by Nichol Nelson
Photo: Santo Chino, Flickr
The "bizarre food" craze shows no signs of abating. Spurred on by television personalities and tell-all books, intrepid eaters continue to search the globe for the strangest -- and most off-putting -- edibles they can get their hands on. Which explains the skyrocketing popularity of the latest extreme tourist activity in Cambodia: hunting and eating tarantulas.
The hairy spiders are considered a delicacy in Kampong Cham Town and Sukon, and locals have begun offering visitors the chance to capture their own. The hunting party visits forests and cashew plantations to find the spiders, catching the nocturnal creatures while they're sleeping by poking sticks into their holes.
And then, cue the dinner bell. Deep frying the spiders is a popular technique -- they're served with salt and garlic. Prefer a drink? No worries. You can get your tarantula mixed into a rice wine and jack fruit cocktail.
Locals began eating the spiders in the 1970s, when residents were forced into the jungle during the Khmer Rouge's regime. Years of eating spiders and other bugs for survival gave the area's population a taste for them. Many Cambodians also believe tarantulas can treat medical problems, everything from backaches to breathing problems.
Want to bag your own tarantula? You'll need to be persistent. The tours aren't advertised, so befriending a local is a must. And it goes without saying that those with arachnophobia need not apply.
Note: Although this may be a delicasy to some and a main staple in the Cambodian diet, its not for some, and absolutly not for me! I love my little 8 legged furry pets!