[Warning – if you don’t like spiders and other insects, you may want to bail out of this blog post before the end…]
A short distance from Sambor Prei Kuk is the small village of Kampong Chheuteal, which is where I spent a night at a homestay with a local family.
The village is primarily a farming and fishing community, and I was more than happy to roam the narrow lanes and footpaths just watching rural Cambodian life unfold in front of me at each turn.
Everyone I came across seemed genuinely content with life, the whole village had a very good feel about it. It’s a feeling that’s not easy to articulate, but in all my travels I haven’t come across it very often. Turtuk, a village in the far northern reaches of the Indian Himalayas, is another place that had this affect on me.
The journey back to Phnom Penh took me near to the town of Skone, famous for one particular delicacy. Cambodians will just about eat anything, and nothing escapes a true Cambodian gourmet, not even insects…
In the markets you will find all manners of insects; huge trays of grasshoppers, beetles and crickets. They’re usually fried and sold by the bag, and eaten like sweets. The region around Skone is particularly well known for spiders, specifically black hairy tarantulas that are skewered and then fried.
This may well have you squirming in your seat, but the Cambodian’s could be on to something. There was a huge increase in insect eating in the country during the Khmer Rouge regime in the mid 1970s, where the whole infrastructure of the country collapsed and people were forced to seek any viable option for protein.
By the year 2050, our entire planet will be packed with nine billion people. In low and middle income countries, the demand for animal products is rising sharply as economies grow. In the next few decades, we’ll need to figure out how to produce enough protein for billions more mouths. Simply ramping up our current system is not really a solution. The global livestock industry already takes an enormous toll on the environment. Eating insects could potentially provide a solution to this problem…
There’s an interesting BBC article on this very subject of you want to read more :
Suddenly I seem to have lost my appetite for breakfast….
You’re welcome to ‘Like’ or add a comment if you enjoyed this blog post. If you’d like to be notified of any new content, why not sign up by clicking the ‘Follow’ button.
If you’re interested in using any of my photography or articles please get in touch. I’m also available for any freelance work worldwide, my duffel bag is always packed ready to go…