In the US, Asian cuisine mixes together, grouped into one, and it looses the authenticity. Korean Kiamichi, Japanese Soup with some Cambodian style friend rice are examples of Asian US meal. It’s hard to understand or appreciate foods until you go to the visit the county and try the food yourself. For example, I didn’t understand Cambodian cuisine when I was in the US; when I had it in Cambodia, I finally understood it. Take breakfast, traditional serve porridge rice with some dried fishes. In the US the dried fishes are stale and very salty. But in Cambodia they buy the fish fresh and dry it for only about a day and then cook it. The flavors are totally different, somewhere in between and fresh and dry; crunchy outside and fresh flavorful instead, akin to a good stake.
The fresh ingredients are such a huge part of they way Cambodians cook, they go shopping for the ingredients everyday, fish, pork, beef, vegetables, etc., and it’s this fresh LOCAL ingredients that cannot be replicated; it can only be experience visiting the country.
I had three meals from 3 different places, home cook meal from Cambodian house, small local restaurant and western style buffet. In all three places the food was fresh, they were simple and good, even though they all had a different flavors. For example the home cook had simple flavors, nothing too overwhelming, the local restaurants had a bolder flavors, still very good. The western style had really mild taste, but it was clean. All three places use local ingredients; even though they had different flavors they all had a common thread that made them Cambodian cuisine.