By Sun Narin and Ngo Menghourng
With spicy taste and crunchy, fried crickets and spiders have become the favorite snack for Cambodian people and foreign tourists, though they are not populously edible insects in other countries. Americans might consider crickets as an unusual snack. Now the markets for the crickets in Cambodia are large.
Recently, Angelina Jolie while in Cambodia for the shooting of her recent Louis Vuitton advertisement, her foster sons Maddox who was born in Cambodia and Pax who was born in Vietnam tried to taste the fried crickets. She admitted that she has zero interest in eating crickets herself. Then she and Brad tried them and compared them to potato chips. However, she eventually had to “ban the cricket-eating” because she was afraid the boys were going to make themselves sick from scarfing too many.
Kampong Thom is the cricket-rich province in Cambodia. People over there set a trap for catching the crickets by using neon light from 7:00 p.m until 5:00 a.m. It costs some 2.5 dollars per kilogram if there are many crickets and it will cost more if there are fewer crickets.
If you go to visit tourist places in Cambodia, you will see the selling of crickets and other insects such as spiders. Along the road north from Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s capital city) to Angkor Wat (famous ancient temples), a town called Skuon is famous for edible spiders. These spiders look similar to furry North American tarantulas.
You will always see the selling along the road. Mrs Seng Rompeuy (32), who sells crickets and other insects in Phnom Penh, Cambodia said that cricket is now very popular among Cambodian because it is delicious and is available only from June until August, adding that she took the crickets from people in Kampong Thom province.
She said: “I usually buys 200 -300 kilograms per time within the sale of only two three days. I can earn profit around 7.5 dollars per day. I sell it in the price of 0.75 dollar per can.”
She is now creating a place for feeding crickets by herself in the hope that she can earn a living with cricket selling. She told the process of feeding crickets that first she put sand in a small bow to have cricket produce eggs on and 3 days later, it will hatch and they will grow for selling in two months.
Crickets are mixed with the ingredients of salt, sugar, fresh milk, oil and seasoning. It takes me 15 minutes to cook the crickets, according to the seller.
Mr Chea Rithy (20) who likes eating crickets said that fried crickets have good taste and they are cheap.
He says that when he is free from school and he goes for a walk with his friends, he always buys crickets to eat.
He said: “It makes me feel fresh and good when I eat it, especially when I’m bored, I always eat crickets and watch TV. I always spend $2.5 per day to buy crickets.”
A foreigner, Marco Morawec, who experienced eating the crickets wrote on his blog that
it’s the spices, the intense taste of strange food and the whole atmosphere that makes eating out in Asia such a great experience. But it is not just the regular food that’s so exciting. The strange, scary and radical food on offer is even more fascinating.
Despite the fact that they are insects, which are peculiar for eating, Cambodian people tend to like eating them and other insects as well including grasshoppers, aquatic insects, cockroaches, and worms.