by Cassidy Armbruster
I know, it’s scary even to get rid of a beetle you find in your home, but trust me, it’s different here in Cambodia. The beetles are clean…and tasty! The female water beetles are much meatier, and are therefore sold at a higher price. The male water beetles have a pointy black piece under their shell that needs to be pulled off before you eat it. Just close your eyes, and crunch.
This crunchy delicacy takes some bravery to try, but it’s most definitely worth a try. Crickets are served deep-fried and are cooked with lots of seasoning, so they have quite a strong taste. Crickets are often caught during the night by farmers for some extra money or protein, and are then either eaten at family dinner, for snack, or they are sold to surrounding markets.
Frog is delicious! I was somewhat hesitant to try frog initially, but after two weeks in Siem Reap, I have tried it multiple times. The taste of frog can be compared to chicken. In Cambodia, the frogs are small and often stuffed with pork and veggies. There is lemongrass, herbs, and tons of spices mixed in, making the frog very flavourful. If you are feeling reluctant, mix it with rice, and take a bite.
Now I didn’t realize I was eating ants as I swallowed them, which was probably better. It was night time, and I guess I was deep in conversation when the discussion carried on about the ants we would try. It’s an easy thing to miss, seeing as the ants were mixed in with meat and vegetables. When I was told I was eating ants I was in disbelief. So I put my flash light on the plate, and, yup, there they were. They added a delicious sour taste to the dish, and I highly recommend you try them. Plus, they are high in protein!
I’ll admit, Kralan doesn’t have the most unique flavour, but something draws me to it. Maybe it’s the effort that it takes to be made, or maybe because it’s so unlike a snack we would have in the United States. Kralan is made with rice, coconut milk, black beans, and bamboo, and it’s a lengthy process. The ingredients are placed inside of the bamboo, which is then cooked for almost an hour. That’s a long time for a snack that is sold for just 30 cents per stick. When ready it’s super easy to eat! Just peel the bamboo sections off and you’ve got a delicious snack.