Close-up of fried tarantulas
Cambodia,  Food & drink,  Friday’s Foods of the World,  Travel galleries

Gallery: fancy a snack in Spider Town?

About an hour’s drive north of Phnom Penh lies the small market town of Skun. Normally a town like this would attract little attention from passing tourists, eager to reach the wonders of Angkor beyond. But Skun’s market has a treat in store; although that depends perhaps on your appetite for the unusual.

Market with colourful awnings
The market in Skun

For Skun is famous for just one thing, its deep-fried tarantulas! We saw these and other invertebrate delights for sale on just about every stall in the market. But although we had bravely sampled deep-fried crickets, silkworm cocoons and whole baby frogs in Phnom Penh, we drew the line at spiders!

According to Wikipedia:

‘The spiders are bred in holes in the ground in villages north of Skun, or foraged for in nearby forestland, and fried in oil. It is not clear how this practice started, but some have suggested that the population might have started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.’

I noticed that many of the women selling the spiders had a penchant for floppy sunhats ornamented with flowers. They seemed fairly happy to be photographed, understanding perhaps from experience that we were unlikely to buy their more esoteric wares.

And had we been tempted to enjoy more crickets, there were plenty of them and other grubs for sale too. But we decided to pass on these too – once was enough!

So here is some more fascinating Food of the World which on this occasion we didn’t eat!

I visited Cambodia in 2020


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