Eating spiders in Cambodia has been one of the more well-known activities among tourists visiting the country for many years. Spiders can be purchased from sellers in the tourist busy districts in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, however, if you want the authentic experience you should visit the main spider market in Cambodia.
Skoun or Spiderville, as it is nicknamed, is a well-renowned market town located in the Cheung Prey District in the Kampong Cham province. The small town of Skoun is 75 kilometres north of Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh.
The reason the Skoun is so well known around Cambodia is for its obscure allure of potentially being the best market in Cambodia to purchase a local culinary delicacy, spiders!
The town itself is literally crawling with spiders big and small, which led to the local Khmer people using spiders as food. Tarantulas are the most popular spider on the menu, which are usually deep fried or barbequed with a few different herbs and served with rice or noodles.
However, you, of course, have the option of buying live spiders and taking them with you to prepare in the comfort of your own kitchen. If any of these ideas tickle your taste buds then you will be very welcomed by the locals in Spiderville.
Spider as a Delicacy
The taste of cooked tarantula is described by most people as tasting like chicken or crab. Tarantulas have a white meat which is loved by locals and foreigners alike.
The most common way of preparing spider to eat in Cambodia is to make a mixture of Sugar, Salt, MSG and crushed garlic. The spider is then tossed into the mixture before being deep fried until the legs are very crispy and stiff. This is usually a good indication that the abdomen will not be too runny inside.
The legs do not have much meat on them, while the head and the body contain the delicate white meat inside. Some people believe the abdomen should be eaten while others believe not as inside could contain eggs or excrement.
It is not sure when exactly that spider became such a common snack but it is widely thought that it was during the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge that most people began to rely on the spider as a genuine food source.
The spiders are farmed by some people in underground holes that act as a natural cage or burrow to hold them until they are ready to be eaten. The other method of hunting for them in holes around local grassland and jungle is also just as popular. As mentioned before the most common type of spider found in Skoun Market is the tarantula.
There are two kinds of tarantula that are used. The first being the Thai Zebra Tarantula and the other is called the “A Ping” tarantula in the Khmer language. Most farmers or hunters will usually try to collect around 200 spiders every few days to be taken to the market.
Once the spiders arrive there most of them will be sold to food vendors and shop owners in and around Skoun town to be fried and served or kept alive for sale. While the remaining will be bought by people from different provinces (usually Phnom Penh) to be distributed in their local area. Depending on the size of the spider but most deep fried tarantulas for sale in Skoun market will be sold for about 2500 Riel (0.33 US Cents) per spider.
Eating bugs and insects is a fairly new idea in the western world, but many Asian countries such as Cambodia have been eating insects and bugs for many years. It is becoming more and more a common fact with western people now that there actually is enough protein and energy in bugs and insects to supplement a lot of most people’s traditional livestock meat consumption.
Many people now around the world are more conscious of finding a new source of food from common livestock perhaps spiders could be one day eaten more widely around the world. With this idea in mind, making the journey North of Phnom Penh to Skoun to try the local spider delicacy could be a life-changing experience.
After all where else in the world would you want to eat spiders than Skoun, the town that was given the nickname Spiderville? Happy eating!