Cambodian fried noodles or lort cha is one of the best street food dishes you can try in Cambodia.
Generally speaking, I am a big fried noodle fan, but you’d be quite surprised how many variations on the tried and tested dish there are throughout Asia, and Cambdoia is no different.
What’s in a name?
Lort is a form of rice noodle made from water and flower that you can find being sold across the markets of Cambodia, cha means stir-fried in the Khmer language. Stir-fried noodles!
As is common with other fried noodles dishes vegetables such as shallots, bean sprouts, and onions are shown in, as well as meat.
The most common meat used (and indeed) what I tried was beef fried noodles, although this can be substituted for chicken, or with the meat was withdrawn entirely for vegetarians, or vegans. In fact Cambodian Fried Noodles are a great go to dish if you are avoiding meat. Keep in mind they are often cooked from the same pan though. You can though ask for them to be cooked separately.
To read about how to do vegan in Cambodia click here
To read about doing keto in Cambodian click here (lort cha is not keto friendly)
Where can you eat Cambodian Fried Noodles?
Pretty much everywhere, but if you are super daring grab it street food style at either a Cambodian market or one of the many vendors that sell the noodles throughout the country. In fact lort cha is very much part of the street food scene of Cambodia, and you will find food carts that specialize in nothing but fried noodles.
For the less adventurous out there it is available still in most tourist restaurants too, which means you will be able to act all hipster and order an avocado juice to go with it to! In this respects Cambodian noodles are exactly one of those easy tried, tested and safe dishes that you can get everywhere in Cambodia.
For the very best in Khmer Fried noodles I think there is no better way than by traditional street food stalls in Phnom Penh. Grab yourself a beer on ice and then add all the seasoning that you desire. For Khmer fried noodles and Lort Cha it is all about the seasoning that you add to the dish. My particular favourite hangout is just behind the royal palace.
To read about the best street food in Phnom Penh click here
To read about beer om ice click here
What does lort cha taste like?
Cambodian stir-fried noodles are the absolute bomb, and the easiest go to food when you are in Cambodia. As I have said fried noodles come in a lot of shapes and forms, with the Cambodian style having much more in common with Cantonese cuisine, which shows in how rich the gravy-like flavoring is!
What I genuinely love about the street food scene in Cambodia is the array of condiments you are given. Cambodian pepper and sweet chili sauce are both amazing things. When it come sto fried noodles you decide exaclty how much you want to add to your dish. Perfect.
Is Cambodian Fried noodles lort cha?
Feeling quite proud of how well this blog ranked on Google I decided to share it with a Khmer friend, only to be told that I had essentially got it all wrong! Cambodian fried noodles, were not lort cha. I personally still dispute this. Lort Cha is definitely a noodle that gets fried. Of the fried noodles of Cambodia it is the most popular and available everywhere. So, yes Lort Cha is Cambdoian Fried noodles, but there are also many variations of the humble fried noodle available in Khmer cuisine.
The main thing that makes Lort Cha Lort cha is that it also contains the famous Khmer fermented fish sauce. The sauce is known as Teok trey paem. This as well really differentiates it from other Asian takes on the fried noodle.
I will though at least admit that there is much more to the Cambodian Fried Noodles scene than lort cha.
For a few useful phrases in Khmer click here
What variations of Cambodian Fried Noodles are there?
Lort Cha is the most famous variety, but there are lots of others as well. Rahmen noodles as the main ingredient in probably the cheapest variant on the market. In Khmer it is known as Mi kilo, its noodles made from rice are yellow, or white in colour ,(Mi kanhjob the noodles from the pack ).
Another variation is the bigger thick noodles made from rice ofl Flat noodles . In Khmer it is known as Mi kontang. It is usually fried with egg, meat and vegetables. Although it is up to you! Fried noodles by definition are buyers choice! This is another variant that you will commonly see on street food stalls.
A meal, a snack, whatever, but an absolute street food must for Cambodia! Cambodian fried noodles (and lort cha) we salute you!