's healthiest foods

Both beets and walnuts made the list of the world’s healthiest foods (Shutterstock)

4. BEETS

Good for the brain and skilled at lowering blood pressure, the humble beet is often overlooked as one of the healthiest foods on earth. The brightly-colored root vegetable is filled with folate, magnesium and Vitamin C.
EASY EATING TIP: Grate them into salads for a sweet, crunchy boost.

5. AVOCADO

Eating just one or two avocados a week gives you all the benefit of healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin B6 and loads of folate. Check with your local grocer to find out when this spreadable fruit is in season in your area.
EASY EATING TIP: On toast with salt and pepper, or a slice of cheese if you’re that way inclined.

Avocado is one of the healthiest foods on earth

The humble avocado, pictured here with its close cousin, the mango (Unsplash)

6. DARK CHOCOLATE

According to recent research, chocolate contains more antioxidants, gram-for-gram, than most fruit juices – great news for chocoholics! On top of protecting the body from diseases and helping to prevent heart conditions, dark chocolate is a natural mood-booster.
EASY EATING TIP: Eat this healthy food in moderation – just one or two squares per day is enough to reap the benefits.

7. RASPBERRIES

Like most berries, raspberries are filled with antioxidants, to help keep the body healthy and free of disease. Fresh or frozen, they also provide Vitamin C, calcium and iron.
EASY EATING TIP: Sprinkle them on yogurt or porridge in the morning to start your day in a sweet and delicious way.

Raspberries are one of the healthiest foods on earth

Raspberries, in all their delicious glory (Unsplash)

8. GARLIC

This pungent bulb has been used to ward off disease for centuries, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and has some serious anti-inflammatory power.
EASY EATING TIP: Crush it and cook it. Garlic tastes great in everything from dressings and sauces to curries and soups.

9. LEMONS

Often touted as the world’s healthiest food, lemons have strong anti-inflammatory qualities and can help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. They also have just as much Vitamin C as oranges.
EASY EATING TIP: Add a slice of lemon to your tea or water bottle to get healthy and hydrated at the same time.

Lemons are one of the healthiest foods on earth

Lemons on the tree, ripe for the picking (Unsplash)

10. LENTILS

Last but not least, this mighty legume is high in fiber and protein and adds great taste and texture to any meal. Vegans and vegetarians are often a fan of using lentils as a meat substitute in traditional recipes.
EASY EATING TIP: Add to salads, soups and stews for some extra oomph.

15 Heart-Healthy Foods to Work into Your Diet

Cambodian recipes, Asian recipes, Khmer recipes, American recipes, Thai recipes

A healthy diet can be good for your heart as well as your waistline.

“You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day,” says Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian in the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic. “There is a great variety of fruits and vegetables that are good for your heart.”

“Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground,” Ms. Zumpano says, recommending what she calls the “whole-foods diet.”

That diet includes, of course, heart-healthy foods such as fish, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself occasionally with a glass of red wine or a piece of dark chocolate, Ms. Zumpano says. She suggests using this list as a guide to create meals and snacks with a healthy focus. Just a few simple swaps could make a big difference for your cardiovascular health.

15 foods that are good for your heart

  1. Eat fish high in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout.
  2. A handful of healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.
  3. Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt.
  4. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit.
  5. Oatmeal: the comfort-food nutrient powerhouse.
  6. Dark beans,such as kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and other good stuff. Veggie chili, anyone?
  7. A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
  8. Try marinated tofu in a stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner.
  9. Red, yellow and orange veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.
  10. Popeye was right – spinach packs a punch! Use it in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce.
  11. Fruits such as oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
  12. Tender, sweet asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate and fiber, and only provide 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear.
  13. Tomatoes – even sun-dried varieties in winter months – provide lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene.
  14. Dark chocolate is good for your heart health, but just be sure that it’s at least 70 percent cocoa.
  15. Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are a terrific heart-healthy snack with a whopping list of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber.

Cambodia Street Food

The Khmer food of Cambodia can be a real treat. As bike tourists we cycled through the countryside, far away from Western restaurants with Pizza and Burgers. Instead we had the fortune to try the local food. The base of Khmer food is rice. Usually a pot of rice and a can of hot or cold tea with a glass full of ice cubes come with the food. Drinking water is rather expensive, that’s why most people boil the water from the tap (if there is no tab water they use the river water) and add tea leaves for the taste. The ice cubes are sold per meter and the salesmen drive from house to house and cut the sold parts off with a saw. These giant ice cubes are chopped into smaller pieces and stored together with canned drinks in big cooling boxes. Every time the shop owner needs some small ice cubes he chops some pieces off the big block with a small axe.

The bugs are collected, separated and picked in pieces.

The bugs are collected, separated and picked in pieces.

The Khmer like their bugs well roasted. These are still raw and alive

The Khmer like their bugs well roasted. These are still raw and alive

Many families own a rice field that they harvest once, few families twice a year. They fish their own seafood, hunt small animals as frogs, bats, squirrels, mice, rats and sometimes even deer or wild pigs in the forest and either buy or hold chicken. Bugs and spiders are local specialties as well. There are many cows in Cambodia, but they are used for transportation and plowing of the fields rather than for their milk. In different regions we found pot-bellied pigs, goats and goose running through the streets.

Fruit shakes (called Krou Lok)

Fruit shakes (called Krou Lok) consist of one or more fruits, sweet condensed milk, plenty of crushed ice and raw egg to make it fluffy and bubbly

Delicious, and not at all scary — shrimp fritters.

Delicious, and not at all scary — shrimp fritters.

First Try Cambodia Street Food

Cambodia street food

Every afternoon Cambodian students sit down to enjoy some of their country’s most delicious dishes: its street food. But for expats this is one of the least savored facets of Cambodia’s generally under-appreciated cuisine.

The perfect breakfast, a steaming bowl of Cambodia’s noodle soup, kuy teav.

The perfect breakfast, a steaming bowl of Cambodia’s noodle soup, kuy teav.

Many expats believe that the Kingdom’s roadside delicacies consist of little more more than deep-fried tarantulas and stir-fried crickets. Concerns about hygiene also keep some foreigners from indulging.

But the best street food isn’t about bugs–either the edible or intestinal kind–and it’s too good to miss. You just need to choose wisely. The safest street foods are those that are cooked in front of you and served hot, which kills off bacteria. And despite what you may have heard, the ice in Cambodia is generally safe to consume. “Street food has two advantages over food cooked in restaurants: transparency and immediacy. When you eat on the street nothing is hidden; you can judge whether or not the person handling your food, the surface on which it’s prepped and the plate on which it will be served is clean,” said food journalist Robyn Eckhardt, who has written extensively about street food in Asia and Turkey for international publications. “And because the time from stall to table is just seconds, you can be confident that your food hasn’t languished long enough to collect the odd bacteria.”

Here are some of the safest and tastiest dishes that you’ll find on the streets of Cambodia. Although they are usually sold at street-side stands and by roving vendors, you’ll also find them at the food area at Central Market, which has grown-up-sized seats and perhaps slightly higher hygienic standards.

The sweetest rocket fuel you’ll ever drink.

The sweetest rocket fuel you’ll ever drink.

Iced coffee with milk

Perhaps the easiest introduction to street food is its beverages. The thoroughfares of Phnom Penh are lined with coffee shops selling kar-fe toek doh koh toek gok, or iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. If you’re like me, knowing that the beans are roasted in lard makes the sweet, strong coffee taste that much better. Some choose to have it without the condensed milk, but they underestimate the mental clarity aroused by the tingling of dental cavities caused by the drink’s unabashed treacliness.

Chive cakes

Cambodia Chives Cake

Cambodia Chives Cake

Fried in shallow pans by mobile street vendors, num kachay are small chive cakes, made with glutinous rice flour and served with a sweet, spicy fish sauce. You’ll find similar versions of this dish in Thailand, but the recipe is believed to have originated in China.

Beef skewers

A common afternoon or evening snack in Cambodia, sach ko chomkak are skewers of beef cooked over hot coals. They’re best enjoyed tucked into a crunchy baguette and accompanied by tart green papaya slaw and spicy red chili sauce.

Not the most visually appealing, but fried noodles are some of the cheapest, most filling street food in Cambodia

Not the most visually appealing, but fried noodles are some of the cheapest, most filling street food in Cambodia.

Fried noodles

Variations of fried noodles abound in Cambodia, but whether they’re made with short, thick rice noodles that resemble worms, soft yellow egg noodles or packaged deep-fried instant ramen noodles, mi char is one of the simplest and most satisfying afternoon snacks. While sellers have many different variations, beef and pork stir-fried with tender greens are the most common. For an added treat, ask for a fried egg on top.

Cambodia Noodle soup

Cambodia Noodle soup

Noodle soup

One of the most popular breakfasts in town, kuy teav is a noodle soup made from pork or beef bones and rice vermicelli and topped with fried shallots, green onions and bean sprouts. Fish balls and pork are usually added, although you’ll sometimes find rare-beef kuy teav as well. But don’t dare call it pho! Many Cambodians believe that the dish originated in Kampuchea Krom–the area of Southern Vietnam that was once part of the Khmer Empire–and that the famous Vietnamese soup came second. A delicious Phnom Penh speciality version of the soup, kuy teav Phnom Penh, featuring blood, liver, intestines and tongue, is not for the faint of heart (or squeamish expats).