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Edible tarantula season in Cambodia

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 02:03

It's the edible tarantula high season for street vendors, tourists and locals in CambIodia. Jayson Mansaray reports.

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Streetside vendors in Cambodia are selling a traditional delicacy. One described as crunchy, salty and slightly sweet. But this isn't candied fruits or nuts...it's edible tarantula spiders. The Skuon District in Kampong Cham province is the tarantula business hub - and right now it's high season. During the rainy period, which starts in June, the spiders are further up their deep lairs making them easier to catch. (SOUNDBITE) (Khmer) 22-YEAR-OLD TARANTULA HUNTER, KHIM KHOY, SAYING: "I walk and search for tarantula holes then we check to see if it is a new or old hole. If it is a new hole then there are definitely tarantulas inside, so we dig." The spiders have long been part of Cambodia's diet but it was during the Khmer Rouge rule they became integral. About 2 million people died under the regime through execution and starvation. Insects including crickets, silkworms and tarantulas became a vital source of protein. Nowadays it is food for locals and some brave tourists too. (SOUNDBITE) (Khmer) 34-YEAR-OLD TARANTULA VENDOR, MEUN NETH, SAYING: "There is a mix of customers who buy my tarantulas. Some foreigners buy 10 to 20 tarantulas but others just take some photographs when their vehicle stops, or they buy one or a few for just to taste them." Usually spiders are prepared by vendors using salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, and soup powder before being fried in hot oil. For some spiders are something to fear but in Cambodia especially - they are something for dinner.

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Edible tarantula season in Cambodia

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 02:03