How do you KNOW fried tarantulas aren’t your thing? Get out of your comfort zone.

Fried tarantulas and taking risks

It turns out fried tarantulas are all the rage in Cambodia. Although I’ve tried farm-raised rat, grasshoppers, and other interesting delicacies, I’ve never had the chance to try these crispy-fried-spider-mouthfuls. They are described as crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. And the flesh? Not surprisingly, the taste is compared to chicken.

fried tarantulas and taking risks

This was a rat-free meal, cooked by my friend who made rat for me another time.

Why did Khmer people start eating tarantulas anyway?

There is speculation that the Khmer began eating spiders during the rule of the Khmer Rouge because food was scarce. People may have foraged for these spiders in hungry desperation. However, we do know for sure that beginning around the 1990s, the tarantulas became popular as a cheap snack.

The tarantulas that are used to make this delicacy are usually found in a town called Skuon. People hunt for the spiders around their burrows in the forest. Also, some people farm them in colonies specifically for consumption.

How do you enjoy a fried spider?

After people catch the tarantulas, they baste them with a mix of sugar, salt, and MSG. Next, they deep-fry them with garlic and oil. Watch the video below to see how to enjoy a fried tarantula!

Cambodians enjoy munching on fried spider

Fried tarantulas are a big deal in Cambodia

Posted by NowThis on Sunday, June 25, 2017

 

Whether or not the practice was born out of food scarcity and desperation, now people just eat the spiders they’re inexpensive and tasty. You think tickets to Cambodia are too expensive? How about trying something new right in your own neighborhood?

Mind the (boring) gap

I find it easy to get into a rut when I am doing a demanding job. Can you relate? It can be difficult to break out of the normal routine of your days. But, as an artist, I need to explore new places and experience new things. This is what helps me develop fresh ideas, get started on projects, and find solutions to creative problems.

I recently thought about all the grocery stores in one of my Phoenix neighborhoods. There are so many interesting ingredients you can find at a neighborhood grocery store!

There is an Ethiopian grocery right down the street, a Carneceria a couple blocks down, and a Food City if you get desperate for some key limes (usually about 20 for $1).

Baiz Market in Phoenix has huge blocks of feta cheese, made in slightly different traditions, depending on the culture it comes from. The last time I visited, I bought Bulgarian feta, which was delicious, but next time I’ll try a different variety.

They also have incredibly fresh pita bread and a deli with made-to-order sandwiches, and friendly staff.

Mekong Supermarket in Mesa has a wide selection of produce, fruit, and sauces that you can use to make a wide variety of Asian dishes. They also have a fresh fish market with employees who will clean and butcher the fish for you.

When I go to Mekong Supermarket, a few things stand out. Usually, I get “cart peepers,” who check out what I’m buying. Also, I have interesting conversations with the check-out people about Southeast Asian fruit or happenings in the store. And my favorite is listening to other customers talk about what they’ll be cooking!

fried tarantulas and taking risks

Experiment

Your assignment? Find a grocery store you’ve been wondering about, and go in. Buy some things you’ve never used and get to work making something new. You can do research about the ingredient online, or go with what your gut is telling you. You might just create the next best thing to fried tarantula.

(This is a once a month series about the brave and interesting things people do, and how you can also add brave things and risk into your life as well, incrementally.)

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