I believe that you should tackle your fears as often as you can.
It doesn’t always have to be your biggest fears because it is just as vital to face the tiny fears. For instance: riding the bicycle on the expressway in Singapore which by no means was a small feat!
When you actually do something that you have never done before or something that scares you, you feel victorious. Sometimes it gives a crazy adrenalin rush.
So while on one of these not always sane endeavors I came across a bunch of Cambodian travelers. They offered me some fried Tarantulas and spiders, which they told me are a delicacy in Cambodia. Yes, you read right, they do eat these spiders in Cambodia. Nobody is sure as to how these spiders became a regular snack in Cambodia, but everybody has their different version of story about it. According to Wikipedia, “there are suggestions that the people might have started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.” But there is no clear confirmation about how it all started.
At first I was quite disgusted by the sight of it, but I had to at least try it. The Tarantulas were huge and so were the crickets. So I first tried the tarantulas. They were all eight-legged tarantulas. They would break each leg of the tarantula as if they were breaking a piece of cracker, and they offered the legs to me. I tried the leg, which tasted a lot like some potato chips. It was fried, crispy, salted with a hint of spice. It was actually pretty good. I had a few of them. Then I tried the cricket, which almost made me want to throw up. It was chewy and I personally did not like the flavour. Since I did not enjoy eating the crickets, I had some more tarantulas.
After an evening of crunching spider snacks, I read about this Cambodian delicacy. Apparently these tarantulas are very rich in protein and they are sold by vendors on the streets in the region of Skuon. Fried tarantulas are sold daily to car and bus passengers in this town, which is about 75km from the capital Phnom Penh.
I think if you are adventurous enough and experimental with your food, you must definitely try the tarantulas. I enjoyed eating them and when I travel to Cambodia, I will definitely be seeing them again.
Written and photographed by: Mithila Jariwala