Believe it or not, tarantulas have had a longstanding priority in traditional Cambodian cuisine, originally out of desperation and necessity. 

During the Khmer Rouge period in the 1970s, the Cambodian people relied on it for sustenance as poverty and hunger soared because of the brutal regime. They were forced to eat anything they could catch, including scorpions, silkworms and grasshoppers.  

Today, they are a tasty snack, that is a staple for Cambodian households. It is often fried and dipped in garlic. 

While it is often on offer for tourists to try, it is known to be a snack often enjoyed by locals. 

Large ones can sell up to US$1 each, amid a minimum wage of around $6 a day. 

The spiders are cooked in a wok and then transferred to a mixture of sugar, salt, seasoning, chicken powder and water. Lastly they are dropped into a frying pan to make them crispy. 

Shine Cambodia’s Project Manager tried this delicacy during her travels: 

“Throughout my travels in Asia I have taken up various opportunities to eat insects and other creepy crawlies. Like a scorpion in Thailand or ants in Laos. In Cambodia there are many opportunities to try various bugs, the Khmer people regularly snack on fried crickets, grubs and something that looks like cockroaches. 

So when faced with the challenge of eating a tarantula I thought I would give it a try. It was deep fried so very crunchy and tasted of the herbs and spices it was cooked in. I ate the legs trying to justify in my mind they were like some sort of seasoned potato chip but couldn’t bring myself to eat the middle part. That part was not crunchy. 

It wouldn’t go down as one of my favourite meals but was an interesting snack to try. There are many insect restaurants opening up in Cambodia and I would be interested in trying more dishes. For anyone curious about trying tarantula I would say; go for it. The legs tasted good and I hear it’s a great source of protein!’

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