We challenge you: Eat a tarantula in Cambodia like a pro
If you like experimenting with food during your travels, Cambodia is a country you’ll love. There is so much to discover when it comes to challenging your palate, one particular dish you have to try being a fried tarantula. Maybe this is a creature that would rather make you scream than make you feel hungry but we promise the feat is worth it.
Is it safe to eat tarantula
Eating tarantula is not an unusual event in Cambodia and if you feel adventuruous enough you can try it yourself. Yes, it is totally safe. Cambodians eat tarantulas, foreigners have started to do it too, and most people really like it.
How to dismantle a tarantula
As the spider is served in front of you, you should start with its legs. They are crunchy and taste a bit like chips. You can bite them off the body or tear them off with your hands. The sight of the hairy legs might not be promising but fear not!
Once you’re done with the legs, it’s time for the body. You should carefully crack the hard shell to reach the meat inside which is lean and tasty, a bit similar to chicken. You’ll wish there was more when you taste it. Finally, there’s the spider’s butt. Have in mind that it’s quite bitter and most foreigners will skip it. Cambodians, however, eat it too.
Where to eat tarantula in Siem Reap, Cambodia
As Siem Reap is probably the most touristy place in Cambodia you can easily find tarantulas for dinner. In general, fried tarantulas can be found at local markets and in some restaurants.
Despite its name, Pub Street in Siem Reap is not a single street but rather a whole area where the most of the restaurants, bars, and live music clubs are situated. You can’t miss it with its bright lights, loud crowds and pushy street vendors. Here you can find stalls selling fried tarantulas, scorpions, and snakes. These are very basic, however, and if it’s your first bug encounter, or you are just not so much into eating things that usually make you scream, maybe you won’t like it. The vendors will normally charge you if you want to just take a photo pretending to eat the bug.
This is a place in Siem Reap close to Pub Street where a European chef cooks bugs and spiders in a most delicious way. They offer silk worms, crickets, grasshoppers, water bugs, ants, scorpions, and of course tarantulas in tasty sauces, spring rolls, and vegetable mixes. This is a more gentle way to immerse yourself into the unknown side of Asian cuisine. Everything is crunchy and surprisingly tastes better than you expected. Tarantulas come in different varieties if you feel like experimenting. The dishes in the Bugs Cafe (facebook), however, are not cooked in a traditional Cambodian style but more like your favorite European dishes. It’s fair to add that they have a free beer Happy hour every Friday.