Cambodia, in Southeast Asia, is known for its famous Angkor Wat temple, but many travelers might not be as acquainted with the country’s delicious cuisine. It may come as a real surprise, however, that spiders are a culinary staple in Cambodia. Though it sounds a bit unsavory, spiders are actually high in protein, can be cooked up quickly, and even taste pretty good.
In Cambodia, eating spiders dates back thousands of years. In fact, spider eating has been depicted in artwork from as far back as 1000 A.D. This tradition was passed down through generations until it became an accepted part of the Cambodian diet. The most popular type of spider eaten by Cambodians is a tarantula-like species called “a-ping” or “giant water spider” – this type of spider grows to about four inches long. While some people eat wild caught spiders, many farmers now breed them for consumption.
@foodwtf Fact: #Spiders became a part of the Cambodian diet due to poverty in the 1970’s 🕷 #foodie #foodtiktok #cambodianfood ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell
Besides being a source of nutrients, there are many cultural reasons why people choose to eat spiders in Cambodia. Spiders have long been considered lucky or auspicious in Cambodian culture, and they are often served at special occasions like weddings or festivals. Additionally, spiders are believed to have medicinal properties that can help cleanse the body or provide energy — this belief likely originated from traditional Chinese medicine. Spider-eating has also become an important tourist attraction, with many travelers flocking to Cambodia just to try this unusual food.
Though it may seem intimidating at first, cooking up spiders isn’t difficult at all.They can be boiled, fried, or grilled. Most recipes call for seasoning with garlic and salt before frying them up in oil until they turn golden brown. After that, they’re ready to go – some locals even dip them in sugar syrup for extra flavor. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to cook your own spiders there are plenty of restaurants throughout Cambodia where you can try them out without having to do any work yourself.