Fried spider is a regional delicacy in Cambodia. In the Cambodian town of Skuon (Cheung Prey, Kampong Cham Province), the vending of fried spiders as a specialty snack is a popular attraction for tourists passing through this town. Spiders are also available elsewhere in Cambodia — in Phnom Penh for instance — but Skuon, a market town on the highway 75 kilometres from the capital, is the centre of their popularity. The spiders are bred in holes in the ground in villages north of Skuon, or foraged for in nearby forestland, and fried in oil. Watch celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay on the ground and taste test.
The spiders are a species of tarantula called “a-ping” in Khmer, and are about the size of a human palm.
The taste has been described as bland, “rather like a cross between chicken and cod”, with a contrast in texture from a crispy exterior to a soft centre. The legs contain little flesh, while the head and body have “a delicate white meat inside”. There are certainly those who might not enjoy the abdomen, however, as it contains a brown paste consisting of organs, possibly eggs, and excrement. Some call it a delicacy while others recommend not eating it.