Num banhchok

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Num banhchok
Num Banh Chok.jpg
Alternative namesNum Banh Chok, Cambodian rice noodles,[1] Khmer noodles, nom panchok, nom pachok, noum bahnchok, num panchok, num pachok[2]
CourseBreakfast or sometimes lunch
Place of originCambodia
Region or stateSoutheast Asia
Associated cuisineCambodia
Serving temperatureWarm to room temperature[2]
Main ingredientsLightly-fermented rice noodles, yellow kroeung, prahok, freshwater fish, coconut milk/coconut cream, bean sprouts, cucumber, water lily stems, and wing beans
Variationsnum banhchok samlar kari, num banhchok namya, num banhchok Kampot, num banhchok tuek mrech, num banhchok samla yuon, num banhchok sras
Similar dishesmohinga, khanom chin, mixian

Num banhchok (Khmer: នំបញ្ចុក, num bânhchŏk [nom ɓaɲcok]) are lightly-fermented Cambodian rice noodles and a breakfast noodle dish.[2] There are many regional variations of num banhchok across the country.[3]


A variation of num banhchok with a red curry (samlar kari) base

The num banhchok are made by soaking the rice for 2–4 hours and grinding them into a liquidy paste. The paste is pressed into round shapes and dried inside calico bags. Then it is pulverized and turned into a viscous paste, which is extruded into boiling water. The noodles are boiled for 3–4 minutes and transferred to cold water.[4]

In folklore[edit]

Num banhchok is featured in a popular Khmer folk legend about an influential revolutionary and scholar Thonchey. Thonchey was exiled to China by the Khmer king, where Thonchey began making num banhchok as a way to make a living. The dish quickly gained popularity among the Chinese and eventually attracted even the attention of the Chinese emperor. The emperor summoned Thonchey to bring num banhchok to his palace. Thonchey arrived and while the emperor was tasting the dish Thonchey managed to see the emperor's face, insulted him and was immediately thrown into jail. Soon Thonchey managed to get released and returned to the Khmer Empire.[3]

In politics[edit]

In May 2019 the National Police began detaining former members and supporters of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for attending noodle dinners[5] that were deemed as political gatherings. In response co-founder of the CNRP Sam Rainsy called all Cambodians to gather for a bowl of num banhchok on 9 June "for the sake of friendship in the framework of the entire, giant Cambodian family."[6]

His calls were soon followed by the Prime Minister Hun Sen who appealed to the members of his Cambodian People's Party to also gather the same day and eat "Khmer noodles of unity and solidarity",[7] but denied it being a step towards negotiations with the opposition.[8] It was estimated by Sen that from 7 to 8 million people would take part in the eating of num banhchok on 9 June.[9]

Sen also proposed launching a promotional campaign for Cambodian food and culture,[6] and two months later Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts began preparing an application for the inclusion of num banhchok in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.[10]


  1. ^ Sao Sopheak, ed. (2020). The Taste of Angkor. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia. p. 32. ISBN 978-9924-9486-0-5.
  2. ^ a b c Dunston, Lara. "Nom Banh Chok Fermented Rice Noodles Are Cambodia in a Bowl". Grantourismo Travels. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b Goldberg, Lina (5 March 2013). "Khmer noodles: The story of num banh chok". Move to Cambodia. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  4. ^ Khat, Leakhena (4 November 2017). "Num Banh Chok: More Than Just Rice Noodles to Khmer (video)". AEC News Today. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Cambodia Cracking Down on Noodle Dinners Attended by Opposition Supporters". Radio Free Asia. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b Sopheng, Cheang (10 June 2019). "Near-erasure of Cambodian opposition makes noodles a target". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  7. ^ Chheng, Niem (4 June 2019). "Eat 'Khmer noodles of solidarity', PM urges". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  8. ^ Savi, Khorn (7 June 2019). "Khmer noodle movement not for CNRP talks, says PM". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  9. ^ Sophirom, Khan (6 June 2019). "7-8 Million People Expected To Eat Num Banh Chok This Weekend". Agence Kampuchea Press. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  10. ^ Chakrya, Khouth Sophak (22 August 2019). "Ministries seeking heritage status for Num Banh Chok". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 14 November 2020.

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