Amanda vs. Food: Spiders in Cambodia

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When it comes to learning about a new culture, I'm a big believer that food is a major part of the learning process. How, when, and what people eat can give you a lot of insight into not only their diet, but also their culture and beliefs.

But, I won't lie — some food traditions are just weird.

You've probably heard that bugs show up on the menu in many countries. As snacks, usually, but sometimes as regional delicacies, too.

Cambodia is one of the countries where you'll find bugs for sale at many markets. Not just any kind of bugs, though.

Cambodia's bug specialty is big, juicy, fried SPIDERS.

Fried spiders in Cambodia

Now, I'm not really afraid of spiders. I mean, I don't particularly LIKE them with their too-many legs and their sinister way of scuttling across floors and up walls. But I usually don't scream when I'm around them.

Spiders in Cambodia
See? That's me with a live spider!

But EATING a fried tarantula? I wasn't sure I could do it.


During my tour of Cambodia with Intrepid Travel, we had a planned stop in a town called Skuon in between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The town is known for its touristy highway market where kids ply you with bags of fruit and other snacks — including bugs.

The village, often referred to as “Spiderville,” is a top spot to try Cambodia's delicacy of fried spiders.

Fried spiders in Cambodia

The day before (when I let a live tarantula climb up my arm at a restaurant), I was fully prepared to at least nibble on a leg in Spiderville. They were crunchy, people had said. I could handle crunchy.

But a sleepless night spent hugging the toilet in my hotel room with a bout of mild food poisoning changed my plans. The thought of eating ANYthing that morning — let alone a crunchy spider leg — sent my stomach churning.

And so, I could do nothing but commend my fellow adventurous travelers and politely decline the snacks offered to me over and over by a persistent Cambodian girl with a live spider tucked into her shirt.

Eating spiders in Cambodia

In this food battle, the food won.

I'll eat you next time, spiders. Next time…

What do you think? Would YOU try a spider?


*Note: I visited Spiderville as part of a complimentary tour of Vietnam and Cambodia with Intrepid Travel. As always, though, all opinions are my own.

If you're interested in the Cambodia portion of this same trip, check it out here.

Cambodian Traveler tour

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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59 Comments on “Amanda vs. Food: Spiders in Cambodia

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  1. […] there. We hear tales of terrible hostel beds, torrential rainfall on the first day of a honeymoon, eating spiders legs for […]

    I haven’t had them the way they are done in Cambodia, but I did have a breaded and deep fried one…well the legs anyway. The thing is I am a lifelong arachnophobe. In my teen years I once found a large wolf spider on the screen door at my grandfathers summer cabin. He told me to man up and kill it myself so i did so, and did it in the only way I felt was sensible. That was with a .12 gauge double barrel shotgun. Needless to say the basketball sized chunk of perforated screen door didn’t amuse my grandfather much. I digress, the whole point is that even though I am terrified of them, eating one felt…kinda good. It was like “**** you spider!!! I’m EATING you! I win” I haven’t got the nerve to prepare one myself, but the breaded variety makes it easier to talk yourself into it I think.

      Hahaha. Yes, you definitely win when you’re munching on one of their legs.

    I’m currently on a food tour of Cambodia with Intrepid. We tried Cricket, Silk worm, Water Beetle and Fried Spider. When in Rome and all that…

      You are much braver than me! Haha. Hope you’re enjoying the tour though!

    HI There

    I had just been wondering how ppl could eat those spiders.I live in South Africa and I have about 150 Tarantula spidersas pets and co get a Thai Zebra in our country is so scarce and hard to come by…….do you perhaps got any contacts in Cambodia who I can get in touch with to bring a breeding pair in fro myself?



      No, I’m sorry, I don’t have any contacts in Cambodia that could get you spiders.

    I was in Cambodia this April and stopped at this town.
    Tried every insect and at the end ended up buying a Baggie to take with me and eat as snacks.

    Was surprised how tasty they were. Fried with peppers and garlic.

    If you are ever in Peru you have to try the Alpaca. Best meat ever and the guniea pig was also tasty

      Which bug was your favorite??

    In April, 2015 we visited the market and feasted on fried tarantulas, silkworm cocoons and grasshoppers. It was an experience to remember and was something cultural to experience.Overall the tarantula tasted the best as to was very crunchy in texture. Maybe older people are more prepared to give things a go.

      Good on you! I think some people in general are more adventurous about food than others. I’m not sure that age really has anything to do with it!

    I tried one in Siam Reap after rather few beers. It wasn’t good. I gagged a lot and had to try very hard to not vomit in the street. My friends enjoyed it though.
    But hey I’ve eaten a Tarantula, I feel a sense of justice after all of the huntsmen and orb weavers regularly scared the shit out of me when I was living in Australia.

      Hahaha, you got your revenge!

    Haha this is really interesting. I’ve been to Cambodia myself and in the battle against the spider feast, food won against me too (though I did have a quick bite on the hairy leg – and surprisingly it’s better than the dried snake and frog). Haven’t given up on the spider too – maybe next time!

      Haha! Maybe next time for both of us.

    I agree with you Amanda about trying different food from touristic places but there are certain things that are so extreme and if some people can handle and get the experience is respectable but I won´t be able to eat an spider, no way.

      Haha, fair enough, Christina!

    Gosh! I admire your sentiments! I’m not afraid of spiders or insects in principle. I have 3 brothers and I’m the only girl… Over the years I’ve had a scorpion under the blanket, beatles in my shoes, and lizards put on my back!

    I’ve tried cricket (crunchy), and snake (tasted like chicken), but I’m not sure about actually eating one and gulping! A spindly leg perhaps, but please no hair or moving parts!

      Well, these ones were decidedly dead at least – so no moving parts on the ones people were eating!

    […] exploring the Angkor temples, had fun riding the bamboo train, and was even amused by watching people eating spiders. But I was also deeply saddened by visiting the Killing Fields, and disturbed to see how much the […]

    Gah! It makes me cringe just looking at this! I’ve tried a scorpion, though I was 2 buckets deep in whiskey at the time haha.

      Scorpions creep me out way more than spiders!

    I would have thought eating those could give you a… stomach bug. Badum tsh.

    Sorry, that was bad. You’re definitely brave for trying that.

      Hahahaha. Oh how I love a good bad pun.

    All those legs..the crunch..the hairiness..I just can’t. I commend you for letting one crawl on your arm!

      Weird as it may sound, it was really soft on my arm!

    Ack! Excellent question! And thanks for posting your experience too. I’ve often wondered if I could eat a spider or other bugs. I dig crunchy, salty, spicy… but I don’t know if I could do hairy, pokey, and well… spidery. I’d like to think I would, but I’m not 100% sure about that.

      Maybe try something small like a cricket first and then work your way up?

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