Would you eat deep fried tarantula if you had the chance?
Luc would refuse to, but I definitely would.
And I have.
Been there, done that.
It was during our river cruise trip from Saigon to Siem Reap along the Mekong.
We said it before in our little about section.
For us traveling is not just about breathtaking places.
It goes hand in hand with comfortable transportation, nice places to stay and good food.
Yes, food. All kinds of local food.
And that also includes some of the cuckoo stuff as well.
Cambodia is where we are going this time.
Do you know anything about Cambodian food?
What are some Cambodian delicacies?
Some of the most popular Cambodian delicacies include:
- Amok (a coconut-based curry)
- Lok Lak (marinated beef stir-fried with onions and peppers)
- Prahok (fermented fish paste)
- Num Banh Chok (a noodle dish with fish gravy)
- Kuy Teav (a pork and beef noodle soup).
Before we start our trips, we always look for the specialties that we might find along our way.
Amok trey for instance, steamed fish and coconut in banana leaves. Or crab and green kampot pepper. Khmer noodles. Kuy tea soup. Samlar kari curry.
All very cute.
How about balut, stir fried ants and deep fried tarantula?
Our river cruise ship stops at Phnom Penh.
The capital of Cambodia.
Surely we should be able to find fried tarantula here, right.
What countries eat tarantula?
Tarantulas are eaten in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The spiders are considered a delicacy in these countries and are often served deep-fried or grilled with garlic and salt.
Edible spiders: deep fried tarantula
And yes, we spot a few street carts with a collection of insects and other critters on display.
Luc has looked up a place on Tripadvisor that apparently makes a mean deep fried tarantula.
And that is how we end up at Romdeng.
The menu looks good.
And we are happy to have lunch in the city instead of on the river cruise ship since we haven’t seen a lot of typical Cambodian dishes for lunch or dinner.
We order amok trey, beef and basil with fire ants.
And deep fried tarantula of course.
That’s the reason why we are here.
The waiter tells us that we can choose our tarantulas.
Cool, but no thanks.
The amok is delicious by the way. It is like a steamed coconut curry with chunks of fish in it. And the traditional presentation is gorgeous.
The beef and basil with fire ants?
That is a good looking stir fry, with ants if you look closely. And how about those ants, do you really taste them? Not a lot really. The ants add more like a sour sensation if you bite into them.
And there they come.
Deep fried tarantula
What have we got here?
Three dark brown and frozen looking spiders on a plate with cucumber and a dipping sauce.
Is it me or did the couple sitting next to us just instinctively move their table a few inches the other way?
I wait another minute to see if they really don’t move anymore. Like I said, I am not a fan of spiders and that is putting it lightly.
Seeing these big monsters this close feels kind of unsettling.
I think it is safe.
Let’s dig in.
I decide to start with the thin legs first and take it from there.
So how does fried tarantula taste?
The deep fried spider legs taste like crunchy fried pork, and so does the head.
The body tastes more like a chestnut. It’s got more like a sweet flavor and a starchy texture.
Not my favorite part though.
Is fried tarantula good?
Yes, I did like it.
I would be perfectly happy with a big bag of fried tarantula legs to snack on.
Would I recommend deep fried tarantula?
Yes, try it!
Would I eat deep fried tarantula again?
If I could find deep fried tarantula near me, yes I would actually.
Do you know the deep fried tarantula recipe? How to cook tarantulas?
If I had gone to the kitchen to choose my spiders I might have seen exactly how they do it. And in hindsight I actually regret not doing it.
However I once saw an episode about deep fried tarantula in Cambodia. The spiders are first drowned in water and soaked before deep frying them.
Perhaps that is how it is done in Romseng.
Why did people start to eat spiders?
People have been eating spiders for centuries, primarily as a source of food and nutrition.
In some cultures, spiders are seen as a delicacy and are often served as a special treat. In other cultures, spiders are seen as a means of survival, as they are a readily available source of protein in certain regions.
Are tarantulas safe to eat?
Absolutely, that is what makes them a popular snack in Cambodia.
Not just for dare devil tourists.
So yes, tarantulas are generally safe to eat as long as they are cooked properly. Tarantulas should be cooked over an open flame or deep-fried to kill any bacteria or parasites before they are eaten.
I actually bought a tarantula on a stick before getting on our river cruise ship again. It was fine, but I prefer the fried tarantula I had at the restaurant.
Probably because it was freshly deep fried.
Try it if you get the chance!
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What are your thoughts about deep fried tarantula?
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Why eat insects?
Eating insects is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative source of protein.
They are sustainable, nutritious, and contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Insects are also an environmentally friendly and cost-effective form of food.
Additionally, eating insects is seen as a way to reduce food waste, as many insects are considered pests and can be harvested from their natural environment.