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Kuy Teav

As in many Asian countries, soups are usually served for breakfast in Cambodia, and the local people are not able to start the day without it, especially one called kuy teav, a meat noodle soup.

When thinking about Asian soups, it is easy to imagine the narrow Cambodian streets, the fragrant marketplaces where the vendors sell their aromatic foods during the day. The peak time is the morning, when most local people are looking for their soup for breakfast. Kuy teav, this hearty and spicy, pork broth-based Khmer soup with Chinese origins, is one of the most typical morning street foods in Cambodia. It can be found almost at every marketplace stall, roadside vendor, small street side restaurant, but only before midday.

The name of the dish, in the Khmer language, refers both to cut noodles made from long grain rice flour (not glutinous rice flour) and to the dish itself with minced meat and other toppings. There are various terms throughout Southeast Asia to refer to the same noodles made from long grain rice flour, including hủ tiếu in Vietnamkway teow in Malaysia and Singapore, and kuai tiao (ก๋วยเตี๋ยว) in Thailand.

Many Cambodian noodle dishes were inspired by Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. These cuisines use a lot of garnishes to define the main flavor of the dish and it is the same here as well.

The soup has a pork broth base, which is prepared from bones and meats as well. The bones are one of the most important parts of a meat broth since it gives body to the soup during the long cooking, as the gelatin gets loose from the bones and thickens the broth. Besides the pork broth, the fermented ingredients are key parts of this soup. The fish sauce, the soy sauce and the rice wine give the final taste to the dish.

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