Did you know that the T arantula is to a Cambodian what a Twinkie is to an American? Yup, a sweet, succulent snack that kids beg their parents for. But while the Twinkie is full of sugar and preservatives, the Tarantula is bursting (yes, gross pun intended) with protein. So, as a responsible Cambodian parent, the Tarantula is clearly their snack choice. Can you imagine a little Cambodian kindergartner sitting down with his sack lunch and pulling out a fruit snack and his Tarantula. The little boy next to him spies it and his eyes get wide, "Hey, I'll trade you my Twinkie and a hundred dollar bill for your Tarantula." And the kindergartner says, "No way, dude!!"
If you ever go to Cambodia and muster up the courage to approach one of those Tarantula-selling street vendors, I've got a couple of helpful hints for you. First, go for the crispiest critter there. Why? Because the longer frying time, the less squishiness in the abdomen. Eeeew, gross. And, if the Tarantula has been fried in enough oil and caramelized sugar, you'll hardly notice the hairs. Double eeew.
You can eat them whole, but if you're new at it (and hopefully you all are), you'll probably want to start by pulling two or three legs off at a time and chomping on those. The reasons? Well, first, with each crunch, you'll be able to taste the salt, sugar, oil and garlic that the vendors use to cook those babies in. And, second, if you put too much in your mouth at once, you'll probably feel the legs jabbing at your gums from all directions. That is probably not a sensation that you will want going on in your mouth while chewing.
But, here is the best (only?) reason to eat a Tarantula - - the Cambodians believe that they make you beautiful!
Unless, of course, you get a hairy leg caught between your teeth.
|This picture seriously makes me want to vomit.|