Fear Factor – Exotic Food Choices
Luckily I couldn’t find any fried tarantula spider in Siem Reap (apparently famous in a town called Skuon), else I have to eat one (as planned). The fear factor food choices in Siem Reap town were a bit milder. Market near the Tonle Sap Lake still have stores selling fried insects, worms, snakes etc.
We found people selling migrating birds, tortoises, ants etc. in the Phsar Leu Market.
At first I thought this plastic bag was filled with spices. A closer look revealed the nasty red ants (those that like to bite when you climb fruit trees). When I discovered their nest (folded leaves) in the garden, one common treatment is to burn the leaves with fire. Phansy (our guide) said that would be a waste. The ants tasted sweet in the soup, or spread our like fruit jam to be eaten as delicacy. I later found a few ants in my soup (different species).
These bones (saw in Kulen Mountain) could be used as medicine.
Like Filipinos and Indonesians, Cambodians also like to eat balut. The half matured embryo into adult duck or chick, and cook inside the egg. It is ‘meatier’ than half boiled egg.
One diner at Tonle Sap Lake let me took on of the egg he had eaten half way. You can see the body parts inside the egg shell. Those duck eggs in Indonesia/Philippines are much larger with the long neck and head hanging out from the egg. Balut was definitely one of the top 10 most disgusting foods in the world.
There were other more acceptable food like chili clams. Merchants were pushing a metal flat cart spreading the clams (very tiny) and sold them under the sun.
If you find the exotic food in South East Asia disgusting, wait until you try the McDonald French Fries that will not decompose. There was a mummified burger museum indicated that McD burger would not decompose for decades.