Neorm Sach Moan: Cambodia's Boldly Flavored Chicken Salad

Cambodian cuisine offers a diverse mix of flavorful entrées for just about everyone. Many of their dishes showcase sour, salty, sweet, and bitter notes, as well as a little bit of heat, via TCS World Travel.

If you don't mind testing your limits, try eating a bowl of noodles coated in fish gravy, known as nom bahn chok, as noted by Modern Adventure. Or, you can munch on snacks that contain rodents, insects, and/or offal (the latter refers to "variety meats" like the heart, tongue, brains, and so forth, of a particular animal, per Britannica).

While Cambodia is not shy about using all parts of an animal, the country does offer plenty of dishes that sound a little more familiar to foreigners. Love pork? Then you'll love bai sach chrouk, which is a bowl of rice with grilled pork that's been marinated in coconut milk. Seafood lovers will likely gravitate toward amok, which is freshwater fish that is flavored with lemongrass, coconut, and chili, while fans of beef will probably befriend the spiced, lime-marinated pieces of beef known as lap Khmer.

One thing we haven't mentioned though is chicken and fresh vegetables. These two ingredients blend together in a savory and refreshing Cambodian dish that satisfies locals and travelers alike.

'Simple and nuanced'

Cambodian chef, Nite Yun — who showcases the country's culture through food — describes neorm sach moan as "simple ... layered and nuanced." This take on a chicken salad is filled with rice noodles, shredded cabbage, roasted peanuts, and colorful veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, via Cook's Country and Cambodia Recipe. Topping off the dish is a garnish mix of cilantro, basil, and/or mint. There's already a lot going on here, and we haven't even started talking about the dressing yet.

So far, the ingredients are fairly easy to gather and combine, and fortunately, the same can be said about the dressing. A combination of sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, water, and red chili is mixed to form those "nuanced" elements of sweetness, umami, heat, and acidity. In short, this salad is for those who love bold flavors, crunchy veggies, and a rainbow of colors.

While the salad is "approachable" for foreigners, Yun mentions that it's not really eaten by locals on a daily basis, but served during celebratory purposes, such as birthdays. Still, we encourage you to try this delicious traditional Cambodian dish any time of the year.