Crunchy Insects in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Unarguably, one of the most enjoyable experiences while travelling, is to sample local food and drink. I especially enjoy this as it makes me feel as I though I am truly immersing myself in the local customs and culture and truly experiencing the place that I am visiting. Why eat the same old things that you can have at home, when you can have a novel and unique experience by trying something new?
Most folks, myself included, stick to “palatable cuisine” for the most part. And by “palatable”, I mean foods that are exquisite to the taste. However, I also happen to have a “wild streak” and the “adventurer’s curiousity” running through my veins that dares me to go “out on a limb” when an unpalatable yet unique eating experience presents itself JAnd this is exactly what happened while travelling in Cambodia in the Spring of 2016.
Roaming through the Cambodian Night Markets
On a clear and slightly humid night, my husband Jeremy and I were out exploring the Night Markets in Siem Reap Cambodia. We strolled along amidst the stalls and tents of the night markets, intrigued by the array of Southeast Asian trinkets, jewelry, clothing and decorations on display.
As we wandered leisurely through the streets “en route” from one night market to another, a shiny silver cart with a rather unusual display of items grasped by attention. The vendor’s cart contained an array of silver trays with various critters. All deceased and fried to a brown black crisp. The array of “tasty treats” included roaches, spiders, beetles and scorpions! My husband and 2 fellow travelers who had met us at the Night Market all gagged, pointed, laughed and made sounds of mock emesis.
I eyed the tray of insects curiously and felt my adventurous spirit surge within me. The thought entered my head “ Maybe I should try one. Just for the thrill of it!” Anything outrageous that I ever do is always precisely for that reason anyway “for the thrill of it”, for the adrenaline that I experience, the excitement of it all. I laughed out loud at my crazy idea, but immediately announced to the group that I might “try one”.
My husband and two fellow travelers all stared at me aghast. “You’re out of your mind” said one. “Ewww” said another. “What the…..” said my husband. I giggled back at them. One of our travel buddies said “I dare you”. I scanned the array of critters and decided to “go for the scorpion”. The stingers were out and out of the entire selection of critters, it looked to me like the item with the least amount of matter to consume. As my husband rendered payment, the vendor handed me a “scorpion on a stick”. Our travel buddies were bustling with a mixture of incredulousness, horror and anticipation of what I was about to do.
I looked at my “delicacy on a stick” and gagged slightly. I hesitated, but as my friends cheered me on, I thought “ Might as well. How often does one really get to experience this type of weird stuff? Maybe in Southeast Asia, but not where I’m from” With those thoughts echoing in my head and the cheers in the background, I took a dainty bite of one of the scorpions claws. “Crunch……!”
All I could feel in my mouth was crunchy “bits” with not much of a taste. I went in for another bite “crunch….! My friends were “going crazy” in the background, gasping and laughing, high-five-ing me and basically “wigging out”. My husband, seeing that I had neither “chickened-out” nor vomited, decided to give it a try too. “Crunch!!!, He bit into an unknown part of the scorpion and made a face that said “I am thoroughly grossed-out”. Again, our friends cheered.
As our friends congratulated us on our “daring feat” and for winning the dare, I chuckled to myself. It was definitely the highlight of my night out in the Cambodian streets. Do I recommend this activity? The answer is “absolutely!”. If you are looking for a “thrill” or something outrageous to try, I do recommend tracking down one of these vendors and choosing a critter of choice to try. If not, and you are travelling through Cambodia or elsewhere in SouthEast Asia, do look out for the shiny silver cart with the “critters”. It will be at the very least, something interesting to look at and photograph. But if you dare, try a bite! Crunch……… J
Disclaimer: LovePeaceandTravel assumes no responsibility, monetary or otherwise to anyone engaging in the activities mentioned in this blog post. Please ensure that you have checked with your healthcare provider regarding all appropriate vaccines that you should have when travelling overseas and engaging in eating “street food”.
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